Headlines Soft-Pedal an Anti-Semitic Art Show in Iran
The subhead to Michael Slackman's Friday story from Tehran"Iran Exhibits Anti-Jewish Art as Reply to Danish Cartoons - An Effort to Expose Western Hypocrisy," grants far too much slack to the anti-Jewishexhibit.
The actual article is somewhat more revealing of the show's blatant anti-Jewish propaganda intent, whether or notthe showwas mounted in sincere response toan earlier controversy over Danish cartoons showing Mohammad.
"The title of the show is 'Holocaust International Cartoon Contest,' or 'Holocust,' as the show's organizers spell the word in promotional material. But the content has little to do with the events of World War II and Nazi Germany.
"There is instead a drawing of a Jew with a very large nose, a nose so large it obscures his entire head. Across his chest is the word Holocaust. Another drawing shows a vampire wearing a big Star of David drinking the blood of Palestinians. A third shows Ariel Sharon dressed in a Nazi uniform, emblazoned not with swastikas but with the Star of David.
"The cartoons are among more than 200 on display in the Palestinian Contemporary Art Museum in central Tehran in a show that opened this month and is to run until the middle of September.
"The exhibition is intended to expose what some here see as Western hypocrisy for invoking freedom of expression regarding the publication of cartoons that lampooned the Prophet Muhammad while condemning President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran for questioning the Holocaust.
"The cartoons of Muhammad, first published in September 2005 in a Danish newspaper, were widely condemned by Muslims as blasphemous. They prompted riots in many countries, which left some people dead and several European embassies burned by demonstrators."
(Bonus hypocrisy: While the Times notoriously refused to run images of the Mohammad cartoons, it has no problem with running a photo of this anti-Semitic exhibit, showing visitors looking at three of the works "ridiculing the Holocaust," according to the photo caption.)
Slackman continues: "The cartoons in the exhibit draw on images both ancient and contemporary, from the fictional 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion,' to Israeli tanks running over Palestinian children. Each picture is carefully matted and placed in a soft wood frame, hung with great care and illuminated by gentle lighting.
"'It is not that we are against a specific religion,' said the show's curator, Seyed Massoud Shojaei, making a distinction that visitors to the show are certain to question. 'We are against repression by the Israelis.'"
The Times' text box takes that accurate (if underplayed) bite from Slackman and removes any doubt, simply parroting the curator's assurances that the exhibit is not anti-Jewish: "A show not against religion, but 'repression by the Israelis.'"
Some of the propaganda in the show, as described by Slackman, would lead most reasonable people to disagree: "Cartoons from other countries were on display as well: China, India, Brazil, Syria, Jordan, Pakistan. An Israeli soldier, holding a gasoline can that said Holocaust on the side, pouring the fuel into a military tank. A razor blade in the ground, like the wall Israel is building along the West Bank, with the word Holocaust along the side. Two firefighters, each with a Star of David on his chest, using Palestinian blood to extinguish the word Holocaust, which was ablaze.
"Mr. Shojaei said none of the images were intended as anti-Jewish, only anti-Zionist and anti-Israeli - and of course, anti-American and anti-British. As evidence, he said Iranians lived peacefully with this country's Jews."
As long as they don't proselytize, of course.