The Norwegian embassy in Israel has condemned a comic strip in the Dagbladet newspaper that compared Israel to Nazi Germany and North Korea as a “nation of murderers.”
According to the Times of Israel, Dagbladet has refused to apologize for the strip, which depicts a woman shopping at a grocery store and finding each of its international products unacceptable due to the history of the originating nation. For example, she considers and rejects a box of macaroni supposedly manufactured in North Korea.
When she looks at oranges from Israel, the woman in the strip snorts that by purchasing such items, “you are supporting murderers.”
Just to make sure readers get the point, the strip ends with the woman holding a frozen pizza ostensibly made in Nazi Germany, complete with an SS logo.
The Times of Israel reports that the Israeli embassy called the strip “inappropriate” and deemed it “offensive because it implies that purchasing Israeli products is unethical, making consumers feel as if they are supporting murderers.”
The Israelis also warned Dagbladet the strip could trigger violence, saying that it crossed the “fine line between freedom of speech and hate speech.”
The Times of Israel notes that Dagbladet has been criticized for running other anti-Semitic cartoons in the past:
A November 2011 cartoon published by the paper controversially equated the Holocaust with the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. Then, in 2013, the paper published a gory cartoon in opposition to the Jewish ritual of circumcising baby boys.
In that cartoon, the mother of a Jewish child is seen holding a blood-soaked Torah while saying, “Mistreating? No this is tradition, an important part of our belief!” At the other end of the child, who is sprawled on the table, a Jewish man — either the boy’s father or a rabbi — is in the midst of stabbing the boy in the forehead with a three-pronged devil’s pitchfork while cutting off his toes.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center at the time denounced the “blood libel cartoon” as “so virulently anti-Semitic it would make Hitler and Himmler weep tears of joy.”
The Local quotes the cartoonist, Ola Lysgaard, declaring himself amused by the controversy. “I’m used to people not getting my jokes. They aren’t trying to please everyone. But I’ve never experienced people missing the point to this extreme level,” he said. “I don’t know if the offended people read a bad translation, or just didn’t get it. Either way, I can’t help but find the whole situation utterly amusing.”