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Stephen Pollard’s hypocrisy on offensive cartoons

By Sunny Hundal
February 4 2013




Earlier this week the Jewish Chronicle Editor Stephen Pollard appeared on the Today Programme to criticise the publication of the cartoon in the Sunday Times.

To be clear, I accept that many Jews found the Sunday Times cartoon offensive even if some pointed out it couldn’t be anti-semitic.

But what annoys me are the double-standards.

Here is what Stephen Pollard said on the Today programme:

Oh yes, you have to separate out the difference between the right to publish something, whether there’s a right to be offensive, and whether that means you always have to be offensive, and I don’t think you do.

I think this is an absolute model of how you deal with such a situation. Clearly, there was a mistake made. We’re all human – cartoonists are human, journalists are human, editors are human… The mistake was printing the cartoon. Whether it was Gerald Scarfe’s in drawing it. Whether it was the Sunday Times in printing it. Whatever. It was a mistake.

Clearly he thinks that if some people find such cartoons offensive they shouldn’t be published. He even said the date was immaterial – it shouldn’t have been published at all.

But here is what Stephen Pollard said a few years ago during the Danish cartoons controversy (via @Busty1956):

But they are certainly offensive to a large number of Muslims, as this week’s turmoil shows. But so what? Rather more offensive, one might think, than some mocking cartoons is some Muslims’ desire to murder me as a Jew.

Indeed, in some ways the cartoons were designed as a deliberate challenge. A biographer of Mohammed had lamented the fact that artists were too intimidated to illustrate his book, and the newspaper called for cartoonists who would be willing to have their pictures published. Offensive and unfunny though they might be, they none the less raise legitimate points about the beliefs and behaviour of some Muslims. Is there, for instance, any non-Muslim who does not find the notion of the 76 virgins who await suicide bombers to be both horrifying and amusing?

If free speech means anything, it surely includes the ability to question, and to mock, the belief that Mohammed rewards jihadists, just as it must also include the freedom to stage Jerry Springer – The Opera and the play Dishonour at the Birmingham Rep, against which Sikhs protested last year.

When Muslims find something offensive, Stephen Pollard thinks they raise “legitimate points” about Muslim beliefs. So what if they find it offensive? he asks, it is about free speech right?

But the last paragraph clinches it:

Such is the nature of the fight to defend Western values – half-hearted and supine. The right of a newspaper to publish unfunny cartoons about Mohammed, Jesus or any other religious figure is not a distraction in the defence of freedom from terror. It goes to the very heart of what must be defended.

Ahhh, I get it.

When we are publishing offensive cartoons about Muslims then we are defending Western values, but when we are publishing “grotesque” cartoons about certain Jewish politicians, then a line has been crossed.

The hypocrisy is simply breath-taking.

Originally published by Liberal Conspiracy 

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