In the past year or more, the Punisher was attacked by the PC crowd for supposedly setting a bad example, due to Frank Castle’s use of deadly force in the war on evil, and there were objections to the skull symbol being used by police and military officials. Now, the very leftist weekly The Forward is doing something similar when it comes to Israel, attacking use of such skull symbols by Israel Defense Forces and police officials. They start off by parroting something far from true:
Several Israeli soldiers and police officers have been spotted recently with a surprising emblem adorning their helmets or flak jackets: the skull worn by the Marvel comics character “The Punisher” – and reminiscent of one used by the notorious Nazi-era S.S.
I’ve argued before that the symbol Frank Castle puts on his jumpsuits doesn’t resemble the Totenkopf symbols, so it’s quite loathsome to see this paper just going along in knee-jerk fashion, lecturing everybody that this is a literal nazi-symbol, and probably trying to make it look like law enforcers who believe in employment of lethal force to mete out justice are inherently wrong. They continue the propaganda angle:
It was seen on the jacket of a soldier confronting a Palestinian man on Sept. 17 in the South Hebron Hills, part of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. It was also spotted at a violent outbreak on the streets of Jaffa in May, during the war between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. And when an Israeli F-15 pilot was interviewed this spring on the British network Sky News, the emblem was in clear view.
And this is a confirmation the writers who put this together refuse to recognize the validity of Judea/Samaria as Israeli land (that’s why the “west bank” propaganda was coined, to delegitimize it), so it’s all a politically motivated article (note the use of the PC “militants” to water down the actual subject of terrorism), and as the following suggests, the paper’s not writing this because they respect Stan Lee:
“The Punisher,” who appeared in various Marvel comics in the 1970s, is Frank Castle, a former Marine whose wife and children were murdered by the mafia. After a police cover-up, Castle embarks on an extensive campaign of vigilante justice (the character’s creators also considered calling him the Assassin).
Vigilante heroes are common in the world of comic books, but the Punisher is particularly brutal, and known for his love of weapons. The skull he wears on his chest is derivative of the Totenkopf – German for “death’s head” – that adorned the uniforms of the S.S. officers who guarded concentration camps during the Holocaust.
Again, as I noted, this is all a huge exaggeration to say it’s based on Totenkopf, and come to think of it, they’re not very accurate about how the Punisher debuted either. It was first in Spider-Man where he debuted in 1974, and about a year later, an origin was written up in one of Marvel’s B&W anthologies. And what’s this about loving weapons? Does that mean all the western cowboys & Indians, along with modern police and army officials “love” weapons as though it they were all lunatics? The article appears to be written by a contributor to Shomrim, a recent group dedicated to self-hating anti-Israeli propaganda, and that’s certainly telling something. It goes on to claim the skull symbol’s popular with right-wingers:
After the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the United States, the Punisher gained renewed popularity among American law-enforcement officials and troops. Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL who inspired Clint Eastwood’s 2014 movie “American Sniper,” wrote in his autobiography that members of his unit painted the emblem onto their personal equipment, vehicles and walls of places they would pass through. The symbol also showed up in Afghanistan.
“He righted wrongs. He killed bad guys. He made wrongdoers fear him,” Kyle wrote, according to Time Magazine. “We spray-painted it on our Hummers and body armor, and our helmets and all our guns. We spray-painted it on every building or wall we could.”
The release of “American Sniper” further popularized the symbol among law enforcement, militias, gun advocates – and neo-Nazis. In 2017, Netflix produced an action series based on the Punisher (which starred the Jewish actor Jon Bernthal).
The emblem is also identified with the Oath Keepers, a far-right group that calls on its followers to protect the United States from enemies both foreign and domestic, and urges them to refuse orders that it says are unconstitutional. The group claims many police officers and U.S. military veterans as members.
In Israel, the rapper, blogger, and right-wing political activist Yoav Eliasa – known by his stage name The Shadow – has also been photographed recently with the symbol on his sleeve, most recently during a photoshoot on the Gaza border with soldiers waving their weapons.
[…] Dr. Avner Wishnitzer, one of the founders of the Israeli anti-occupation group Combatants for Peace, was in the South Hebron Hills on Sept. 17 trying to bring a water tank to one of the area’s isolated Palestinian communities. He was arrested that day, and posted on the Combatants’ Facebook page his shock at seeing the emblem on the Israel Defense Forces uniform.
“This is an Israeli Army helmet carrying the Israeli flag – and a skull,” he wrote. “The Israeli flag and a skull. What does it say that IDF soldiers choose to put such a symbol on their helmets?”
Okay, this is telling more. A self-hater who believes Judea/Samaria’s an Islamic country and that “palestinians” was never a name coined by the Roman empire to invalidate Israel, but rather, a name for an Islamic community (some right-wingers in Israel stupidly make use of it too). And Golda Meir, who refuted the propaganda in her time, is considered illegitimate by these ideologues and has long fallen out of favor with them. And Combatants for Peace is yet another anti-Israeli movement spreading more cliched libels against the land of Zion. I wouldn’t be shocked if this was all planned by the paper in coordination with the movements themselves. Particularly irritating is the “moralist” approach they’re taking. By that logic, it’d be wrong to use the color black for anything good.
Wishnitzer, a senior lecturer in the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University, said in a later interview that he and others arrested that day asked a female soldier wearing the emblem on her helmet about it, “but she didn’t want to talk about it.” He said they also asked other soldiers, who did not have the emblem, whether it bothered them to see the skull enmeshed with the Israeli flag, and “they told us they hadn’t given it too much thought.”
“As far as I am concerned, it’s part of the dulling of the senses that happens when soldiers serve in the territories,” Wishnitzer said. “Even if they didn’t fully understand the significance, and just thought it looked cool, the person who designed the insignia and then distributed it must surely have known.
“Even if most of the soldiers don’t understand the significance and the neo-Nazi overtones of the symbol,” he continued, “everyone knows the connection between the skull-and-crossbones and death.”
No soldier or police officer who wears the symbol was interviewed for this article about why they chose to do it. […]
Well I think this is another reason to disregard this article as an abomination determined to make most Israelis look stupid. Besides, I figure some activist leftists would also wear it if they thought it wouldn’t make them look bad. How do we know this wasn’t distorted intentionally?
These propagandists don’t even bother to consider that over 2 centuries ago, there were Muslim pirates in the Barbary Coast who used the skull and crossbones, yet the left’s helping the Religion of Peace despite all that?
Asked about the officer seen with the emblem at the Jaffa incident in May, a police spokesman, Chief Superintendent Yigal Habasor, said the sticker had been removed because it was not authorized, but shrugged off any thought of disciplining the officer who wore it.
“You want us to take disciplinary action because of some sticker? I think you’re getting confused,” Habasor said. “Instead of saluting an officer who protected civilians with his body, you’re bothered by some symbol he was wearing. That’s insane.”
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, however, was more contrite, saying in a statement that soldiers are allowed to “wear on their uniform only symbols that have been approved by the authorities,” and that the Punisher emblem “had not been approved by the Symbols Committee and is therefore not permitted.”
If this is so, it’s regrettable they may be ordering removal of the symbol. But a valid point’s made that the reporters involved are such ingrates, they can’t at least thank them for defending innocent lives. Which is pretty much the MO of these far-leftists for ages already. And while this paper never interviewed any soldiers for input, they did quote a far-left activist by contrast:
Avner Gvriyahu, executive director of Breaking the Silence – a group of military veterans protesting Israel’s treatment of Palestinians – said he began seeing “the insignia with the Totenkopf and the Israeli flag” three years ago, and that it has “become a lot more commonplace.”
“Just today, a Palestinian friend who was crossing through the Bethlehem checkpoint, asked me if I know what it means, because she’s seen it on a soldier’s uniform,” Gviryahu said in an interview in September. “It appears to me to be an attempt by front-line soldiers to intimidate people. As a soldier, you’re thinking about how you go into a situation – face paint, masks and so on – and that symbol is a way of saying ‘Wassah!’” (‘Wassah’ is Israeli Army slang relating to the physical presence of a soldier.)
Well now things are getting a bit clearer. Breaking the Silence is a rabid anti-Israel movement funded by European sources, which has spent years already spreading lies for delegitimization of Israel. It’s no wonder the article would be this skewed. It definitely compounds any negative viewpoint a sensible person could have of The Forward. A very distasteful paper they are, one producing only a negative view of Israel, devoid of any altruism. Based on the slapdash way they reference the Punisher’s history, it’s clear they’re not fans of Frank Castle, or any other Marvel creations.
As if this article isn’t disgusting enough, what a surprise, Conway himself took note:
— Gerry Conway Got the Shots and Lived (@gerryconway) November 8, 2021
As the figure holding his head in shame makes clear, Conway’s not proud, but disappointed, though I do wonder if he’s even remotely troubled by how the faux-reporter parrots the propaganda about the skull. Gerry also said:
As far as I was concerned at the time, the skull symbol was influenced by Lee Falk’s “The Phantom” skull ring and Skull Cave, as well as the old pirate Jolly Rodger.
— Gerry Conway Got the Shots and Lived (@gerryconway) November 8, 2021
Well see, that’s just it. The symbol was similar to what the Phantom had on his gear, not the Totenkoph designs. Besides, I’m sure Stan Lee and company would’ve been able to tell if they were using something inappropriate, and avoid using bad designs. Lee, lest we forget, did do army service, even if he wasn’t in combat units proper, unlike folks such as Jack Kirby. Conway, who’s long been known to shun his own creation, probably didn’t. And since they mention cartoonist and playwright Falk, he was Jewish himself, so are these leftists going to make him out to be one more stupid person who didn’t know what he was dealing with? Let us be clear: that skull design for the Punisher – and the Phantom – is not based on National Socialist-designed imagery, and it’s no more acceptable for the Forward to be perpetuating the bogus allegation than other US-based news sites that have done the same.
What The Forward published has got to be one of the most disrespectful, noxious articles of all time, and desecrates Stan Lee’s memory along with much of the output he oversaw back in the day. But it’s not a shock. Such papers have no true love of comicdom, nor do the anti-Israeli propagandists working in coordination with them.
Originally published here.