Suzanne Fields

The Iranian daily Hamshahri, which organized an international contest to find the 12 "best" cartoons of the Holocaust (which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insists never happened), doesn't quite get the point. In one entry, a man goes through a pile of skulls and bones at Auschwitz and says, "I don't think they are Jews." Another cartoon depicts Anne Frank in bed with Adolf Hitler. The entries were vulgar and tasteless, but as any Borscht Belt comic would tell you, they were worse than that. They weren't funny.

Amitai Sandy, an Israeli comics publisher, had a better idea after rejecting the first suggestion that he commission jokes about the mullahs in Iran. "That wouldn't have been right," he says. "You should only poke fun at your own kind." So he did what Jews have always done best, poking fun at themselves. He commissioned a contest for anti-Semitic humor.

One of the top 10 cartoons, published in der Spiegel, the German newsmagazine, depicts an orthodox Jew with a Hitler-like mustache giving the Nazi salute. In another, a Jewish fiddler fiddles atop the Brooklyn Bridge while the Twin Towers burn, satirizing the Islamist notion that Jews were behind 9/11. Not necessarily thigh-slappers, either, but they reflect the self-confidence of those free to laugh at whatever tickles them. "Before the others point their finger at us, we'll do it ourselves, and funnier," Sandy says. "We're kosher anti-Semites." It's hard to imagine Muslim red-hots poking fun at over-the-top Islam.

George W. and his doppelganger were so funny because they did go over the top. "The media really ticks me off," his doppelganger said, "the way they try to embarrass me by not editing what I say." For one memorable night, they didn't have to.


Suzanne Fields

Suzanne Fields is currently working on a book that will revisit John Milton's 'Paradise Lost.'

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