I posted earlier today about a cartoon of a pig named “Mohamed” that recently caused great outrage among the Muslim taxi drivers of Norway.
In the comments section on the post, a reader named Jewel has explained the true (and surprising) story behind Mohammed the Pig:
This is the story behind the actual drawing of the illustration used in Dagbladet, from israelinews.org.
Tatiana Soskin was a resident of Hebron, the Jewish city divided UN-equally between Jews and Arabs. The Jewish community in Hebron consists of 500 Jews of which 350 are children while the Arab population is 80,000. In other words, the Arabs out-number the Jews 160 to one! So much for the myth of Jewish “settlers” taking over Hebron!
Tatiana was a young woman who decided to express some of her frustration and anger at the war of terrorism the Palestinians were waging against her fellow Jews. In June of 1997, she drew several pictures of a pig she called “Mohamed.” She attempted to post these drawings on Arab-owned stores in Hebron… not unlike some of the distasteful pictures Arabs posted on Jewish stores and buildings all the time. Unfortunately, Tatiana’s budding art career was cut short for she was apprehended by the Israeli authorities and brought to the Jerusalem Police station. Tatiana was arrested and later put on trial. Judge Zvi Seagal presided over this case. The judge compared her drawing to the atrocities committed by the Nazis, and said she had no respect for humanity and human rights.
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In the judge’s view she was guilty of incitement, racism and perhaps even endangering world peace! He even went so far as to compare her childish “pig poster” to the most evil anti-Semitic forgery ever conceived — the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion!” And on January 8, 1998, twenty-six year-old Tatiana Soskin was sentenced by the Jerusalem District Court to two years in prison plus a one-year suspended sentence for ATTEMPTING to post drawings of a pig named “Mohamed.” She was convicted of committing a racist act, supporting a terrorist organization, attempting to give religious offense and attempted vandalism. Tatiana’s appeal to the High Court was heard on March 30, 1998. A verdict from the High Court was given on July 8, 1998, totally rejecting the arguments. Tatiana served more than 16 months in prison FOR DRAWING A CARICATURE. This happened in “the only democracy in the Middle East.” Sadly, Arab-Israeli citizens are cut a lot more slack on matters of freedom of press, freedom of speech, freedom of expression AND the freedom to draw insulting pictures! The prosecutors decided to be tougher on her than they were on some Arab terrorists. No “revolving door” justice for this gutsy Jewish chick!
Now flash forward to today. The prestigious Israel Prize for sculpture has been awarded to Yigal Tumarkin has fashioned a pig wearing phylacteries, and on November 4, 1988 told Tel Aviv Magazine that when seeing haredi Jews he can understand the Nazis. He once said he wished he had gunned down Raphael Eitan and Rehavam Ze’evi. He branded then Tel Aviv mayor Shlomo Lahat “Papa Doc” for proposing to relocate Tumarkin’s upside-down glass pyramid Holocaust memorial from outside city hall. He published a “retraction” in an op-ed in Hadashot 10 days later, writing that, “The outward strangeness of the Jew and the pretentiousness of the notion that God chose us… caused violent surrounding cultures to clash… with this arrogant minority… The image of the cunning, ambitious scoundrel, lending money at exorbitant interest, turned the bent, hook-nosed bearded Jew into the enemy of civilization… which didn’t help belatedly enlightened Jews.”
Where is Ambassador Zvi Mazel when we need him?
If Dagbladet had published the story of the illustration, it would have been quite relevant and revealing in light of what is now happening in Europe. That is the story. Not whether this illustration offends Muslims.
Muslims are offended by everything, that much we get. It’s how far we go to try to keep from offending them that is the issue.