Sunday, March 29, 2009

The dumbing down of the print media

These two cartoons have caused a lot of controversy in the past weeks. The first one was highly objected to by the African American community because they felt the cartoonist was really depicting President Obama as the dead gorilla thereby bringing up the old racist stereotypes against African Americans and even promoting the President's assassination. Probably the cartoonist meant no such thing, but common sense should have dictated that this cartoon should not have been published by the NY Post. I support free speech but sometimes sechel (Yiddish for common sense) is a wiser path.

The 2nd cartoonist, Pat Oliphant, perhaps the most published cartoonist in the world, clearly meant to compare Israel to a jack booted, goose stepping, headless Nazi who was wheeling a piranna toothed Star of David in pursuit of Gaza depicted as a defenseless, small woman and child. No confusion as to his meaning - and it is anti-Semetic, anti-Israel, false, slanderous, unfactual (no one cares about that anymore when it comes to Israel) and without any merit. This is the exact type of cartoon used by the Nazi regime to distort the truth concerning the Jewish people so that the German population would be psychologically prepared for any outrages committed against the Jews.

Aren't thousands of rockets indiscriminately fired at Jewish civilians for years enough to warrant an outbreak of war against those who perpetrate such clear war crimes. And if you place your civilian population in danger by the way you fight and where you fight from, you are guilty of war crimes. The civilian deaths in Gaza should be laid at the feet of the leaders of Gaza. They should be tried for war crimes but all we hear are investigations of Israel's handling of the Gaza war. What would those who condemn Israel today have done if they were confronted with the real Nazi war machine? File genocide and war crime cases against the US and British forces when civilians died? Then, the world's survival was at stake. Today Israel's survival and survival of freedom in the world is at stake.

Yet, who has risen to defend Israel from these types of Nazi cartoonism similar to the outrage by African Americans to the NY Post cartoon? This is the time for Jews and Christians to speak out against virulent neo-Naziesque propaganda and send their protests to the newspapers that carried this cartoon and to demonstrate publicaly that they will not tolerate such baseless hatred. What if this cartoon were reversed and it was Gaza depicted as headless Mohammed firing rockets at defenseless Israelis? What would the reaction have been in the Muslim world? By the way, the old slander that the Jews control the media must not be valid given the wave of anti-Semetic articles and cartoons in newspapers and magazines these days.

What do you think? Shalom from Paris. David Schneier

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