Anti-Semitic Obama Cartoon Lands Spanish Leftist Party in Hot Water

Drawing, which was tweeted by the United Left party, perpetuates 'the most repugnant anti-Semitic stereotypes,' Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain says.

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The image disseminated by the Madrid branch of Spain’s United Left party.
The image disseminated by the Madrid branch of Spain’s United Left party.Credit: JTA

Spanish Jews condemned a left-wing party’s use of anti-Semitic imagery meant to protest President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to the country.

The Madrid branch of Izquerda Unida, or United Left, on Thursday tweeted the cartoon image, which depicts a thick-lipped Obama standing behind a wall amid explosions while hugging a Jew with side curls, a kippah emblazoned with the Star of David and a suit in the light-blue color on the Israeli flag. The Obama character is shown slipping a wad of cash in or out of the Jew’s pocket. It used the hashtag #ObamaGoHome.

United Left, which has eight lawmakers out of 350 in the Spanish congress, later tweeted a picture of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visiting a victim of a terrorist attack, with a caption comparing Israeli soldiers to Islamic State fighters.

In far-left circles across Western Europe, many have claimed equivalence, cooperation or both between Israel and ISIS.

“United Left is [perpetuating] the most repugnant anti-Semitic stereotypes with this image,” the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, of FCJE, wrote in a statement Friday, “in accordance with the Nazi paper Der Sturmer, trying to caricature and vituperate with unfounded and defamatory myths, both blacks and Jews, as well as stable democracies such as the United States and its ally, Israel.”

ACOM, a Madrid-based group devoted to advocating Israel’s position in Spain and fighting attempts to boycott the Jewish state, called on authorities to take action against those responsible for disseminating the image.

“In any civilized country, public prosecutors would do their jobs and the parties responsible would have been detained by police,” ACOM said in its statement Thursday. “We urge the relevant authorities to end their inaction and resume their responsibilities.”

Like other European countries, Spain has laws that can make discriminatory speech a crime.

The Israeli Embassy also condemned the cartoon in a statement on Friday. "Nothing can justify the usage of anti-Jewish caricatures, and silence shouldn’t be maintained in the face of this flagrant expression of anti-Semitism," said the embassy.

Separately, a Spanish court earlier this month suspended motions calling for a boycott of Israel that were approved in April by the municipality of Barberá del Vallès in the autonomous region of Catalonia. In keeping with rulings by higher courts in Spain over the past year, the Fifth Administrative Court of Barcelona ordered the motion scrapped because it risks encouraging discrimination.

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