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BASTARDS! Gaza aid flotilla attacked by Israel! (by Latuff)

Latuff | 31.05.2010 05:42 | University Occupations for Gaza | Palestine | Repression | Terror War | World

I beg you all of you that make this tragedy circulate ad nauseam
through the Internet along my cartoon. People are free for reproducing
it on blogs, papers, magazines, TV, everywhere.

High resolution version for printing purposes:

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Don't listen to the BBC!

31.05.2010 09:15

BBC is taking the side of the israeli nazi's. Don't listen to the BBC! Thank god that no invite was extended to the BBC to have a reporter on the boat otherwise the lies would be worse.


Naszi israeli's continue to fire after white flag was raised.

31.05.2010 09:29

According to Al-jeezera, the Mavi hoisted a white flag to tell israeli forces to cease fire on the ship and that it was heaving to. Israeli forces continued to fire on the ship in International waters at least 70 miles from the Gaza coast.

BBC gave a platform to the Israeli information minister who accused ISM and other peace organisations of being a terrorist organisation and having links with Hamas and Al-Qaeda.


Bristol demo hippodrome 3pm

31.05.2010 10:13

Bristol demo, hippodrome 3pm please distribute

Bristol demo, hippodrome 3pm


Octopus symbolism has a history ... its not good

01.06.2010 01:47

German anti-semitic cartoon from 1938, using Octopus symbolism.
German anti-semitic cartoon from 1938, using Octopus symbolism.

I have often liked Latuf cartoons before, and defended him against the charge of anti-semitism. But you should be aware of the history of this octopus symbolism. Before I go any further, let me say who I am, and where I am coming from. I am a supporter of the Palestinian cause, and an opponent of Zionism, which I think is a racial supremacist ideology. I also have activist friends on the Free Gaza flotilla boats, whom I am very worried about.

However, I think this cartoon is anti-semitic. I understand Latuf's anger - and indeed share it. But lets look at some older versions of this octopus symbol.

In the picture I'm uploading you can see a German cartoon from 1938 depicting a 'Jewish octopus' strangling the earth. This symbolism appeared time and time again in the pre-ww2 period. It is used to imply that a Jewish conspiracy controls the world, that 'they' somehow have tentacles everywhere. Therefore, its not something that ourselves, as leftwing, anti-racist opponents of Israeli state terror should use. In fact, Indymedia should remove it.

Millions protest against Israel not because we are anti-semites, but because we oppose racism. We oppose all racism, including Israeli apartheid and anti-arab racism, as well as anti-semitic racism. Evidence of anti-semitism in the Palestinian solidarity movement is a great comfort to the Zionist state - it salves their troubled consciences, and immunises the Israeli people to the horror being perpetrated in their name. Remove the cartoon!

I also wonder if Latuf is aware of the history of this imagery?

Barry Kade
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Reply to Barry Kade

01.06.2010 03:43

First, comparisons of my cartoons with Nazi cartoons are an old strategy by Israel apologists, I wonder if you are aware of this.

Second, the Nazi cartoon you gave as example shows the JEWISH controlling the world. It have the Star of David as a crown. Usually the only way I use this star is drawing the Israeli flag, where the star is applied to. Israel uses sacred Jewish symbols in political seals.

Third, the octopus in my cartoon clearly represents the State of Israel, that's why it have the flag on his head instead the Star of David alone. The judgment that cartoon have to do with the Jewish or Judaism is all of yours. In fact, it's a version of the flag, with the swastika instead Star of David, due the brutal Nazi-like tactic of attacking an unarmed vessel with humanitarian aid.

Fourth, the giant octopus is NOT controlling the world, but attacking the Gaza flotilla.

And finally, with all the peace activists shot dead by IDF commandos while taking food and supplies to Palestinians in need and the world condemnation of this barbarism, the only thing I can tell you is FUCK YOU AND YOUR CHEAP ALLEGATION OF ANTI-SEMITISM!

(Attention UK Indymedia moderators. This reply was made by me, no doubt about it, you can confirm right now:

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Really upset by Latuff's insulting reply

01.06.2010 12:24

Dear Latuff,

I am really upset by your reply.

You do not know whom you are addressing, and you don't seem to care. My concerns were not 'cheap allegations of anti-semitism' by some supporter of Israel - as you can see.

I have comrades on the Gaza freedom flotilla. I do not know whether they are dead or alive yet. I am angry and sad. I am about to attend a demo against the Israeli assault. I am a socialist pro-Palestinian activist.

Your reply is also insulting and offensive.

I will no longer use your cartoons on our pro-palestinian leaflets. You have lost a supporter.



Barry Kade
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who is this idiot Latuff? An agent of Israel?

01.06.2010 12:49

I've been following this discussion.

Israel tries to cover up for its crimes against the Palestinian people by making false allegations of anti-semitism.

But our cause - a free Palestine - is not helped by our alleged 'supporters' attempting to smuggle in old anti-semitic imagery, like 'vampires' or 'octopuses' into pro-palestinian literature.

Is Latuff actually a Mossad agent, posing as a Palestinian supporter? Is his mission to plant false 'evidence' of anti-semitism in our movement? This cartoon is a gift to Israeli propagandists. I expect it will soon appear on the websites of Israel's apologists as evidence of our movements anti-semitism!

Leila K
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Re: Really upset by Latuff's insulting reply

01.06.2010 13:16

Hi Barry,

I can imagine you are really upset, I too know people on that boat, however I did not interpret Latuff's cartoon as anti-semitic. I don't think Latuff should have told you to fuck off, but he has a point when he states that:-

-Comparisons with Nazi cartoons are an old strategy by Israel apologists.

-The Nazi cartoon you gave as example shows Jews controlling the world, Latuff's cartoon doesn't.

- The nazi cartoon has the Star of David as a crown. Latuff only uses this in the context of the Israeli state flag, and it is not used in this cartoon.

-The octopus in the cartoon represents the State of Israel.

-The giant octopus is not controlling the world but attacking the Gaza flotilla.

I would also add that an octopus is a sea creature, and this assault took place at sea. Octopuses have a myth surrounding them for attacking ships. Finally, I was not aware of any use of octopuses as anti-semitic imagery, this is not common knowledge so making an assumption that Latuff somehow knew this is taking 1 and 1 and making 3 really.

The picture really is quite different to the one you posted, I think you are wrong on this one.


Norman Finkelstein on anti-semitism

01.06.2010 13:49

Yes, would be a good idea to not get too hysterical about anti-semitism, this is a sensible analysis:-

Norman Finkelstein argues that organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League have brought forward charges of new antisemitism at various intervals since the 1970s, "not to fight antisemitism but rather to exploit the historical suffering of Jews in order to immunize Israel against criticism".[29] He writes that most evidence purporting to show a new antisemitism has been taken from organizations that are linked in some way to Israel, or that have "a material stake in inflating the findings of anti-Semitism," and that some antisemitic incidents reported in recent years either did not occur or were misidentified.[30] As an example of the misuse of the term "antisemitism," he cites the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia's 2003 report, which included displays of the Palestinian flag, support for the PLO, and the comparisons between Israel and apartheid-era South Africa in its list of antisemitic activities and beliefs.[31]

Norman Finkelstein writes that anger at what he calls "Israel's brutal occupation has undoubtedly slipped over to an animus against Jews generally," which he describes as "lamentable" but "hardly cause for wonder."[32]
He writes that what is called the new antisemitism consists of three components: (i) "exaggeration and fabrication"; (ii) "mislabeling legitimate criticism of Israeli policy"; and (iii) "the unjustified yet predictable spillover from criticism of Israel to Jews generally."[33] He argues that Israel's apologists have denied a causal relationship between Israeli policies and hostility toward Jews, since "if Israeli policies, and widespread Jewish support for them, evoke hostility toward Jews, it means that Israel and its Jewish supporters might themselves be causing anti-Semitism; and it might be doing so because Israel and its Jewish supporters are in the wrong".[34]

Finkelstein asks why, given that the wars in Vietnam and Iraq contributed to anti-Americanism, and the aggression of Nazi Germany gave rise to anti-Teutonic sentiment, it surprises us that an occupation by a self-declared Jewish state should cause antipathy towards Jews. The only surprise, he argues, is that the antipathy does not run deeper, given that mainstream Jewish organizations offer uncritical support to Israel; that Israel defines itself juridically as the sovereign state of the Jewish people; and that Jews themselves sometimes argue that to distinguish between Israel and world Jewry is itself an example of antisemitism. He cites Phyllis Chesler who argues, on the one hand, that "anyone who does not distinguish between Jews and the Jewish state is an anti-Semite," but on the other that "Israel is our heart and soul ... we are family." Gabriel Schoenfeld, the editor of Commentary magazine, writes that "Iranian anti-Semitic propagandists make a point of erasing all distinctions among Israel, Zionism and the Jews," while Hillel Halkin argues that "Israel is the state of the Jews ... To defame Israel is to defame the Jews." It would seem to be antisemitic, Finkelstein concludes, "both to identify and not to identify Israel with Jews."[35]

Free Gaza

Re: Octopus symbolism has a history ... its not good

01.06.2010 13:59

If I had one criticism of the octopus comparison it is the fact that it has been used in hundreds of contexts over the past ten decades, yet Barry chooses to home in on it's use in ant-semitic propaganda. This website documents hundreds of uses in political cartoons of the octopus, you will see that very few relate to anti-semitism:-

Trying to claim that anti-semitic imagery has some claim of ownership over the use of the octopus is clearly false.


specifics of this cartoon

01.06.2010 15:10

old French anti-semitic octopus symbol
old French anti-semitic octopus symbol

another anti-semitic octopus symbol - know your history!!!
another anti-semitic octopus symbol - know your history!!!

Yes, you are right that charges of anti-semitism are used disingenuously to smear opponents of Israels oppression of the Palestinians.

Of course it is not anti-semitic to criticise Israel. Yes, Finkelstein is a good bloke, and well worth a read.

But that was not what I was arguing. I was talking about this particular cartoon.

Given the history of the 'octopus' symbol in the European persecution of the Jews, it is unfortunate and counterproductive for us to use the octopus symbol when condeming Israel. It gives the Zionists a propaganda tool. Can you not understand this elementary point?

Look at the first comment in this thread: Brazzir claims: "Israel owns and runs the world" - how do they do that, Brazzir? Are you implying that capitalism a global Israeli or Jewish conspiracy or some other such bollocks?

Global capitalism is run by the global rich scum, who consist of many nationalities, races and religions. Mainly they are Anglo-American Protestants, but some are Jews, some are rich Arab oil Sheiks and Muslims, some are Indian Hindus like Lakshmi Mittal (the richest man in Europe and the fifth richest in the world), etc etc. To fight this global ruling class we need working class internationalism - a global intifada of the oppressed and exploited of all races, nationalities and religions.

Also, many people wrongly say that Israel controls the foreign policy of the USA. This is bollocks. Its the other way around. Israel has long been a tool of American imperialism in the middle east. Thats why America arms, finances and supports Israel. And this isn't because of the power of some 'Jewish Lobby'. Its because Israel is in the strategic interests of the American empire. George Bush came from a family of WASP* anti-semites. His grandfather supported Hitler! (*WASP = White Anglo-Saxon Protestant - the traditional white supremacist ruling class). They just use Israel as their tool, while remaining quietly anti-semitic themselves!

I can understand anger against Israels state terrorism. I'm hitting the streets tomorrow, and gonna be waving my Palestinian flag. If I wasn't wasting my time here on Indymedia, I would be emailing and phoning people to attend the protest! But this anger is no excuse for any concessions to anti-semitism. And you can be sure, this prejudice still lies deep within European culture and its psyche. I'm sure you will agree that to free Palestine we must also fight all forms of racism.

Viva Palestina! Down with all racism! Shalom! Salaam! Peace! Victory to the Intifada!

Barry Kade
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dear anarchist

01.06.2010 15:25

Cover of the Tzarist forgery the 'protocols of the elders of Zion'
Cover of the Tzarist forgery the 'protocols of the elders of Zion'

yes, but using the octopus image with reference to Israel WILL be construed by some as anti-semitic, and is best avoided. OK? Simple point. Use of vampire imagery isnt anti-semitic either, but with reference to Jews it is, because of the myth of the 'blood libel'. Know your history!

Ever heard of the Tsarist forgery, the 'protocols of the elders of Zion'. This was a piece of propaganda, forged by the Tzarist state to whip up pogroms and divide the working class. It had an octopus on the front.
Such ignorance of history would have the old Jewish Anarchists turning in their graves!

I'm pissed off at having to go on about anti-semitism, when the victims I'm really angry about today are my fellow Palestinian solidarity activists!

Now I'm going piss off and organise a protest against Israeli state terror, (and try and find out if my friends on the Gaza solidarity boat are still alive). Bye.

Barry Kade

Octopuses are sea creatures which mythically attack boats

01.06.2010 15:25

Hi Barry,

I agree with all the right-on stuff you have just said, agree with every last word of it. But.. you have not addressed the points I made that this cartoon has nothing to do with anti-semitism:-

-The Nazi cartoon you gave as example shows Jews controlling the world, Latuff's cartoon doesn't.

- The nazi cartoon has the Star of David as a crown. Latuff only uses this in the context of the Israeli state flag, and it is not used in this cartoon.

-The octopus in the cartoon represents the State of Israel.

-The giant octopus is not controlling the world but attacking the Gaza flotilla.

-Octopuses are sea creatures which mythically attack boats, just like the Israeli navy did.

Or that another poster correctly posited that "trying to claim that anti-semitic imagery has some claim of ownership over the use of the octopus is clearly false" because it has been used in numerous different non-anti-semitic contexts over the past century, and they provided a website to demonstrate this.


Highly selective

01.06.2010 15:42

I apologise in advance for hammering my point home with a sledge hammer, but I think you are being highly selective here, octopuses have been used to depict the British, the Irish, Vietnamese, Japanese, Americans, Romans, Fascists, Communists, and of course Capitalists.


'A' is willfully missing the point

01.06.2010 16:08

'A' is willfully missing the point.

The octopus symbol is used to imply that a particular group or nation has tentacles that reach everywhere, that they are part of a secret global conspiracy. So, yes, you could use it depict the global reach of America, or communism, or fascism, or capitalism as octopus like. Context is important. You are right that the Octopus motif is therefore not INHERENTLY anti-Semitic.

But when applied to Jews, it takes on a particular meaning. The central myth of anti-semitism is that there is a global Jewish conspiracy. This was the animating myth of Tzarist pogroms and Hitlers brownshirts.
Given its history, I am objecting to its use with reference to the current situation with Israel, as it confuses the situation.

I am hardly a defender of the terrorist state of Israel! But I don't think we should use the octopus symbol here, given its past, and what it has been used to imply in the past.

OK, lets end this discussion now. You can go on in your state of denial, proving how clever you are at missing the point, and ignoring the importance of context. I'm gonna protest against Israeli state aggression - choosing my symbols and propaganda carefully, so as not to give any ammunition to the Zionists.

Barry Kade

I'm a better activist than yao..

01.06.2010 16:28

"The octopus symbol is used to imply that a particular group or nation has tentacles that reach everywhere, that they are part of a secret global conspiracy. So, yes, you could use it depict the global reach of America, or communism, or fascism, or capitalism as octopus like. Context is important. "

Exactly. The cartoons which you and I depicted show tentacles reaching out across a map of some sort which depicts a conspiracy. Latuff's cartoon shows tentacles grabbing hold of a boat. In mythology octopuses attack boats, as did the Israeli army. This is the real context of the cartoon which ironically you ignore whilst accusing me of wilfully missing a context which doesn't even exist.

"But when applied to Jews, it takes on a particular meaning. The central myth of anti-semitism is that there is a global Jewish conspiracy....... Given its history, I am objecting to its use with reference to the current situation with Israel, as it confuses the situation."

Yes, but look at what you just did: conflating Jews and Zionists. Latuff did not mention Jews anywhere? Only anti-semites and zionists want you to think that, don't buy into it!

I'm off to check my email now and make some tea, farewell.


'The Octopus Map'

01.06.2010 22:25

Some of you revolutionaries really should take a night off from the barricades to stay home and watch more TV. The BBC just had an excellent series on 'The Beauty of Maps', featuring the original and eponymous 'Octopus Map' by English cartoonists Fred Rose.

And the original evil octopus was .....Tsarist Russia. Maybe Latuff is being 'anti-Russian'?

Also, Giant Squid have attacked ships, and have even killed baby whales. You may forgive an 18th century sailor for mistaking a squid for an octopus.

Giant squid 'attacks French boat'


Israel is a Rogue State

01.06.2010 22:32

Excellent cartoon latuff. Now it seems the Israeli state is allowed to terrorise and murder in international waters.

They murdered people using stolen British passports recently. Now they commit piracy in international waters and hijack British citizens among others.

These murdering bastards should be held to account for their crimes against humanity.



08.06.2010 09:43

There's another angle which doesn't seem to have been considered.

Israel/Zionism is constantly accused of being fascist - as in the swastika on the octopus' head.

Clearly, however, it isn't:

- There are trade unions and strikes in Israel;
- There are legal demonstrations including by Israeli Arabs against discrimination and in support of the Palestinians;
- There are relatively free elections and Arab members of the Knesset (yes, I know an Arab party was recently banned from the elections; of course I condemn this, but the point stands...)

Of course other silly accusations of/comparisons to fascism/Nazism are sometimes made, but they seem to be made at Israel far more often than anywhere else (I remember going round a free Palestine demo in London once and seeing about a dozen such comparisons). More so in fact than against states like Iran which you could plausibly describe as fascist (and which oppresses national minorities as badly as Israel oppresses the Palestinians).

Like Barry, I am a socialist and pro-Palestinian activist. I condemn the attack on the flotilla and the siege of Gaza. I condemn Israel's oppression of the Palestinians and discriminatory laws. I was there on Saturday's demo. But let's try to be rational...

Rootless cosmopolitan


08.06.2010 10:44

I do not see anything anti-semitic about the cartoon. I understand Barry Kade's concerns/paranoia about pro-Palestinians not wanting to be seen as anti-semitic, but it is tiresome to have to endlessly deal with this criticism.

The comment above about Israeli is entirely fatuous. Just because the behaviour of Israel is distinct/different from fascism does not mean it is somehow offensive (to who - the Zionist military leaders?) to compare the two. The same goes for 'apartheid' - just because it is not the same doesn't mean it isn't as bad, or indeed worse.

The Arab members of the Knesset are completely unrepresentative (i.e. in number of members compared to population) of the millions of people who live under the subjugation of the Israeli state. They are a token, like the Jews in the Iranian parliament, although vastly more under-represented.

Histadrut, of course, condemned the aid flotilla and not the Israeli govt, working as it does as a union to defend the privileges of Israeli workers over Arabs.

I personally do not think the comparison adds much, but only because it distracts attention from the immediate issue onto the terrain of Zionist grievances against pro-Palestinian activism. "Anti-anti-semitism" is the only justification they have for their crap.

That said, it is also interesting to note what is not unique about Zionism as a form of totalitarian nationalism:

Professor Frink
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09.06.2010 19:58

Part of my point is precisely that - we should not use words in a sloppy way. There is a Marxist tradition of understanding and analysis fascism, for instance, which I think is far superior to slippery liberal and ultra-left usages. To deny that Israel is fascist is not to deny that it "does bad things", or more generally that it is an aggressive imperialist power. Ditto "apartheid". And the point is that from accurate, concrete analyses different prescriptions to solve different evils flow.

However, the point goes further than that. Very few states in the world are called fascist as often as Israel is - even much more plausible contenders for the label, such as Iran. Certainly they do not have the Nazi swastika thrown at them. Why is this? I think it's at least related to anti-semitism, a desire to shock by calling Jews Nazis. (No, which isn't to deny that there can be Jewish fascists - of course.)

Yes, Israeli Arabs are under-represented - only 10 Knesset members out of 100 as against 18 percent of the population (seven from the Arab parties and three of the four Hadash MKs are Arab). You think ethnic minorities are fantastically represented in British politics? I'm not denying that the situation in Israel is worse, but to compare it to Iran where there are no free elections is just ludicrous.

Yes, Histradrut supports "its" government's foreign policy. That is a disgrace and should be condemned. But do you think it's the only union federation in world history to do so? How about the AFL-CIO's long record of support for CIA action against leftist movements in Latin America? Or the Vietnam war? How does it following that either Histadrut or the AFL-CIO are not real unions? (It's particularly ironic since such a line often comes from supporter of the Cuban regime with its state-controlled labour fronts.)

Zionism, like all nationalisms but more so, is multicoloured. The top government ministers and IDF generals call themselves Zionists, but so do some of the soldiers who go to prison for refusing to serve. So do some highly critical left-wing historians like Benny Morris. That doesn't mean, we internationalists, should stop being anti-Zionist, but it does mean seeing things in perspective and not demonising Zionism.

If you find it "tiresome to have to endlessly deal with this criticism", then that's just unfortunate. Political struggle can be tiring. Try to soldier on.

Rootless cosmopolitan

Iranian parliament

10.06.2010 15:58

I looked up the stuff about Jews and Iran's parliament. Yes, five seats are allocated to religious minorities. Obviously I don't condemn this, and in fact the record of the Iranian regime in terms of persecuting Jews, as Jews, doesn't seem to be as bad as you'd expect. But how can you equate or favourably compare Iran, where there are NO free elections and all opponents of the government are repressed, with the yes highly flawed, yes discriminatory, yes bourgeois liberal democracy of Israel?

In Israel, there are 10 percent Arabs MKs because... there are relatively free elections. In Iran there are no freely elected members of the Majlis - at all!

Rootless cosmopolitan