THE BLOG
10/20/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Arab Political Cartoons Portray Candidates In Pocket Of Israel

The Barack Obama, John McCain campaigns are the center of political news in the United States, but they are also making a splash in other countries in the form of political cartoons. As for their portrayals -- the candidates are seen in another light, with different races of people at the helm.

Recently, the Anti-Defamation League posted a report, which documented recent cartoons about the presidential election for 2008. Mostly appearing in the Arab and Muslim media, the cartoons carry a singular theme with both candidates - an allegiance and apparent influence of the Israeli community.

The Anti-Defamation League makes mention of four points which the cartoons make painfully obvious: The close relationship between America and Israel and/or the Jews; the influence of the Jewish lobby on American decision makers; Jewish control of the Western media and economics; and the American Administration's unwavering desire to satisfy Israel and American Jews.

On June 22, 2008, Ar-Risala published a political cartoon which portrayed Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama in the rectal crack of a person with the Star of David printed prominently on the person's back pocket. The headline read, "The Wagon [that gets you] to the White House"

Another cartoon in which George W. Bush, John McCain and Barack Obama are together features Bush drowning in the middle of skulls in Iraq. In a dialog bubble, Bush is saying to McCain and Obama, "Come Make Yourself at Home." This column originally appeared in Ad-Dustur on June 24, 2008.

Al-Watan and Arabnews both published the same cartoon which appeared on June 10 and 11th of 2008 respectively. The cartoon featured McCain and Obama in the Suit Pocket of a man wearing a tie in which the Star of David is prominent.

Al-Hayat published an even more satirical perspective with both candidates serenading an unseen person at the top of a tower in which the Israeli flag is hanging.

In all, the Anti-Defamation League published 25 cartoons appearing in the Arab and Muslim media. Of the cartoons in the report, a majority of them featured a caricatured Obama. One Obama cartoon read, "Not Barack...Allah is within him. ("Allah is within him" is an Arab term for "Your Majesty")

Obama made a trip to the Middle East in July which could have potentially spawned the political cartoon influx in the area. On July 23, 2008, Octavia Nasr posted an entry on the Anderson Cooper 360 blog in which she quotes a writer from Al-Jazeera in Ramallah as saying, "This is a clear indication that the Palestinian visit is just for show whereas his visit to Israel aims at supporting the state and appealing to the Jewish voters in the U.S."

The comments on Nasr's entry were the same - a blogger said, "We should have some dignity and stop bowing to Israel, a state that has violated every kind of law only because of our unconditional support."

What is noticeably apparent is the lack of major arguments that the candidates have made against one another. None of the cartoons posted in the Anti-Defamation League's report features portrayals of McCain's age, or Obama's experience level.

Each candidate embraces the two races discussed and depicted in the cartoons of the Middle East.

On McCain's website, the Arab-American Coalition posted, "We are proud to endorse Senator McCain whose character, judgment, leadership, and experience is precisely what all Americans need in their next president," the coalition goes on to say, "and most importantly, he understands the issues facing the Arab world."

In McCain's speech to the AUPAC Policy Conference in 2008, he said, "The state of Israel stands as a singular achievement in many ways and not the least is its achievement as the great democracy of the Middle East," he then said, "We are the most natural allies and like Israel itself - that alliance is forever."

In 2004 at the Democratic National Convention Obama said, "If there's an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties." He then goes on to say, "It's what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. 'E pluribus Unum.' Out of many, one."

This week OffTheBus is publishing a variety of stories that cover the presidential election from an international perspective.