Eli Valley Claims His Works Are Misunderstood, But His Words Are Impossible to Misinterpret
For a man so concerned about gaslighting, Eli Valley’s fingerprints are all over the lamps lining the streets of both the Diaspora and Israel. During his 50+ minute presentation and 40-ish minute Q&A session before Stanford’s Students for Justice in Palestine–a branch whose national group has substantiated ties to Hamas–Eli Valley made numerous verifiably false claims regarding Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, and pretty much anything connected to the GOP and American Conservatism.
These easily debunked myths sound just like any other leftist campus speaker: talk of “ethnic cleansing” on the border, of a “demagogue” (Bibi) in Israel who “waged war… on the institutions of Democracy itself,” and the most hackneyed one out there, “Ben Shapiro is a White Supremacist.” The only difference between Eli Valley and other speakers is that Eli Valley is known for his cartoons. That is why the presentation was so crucial; it was a chance to see and hear, in Valley’s own words, whether his work is really misinterpreted.
A simple fact; political and satirical cartoons can be misinterpreted. So it was important to listen to his presentation with an open mind. Eli Valley makes the claim his work is completely misconstrued and people do not understand the nuance of his satire. His detractors see the cartoons as anti-Semitic. Valley contends they are satire aimed at exposing the hypocrisy of pro-Israel, pro-Zionist, anything-but-Progressive American Jews.
Instead of taking the time during his presentation to prove this point, he substantiated the worst claims against him; he is a caricature of the self-loathing Jew, who normalizes anti-Semitic tropes and provides others an avenue to utilize those same tropes to attack Jews.
Valley really is a walking stereotype: you learn during the presentation that he is rebelling against his Rabbi father who forced a young Eli and his sister to sit and listen to sermons. His parents divorced when he was young. And while his father maintained his traditional Jewish values–going so far as to provide Jews on the LIRR a place to daven–his mother, well, his mother is the type of person who writes a letter to her son at sleepaway camp saying, “I know you will carry on the family tradition and fart on the flag.”
This love of his mother’s ideals and sense of humor–which got the loudest applause of the presentation–and rejection of everything related to his father, and by connection traditional Judaism, is the guiding light in Valley’s works and words.
However, it is also this foundation in Judaism that gives Valley the confidence to dabble in his anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist imagery and outlook. Because he grew up attending seders and listening to sermons, he wields his Judaism like a shield against those claiming he is anti-Semitic. However, Eli Valley’s shield is not one of a merely defensive nature, his shield is the shield of Captain America; at its most destructive when it is turned into an offensive weapon.
He is baffled by such contentions that his work is anti-Semitic, claiming he draws everybody as “grotesque” and makes a concerted effort to steer clear of obviously anti-Semitic imagery like the big-nosed Jew. However, Eli Valley exhibits zero qualms when it comes to drawing Donald Trump wearing the Nazi armband or a cartoon belittling the Shoah (the Holocaust). Like any good provocateur, nothing is off-limits.
Yup, Anne Franke as the head of sperm is also fair game to Valley. He jokes about his father’s fear of assimilation and pokes fun at the realization, “all my sperm was precious because it contained enough cells to make up for all the lives lost in the Shoah.” It is a shocking image specifically used to get gasps and laughs.
It works in that regard in front of that particular audience but conveniently glosses over the fact that his father’s fears–and the fears of others Jews–are substantiated by the mere fact there are two million fewer Jews today than before the Holocaust. Or, more importantly for somebody as aggressively opposed to all forms of Judaism not of the American Progressive ilk, Valley might want to heed his father’s fears of assimilation when he realizes the majority of American Jews might soon be Orthodox.
Therein lies the true crux of his philosophy. Eli Valley believes his ideas of Judaism are correct. He says so. Multiple times. And anybody that does not agree with his version is wrong and is a threat. So if you find repugnant his gaslighting of Linda Sarsour as merely, “an anti-Nazi activist,” it is you who are in the wrong.
This delusional perspective carries over to his unhinged view on Israel and Zionism. According to Valley, Israel is a colonizer and any strong nation that “suppresses another” is evil. But Israel itself is not just strong and evil, the people who promulgate this view and live in Israel are also inherently evil.
He juxtaposes images of the Israeli Sabra next to that of North Korean propaganda. The cartoonist bemoans Israel’s use of Holocaust imagery alongside Israeli soldiers. Instead of viewing the images as a testament to Israel’s insistence that no Jew (including Eli Valley) will ever have to suffer and die for merely being Jewish, Valley is appalled by its militant portrayal because you see, Israel is a colonizer and oppressor and evil.
But people like Eli Valley are delusional. They do not live in reality: Valley gripes and groans about the evils of Israel and Bibi, he sees a Nazi boogeyman in the form of Donald Trump and despises everything that is non-Progressive American Jewry. All while drawing grotesque pictures that put smiles on the faces of Anti-Semites.
There is nothing unique or groundbreaking about Eli Valley and his work. It is the same schtick you can get on any American campus, except his medium is cartoons. He says nothing new and parrots the evilest, most gaslighting statements of the Progressive American Left, “it is not anti-Semitism, it is anti-Zionism.” But Eli Valley, because of his Jewishness, takes it a step further; not only are the Zionists in Israel evil but so too are all the Jews in America who defend Israel. I.e. All the Jews who do not believe as he does are evil and inhabit all the worst aspects of Judaism.
Change the name of Eli Valley to John Smith and it becomes clear. The rhetoric, the constant misuse of Jewish taboos like Nazi, Pogrom, and The Shoah, and the grotesque imagery all reveal the true nature of Eli Valley; he is an anti-Semite hellbent on seeing the end of Zionism. To the end of the Jewish state. And to any Jew not in his image.