Toronto mural gets redesign after councilor says it closely portrays anti-Semitic trope

A mural in Toronto will be repainted to better portray the artist’s vision after an adviser grew concerned it sounded too much like an anti-Semitic trope.

Toronto City Councilor Josh Matlow Twitter to share your opinion about a painting in Tarragon Village, featuring members of the community.

The mural depicts a seated Jewish person bent over with almost claw-like hands, next to a person in a wheelchair, a man sewing, and a third person playing.

The mural is believed to stand on Bridgman Avenue near Bathurst.

“Regardless of the intentions, this new mural in the village of Tarragon depicts a Jewish person in a way that far too closely mirrors hateful anti-Semitic tropes,” Matlow said, while linking to an image of those tropes.

The adviser included an image of what appears to be French anti-Semitic propaganda from the 1940s.

A Google search of the words on the image returns entries about an anti-Semitic exhibition held in France during the German occupation.

The poster features an exaggerated Jewish caricature, leaning over the globe, as if to symbolize the fear that the Jewish people will take over the world – a trope frequently used in Nazi propaganda.

Throughout history, the exaggeration and disfigurement of Jewish bodies (especially faces, noses, and hands) have been used to promote anti-Semitic beliefs and governments.

Matlow confirmed on Twitter that he contacted the organizer of the mural and had a “very positive and productive conversation”.

“He told me that they immediately recognized the problem and had a plan to fix it. He also spoke with the artist, who made it clear that his intention was never to do anything. either that can be considered hateful – but [understands] that outcome and impact is a concern, more than an intention,” he said.

As a result, the mural will be repainted today to show a girl reading and a Jewish boy playing together.

“I believe in second chances, if someone is willing to own up to their mistake and learn from it. I personally believe they are listening sincerely and working earnestly towards a resolution of respect that we can learn from,” said concluded Matlow.

Comments on Matlow’s Twitter feed were mixed, with some saying the mural absolutely crossed a line, while others said the comparison was overdone.

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