There is an evil idea that is being floated around the place, in particular by Glenn Greenwald that goes like this: Muslims don’t like cartoons of Mohammed. Westerners do not like anti-Semitic cartoons. Therefore, anyone who republishes the Charlie Hebdo cartoons but not anti-Semitic cartoons is a hypocrite.
There is no equivalence here, none at all. This should be obvious, so please let me go through the beats.
First of all, no one has been killed for publishing anti-Semitic cartoons of the kind that neo-Nazis, Islamic fanatics, Glenn Greenwald and certain skeptics suddenly find cool. No one. Indeed, both the neo-Nazi underground and the Islamic world is awash in anti-Semitic cartoons, and the Islamic world has made The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Mein Kampf into bestsellers, the latter under the heading of My Jihad. No one has been killed for putting out these images, most haven’t even been criticized. Rather, Muslim anti-Semitism, a Jew hatred that is quite openly genocidal is routinely excused and even praised by OK society.
If people were in fear of their lives for publishing such cartoons in the West, there might be a shadow of a resemblance.
Second, there’s a difference that should be obvious between a cartoon that attacks an individual, namely the founder of a faith (and by extension the faith itself), and a cartoon that demonizes a people. It is the difference between criticizing Hinduism and between hating Indians. So if you wanted a parallel, you’d need a cartoon about Moses. Something like this:
That’s from the Onion, which points out “No One Murdered Because Of This Image“. Let me note that few even shrug at that particular image, and it is far more offensive than anything Charlie Hebdo put out.
There is also something sick and grotesque about people responding to an attack in which no small number of Jews were murdered because they were Jews, by republishing the vilest anti-Semitic cartoons and thinking yourself brave. Jews have genocide against them in their living memory, and they are currently undergoing a process of ethnic cleansing throughout the Middle East, and now in Europe where they are being driven out by Islamic fanatics. Muslims, by contrast, are the architects of four genocides in my lifetime. Trying to draw an equivalence here is worse than stupid.
So, what is going on here? Well, Greenwald is something of a dishonest and slimy guy, but like a number of his stripe, he likes to fancy himself a bold, brave dissident. Hence his role in the Snowdon affair. Now, he knows full well that he will never be murdered for that, he will not even lose his job. But here are people who lay down their lives to speak out against real tyranny, real oppression and fanaticism…
Well, that cannot be helpful. No, some way must be found to discredit these people, no matter what the cost. Otherwise, well, what does that make me?
I’ll answer that. If you are publishing anti-Semitic cartoons, you are not brave. You are not edgy. You are not principled.
You are nothing more than the people who do this already, the neo-Nazis, the KKK, the Jihadis.
A cowardly bully.