Peace with Realism

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They came for the Palestinians... and I did something.

This flyer was displayed on a bulletin board at the University of California at Berkeley and was seen by a colleague in March of 2001. The image has been used many times before, at least since 1991 when it at appeared at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.

To understand the poster's anti-Semitic message one must recall the source to which the text of the flyer alludes: the words of the German anti-Nazi activist Pastor Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the communists
and I did not speak out - because I was not a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out - because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me -
and by then there was no one left to speak out for me.

The flyer attempts to add an ironic twist: they came for the Palestinians and I, a Jew, did do something - this "something" having to do with the Palestinian child pictured at the wrong end of an Israeli bayonet.

The flyer is anti-Semitic because through its allusion to Niemöller it compares not only Israelis but Jews to Nazis. That is not an Israeli flag on the rifle, it is a Jewish star.

The flyer is also a gross distortion of reality, portraying the Palestinians as a harmless little child victimized by a huge Israeli monster. The image brings to mind other anti-Semitic images circulating in the Arab press of a huge, fat, and very Jewish Ariel Sharon feasting on the blood of Palestinian babies.

Although the flyer is signed by an anonymous Jew, there is no name of any recognizable organization and no group has claimed responsibility for it. The "signature" may also be part of the propaganda.

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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:
Peace with Realism