Monday, June 18, 2007

Quebec cartoonists agree: Jews are devious

Editorial cartoons appeared in three Quebec newspapers last week in reaction to a story in La Presse about a meeting between ADQ leader Mario Dumont and major Quebec Liberal Party fundraisers. The fundraisers are Jewish and include some prominent business leaders and at least one former Canadian senator.

Some background
This was a big story because the Jewish community has long supported the Quebec Liberal Party -- both with dollars and with votes. The fact that such prominent fundraisers were meeting with the leader of the official opposition sends a clear message to Premier Jean Charest and his ruling party: don't continue to take the Jewish community for granted.

Similarly, before the Quebec provincial election this spring, mayors of many English-speaking suburbs of Montreal publicly supported Dumont's ADQ party. This too was big news for exactly the same reason. The English-speaking had long supported the Quebec Liberal Party -- both with dollars and votes.

When the English-speaking mayors supported the ADQ party, it made news. But when the story broke about Dumont's meeting, the editorial cartoonists went into their newspaper archives from the 1930s and (evidently) dug up some vile, anti-Jewish cartoons to use as inspiration.

La Tribune
In the first cartoon from La Tribune newspaper in Sherbrooke, Mario Dumont is shown with his hands outstretched and dollar signs in his eye waiting to get money from two large-nosed, slightly hunch-backed men wearing kippahs and uncut sideburns. One of the Jewish men has creases in his forehead and seems mildly sinister. The text bubble has Dumont welcoming the men, but the "s" letters have been replaced by "$" dollar signs. How clever!

La Tribune (Sherbrooke, Quebec)
June 15, 2007

Le Devoir
The second cartoon features Mario Dumont with t-shirt indicating that he is kosher. The kosher stamp is put on kosher products so that practicing Jews can observe the Jewish dietary rules.

It is offensive to Dumont and Jews to suggest that Dumont has been branded kosher because he met with a few big wigs in Quebec who happen to be Jewish.

But the sub-text is even more offensive: Jewish people met with Dumont and certified him kosher, in the same way as one certifies foods. In other words, Dumont is like meat ready to be eaten by the Jews.

Le Devoir (Montreal, Quebec)
June 15, 2007

La Presse
Quebec's newspaper of record, La Presse, dresses Dumont in the hat worn by a relatively small sect of Quebec Jews and gives him uncut sideburns. For the cartoonist (and presumably) his readers not fully acquainted with the Jewish community, it appears that Dumont is an opportunist who has sold out to these weirdly-dressed Jews.

Dumont's speech bubble says: "...And next week, I will be courted by the nude cyclists of the Plateau. Don't miss that!"

Not only do Jews dress weirdly and have strange eyes, but they are a community as relevant to Quebec and as weird as the ridiculous one he invents.

La Presse (Montreal, Quebec)
June 2007

These three cartoons reveal a profound lack of knowledge about the Jewish community of Quebec. For these cartoonists (and I presume their readers) Jews are either (1) hunch-backed, big-nosed sinister characters with briefcases full of money, (2) people who have weird dietary rules and can figuratively make a political leader kosher, and (3) are weirdly-dressed people whose importance in Quebec is on par with nude cyclists.

None of the cartoonists commented on the fact that the Jewish community was no longer all 'voting the same way' -- which has long been a criticism of Jews, Greeks, English-speakers and other non French-Canadian communities in Quebec. This seemingly positive development is, instead, portrayed in sinister ways.

There is often a debate about whether French Quebec or English Ontario was more anti-Jewish in the past. Whatever the Ontario elite think privately today about the Jewish community, I cannot imagine such ignorant cartoons appearing the Toronto Star or Globe and Mail.

But in 2007, in Quebec, such cartoons barely raise an eyebrow in the French-Canadian community.


crammer said...

darryl, excellent editorial (or post or whatever it's supposed to be called). I'm shocked.

Marky Mark said...

This is outrageous. Lately I've been wondering if I made the right move leaving Quebec. Seeing these cartoons takes away that doubt.

Contrarian said...

I dunno about this post. First, I don't see the 'devious' in these cartoons that your title implies is there; all you actually point to is some mildly racist cartooning. So I think your title is misleading. Second,I find your characterization of the Jew in the top cartoon as 'sinister' to be suspect; this is obviously subjective but to me he just looks old and bushy. Third, I think you're wrong that the bottom cartoon implies Jews have strange eyes. Not only is that not a Jewish stereotype, but it's pretty clear (from this and the top cartoon) that it's Dumont who's supposed to have weird eyes, not Jews. Finally I think your critique of these particular cartoons as racist ignores the reality that most political cartoons which feature ethnic groups use visual stereotypes to convey information quickly. Unless you're willing to roast all political cartoons for such imagery, I think you need to look further (and more carefully), beyond the images, to make successful 'racism' critiques.

Josh said...

"In other words, Dumont is like meat ready to be eaten by the Jews."

Well, actually, the shirt says Pareve . So he's more like tofu ready to be eaten by the Jews. :)

Roundhead said...

Thanks “contrarian” troll for your wonderful insights. I’m sure you’ll be standing up for the rights of certain Danish cartoonists, next…

Blazing Cat Fur said...

You won't see these cartoons criticized in the ROC because no one wants to offend Quebec, it's a bit like the Mohammed cartoons but in reverse.

Contrarian said...

Wow, roundhead, great use of the ellipse! Almost made it seem like you were saying something relevant. Maybe try air quotes too next time? Those really seem to help people who want to sound critical without actually saying anything.

Brian from Toronto said...

Good post.
Just for your information, though, the nude cyclists aren't imaginary:

smartart said...

Hatred is part envy, part fear. Here, the endemic envy of perceived "Jewish Money" is combined with fear of perceived"Jewish Power"

Get over it guys!
Your separatism had the same effect as the Edict of Nantes: you got your chance to build your own economy and political destiny.

Congratulations. You are no longer free to blame anyone else.

prof said...

you can put information on your blog on page'info'or'region' of

Yup said...

So here we have Jewish leaders blatantly starting a bidding war between political parties for their influence (a practice that's commonplace in the U.S.), and somehow it's anti-Semitic to even acknowledge that fact.

Anyone who points out anything about Jewish behavior is anti-Semitic. In fact, it's probably best if we all just removed the words Jew and Jewish from our vocabularies and refrain from saying anything about Jewish people, ever.

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