Thursday, August 17, 2006

What Is Tolerance?

Many bloggers and media outlets have written about Iran's Holocaust cartoon contest. So far every post I have read has been critical of the contest calling it a "holocaust denial contest", "anti-Semitic cartoon contest"etc. 200 of the submittions to the contest are on display in Paris this week fueling outcry from the French Jewish community and condemnation from the Mayor of Paris. Cartoons that are clearly in protest of a countries politics and have absolutely nothing to do with Judaism are being labeled as anti-Semitic like this one from an American cartoonist.

This all sounds familiar, no? I remember it vaguely there was a cartoon that was the essence of Anti-Semitism, it was a distasteful ridicule of a Semite and a Semitic religion. Ahh yes the Mohammed cartoons. Was it wrong when some Muslims in the middle east responded to the cartoon with violence, yes. Does that make the cartoon O.K., no.

The nature of this topic requires me to be extremely candid regarding my beliefs and opinions and so here I go.

I find it shameful and inappropriate to make caricatures or jokes which are disrespectful towards anyone’s religion, be it Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism or any other religion. When I watch television and see a cartoon in which Jesus is depicted as being homosexual, I cringe, its beyond poor taste, its antagonistic towards Christians. When A professor posted the Mohammed cartoon on a projector in front of his class without regard for the beliefs of his students, I cringed. There are many people in Academia, in the media, in entertainment, whose adherence of respect for others religions are nonexistent.

I believe very strongly in freedom of speech, however most of us acknowledge the limits of freedom of speech. Shouting "FIRE" in a crowded theatre is abuse of that freedom and I believe, so is the distasteful ridicule of someone else's religion. This isn't a foreign concept to the West at all. The insistence of reverence towards another religion is the same exact principle that makes "Anti-Semite"” such a strong accusation. It is directed at comments which are an attack on Jews and the Jewish religion.

So lets not get it twisted, when a cartoon depicts a politician or the politics of a country whose state religion happens to be Judaism, that's not an attack on Judaism now is it? If there is a cartoon in the Holocaust cartoon contest which is an attack on the Jewish RELIGION or of Jewish prophets, then those individual cartoons should be condemned. Everyone should stand against attacks on religion no matter whose religion they attack, this was not the case in the Mohammed cartoon debate, instead it was posed that 'this is free speech' and that Muslims should be more tolerant, where is that tolerance now? Is it tolerance that causes people to shout "Anti-Semite" against cartoons that attack the politics and policies of Israel?


At 10:20 PM, Blogger Miss Carnivorous said...

I just don't look at things that offend me unless they are educational. For entertainment purposes I have been stupid enough to watch a French movie filled with the most repuslive horrific violence and cursed myself it, but I did not turn it off and can't blame anyone but myself. There are people who enjoy being offended. If you don't want to see naked people for instance, you don't look at porn. If you do look at it, don't later claim that you are offended by it. Some people seek out the feelings of outrage. I never more than glanced at the offending Arab cartoons, because I did not care to see them. They were, unfortunately, everywhere on the net for a while. If you know they will offend you, don't look at them! I enjoyed the Israeli anti-semitic cartoon contest though. Those cartoons were funny.


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