Rabbis and other leaders in the Jewish community were in the forefront of criticizing "smears" against Barack Obama during the recent campaign. These comments concerned not only his heritage but also those people he chose to associate with and support-among them, Pastor Jeremiah Wright, Jr. and Rashid Khalidi. These leaders have also been engaged in outreach efforts towards Muslims - some have even broken bread with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who denies the Holocaust and whose regimes sponsors anti-Semitism around the world. These leaders have also condemned any remarks or cartoons that might offend Muslims.
We issue a challenge to them to live up to the same moral precepts they have used to support their own actions. Recently, the Jewish newspaper The Forward published one of the most offensive cartoons I have even seen. The target of the cartoon (and target is the right word): The Christians who support Israel. David Hazony of Commentary caught the mean-spirited and bigoted "satire" about Christians traveling to Israel to express their solidarity and support:
[T]here are some people who simply cannot imagine that Christians really might support Jews, and that support for a Jewish state is not merely a cover for their sinister, messianic machinations.
A ferociously repugnant example of this sentiment just appeared in this week's Forward, in the form of a satirical political cartoon by the talented Eli Valley. It's a fake ad for a week-long evangelical trip to the Holy Land, and it expresses all the anti-Christian fears that lurk in the heart of many an American Jew. Obese and monstrous Evangelicals are shown going to Israel, praising Hitler as a "Servant of the Lord," and looking forward to the "mother of all Holocausts for Jews and Muslems who don't convert." There are fake adds for T-shirts praising the right-wing mass-murderer Baruch Goldstein - you get the picture.
Here is the challenge: Will these Jewish leaders denounce bigots within their own community? How about taking some time from embracing those who hate Jews (Ahmadinejad, Muslim extremists) and criticize and denounce bigotry towards those Christians who love Jews?
The cartoonist is propagating a myth about the reasons Christian support Jews (and it is not just about Israel). The reasons are numerous; Biblical mandates to honor and support Jews, support for a fellow democracy, sympathy for those in peril. I have written about the basis for Christian support for Jews here.