I've already said my bit on those Steve Bell and Gerald Scarfe cartoons. But I cannot pass up the opportunity offered by a column of Hadley Freeman's to put on display the way in which legitimate worries about the use of traditional anti-Semitic themes and imagery get swept aside.
Freeman is of the view, articulated in just two stray sentences, that the Scarfe cartoon was anti-Netanyahu rather than anti-Semitic. 'Griping' about it, as she puts this, does little to combat anti-Semitism. The interesting thing is that this opinion of hers is stuck inside a piece devoted to taking a critical view of sexism in the media. Sexism includes not only 'viciously misogynistic elements' but also 'more insidious tropes'. Such as? Such as 'describing any female celebrity as "flaunting her legs/curves/body"'; or as describing an 'unmarried, unmothered woman over 30... as "brave" for which read: pitiable, for which read: tragic'. OK, you'll know how that works - demeaning or otherwise prejudicial stereotypes.
But for some reason, unexplained, while Freeman can see that the application to a particular woman of a general theme involves more than a comment on that woman, because it mobilizes a prejudice about women, she can't see, or doesn't want to, how showing a Jewish politician using the blood of Palestinians to cement a wall recalls a tradition of anti-Jewish hatred, associated with the 'blood libel', in which Jews take the blood of others for their own dubious purposes. Of course, Scarfe may only have had Netanyahu, and not Jews, in mind. There's no reason not to believe his own assurances on that score. But it isn't only about his mind, it's about - to repeat Freeman's own term - insidious tropes.
So, why are some insidious tropes more equal than others? Because some you consent to see, and others you don't. These less equal others are denied entry into the republic of tropes that are acknowledged to have a malign history. It's the Caryl Churchill two-step: she wasn't meaning all Jews, just some Jews. It is the strange fate of anti-Jewish tropes in some quarters today to have cast off all their generality and to be only ever about THIS.