By Michael Hoffman
Sydney Morning Herald, July 26, 2014
An Israeli wearing a kippah (yarmulke) watches the Israeli attack on Gaza, July 19, 2014
Zionist Thought Cops Reduce Australian Newspaper to Quivering Bowl of Jelly
Sydney Morning Herald can’t apologize enough for editorial cartoon and accompanying column
"We apologize unreservedly for this lapse and the anguish and distress that has been caused....It was wrong to publish the cartoon in its original form.”
The fact-based cartoon has been retracted
Sydney, Australia — An influential Australian newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald, has retracted and said it was "wrong" to publish a July 26 cartoon about Gaza that ignited howls of outrage from Zionists. In an August 3 editorial, the Herald denounced its own cartoon, saying that it "invoked an inappropriate element of religion, rather than nationhood, and made a serious error of judgment.” The cartoon, by Glen Le Lievre, depicted "an elderly man, with a large nose, sitting alone, with a remote control device in his hand, overseeing explosions in Gaza," according to the newspaper. His armchair had a Star of David on it, "and the man was wearing a kippah, a religious skullcap.”
Initially, the newspaper defended the cartoon, explaining that Le Lievre's drawing was inspired by "news photographs of men seated in chairs and lounges, observing the shelling of Gaza.”
The Herald’s initial defense was correct. As Harriet Sherwood reports (below), Israelis did indeed gather on hillsides to watch and cheer as their military dropped bombs on Gaza: "Israelis drank, snacked and posed for selfies" against a background of explosions in civilian areas.
Kippah-wearing Israelis occupy front row seats on a hill in Sderot as they enjoy the bombing of Gaza
Israelis lounge and drink as they watch Gaza being devastated by their nation’s military
Israelis gather on hillsides to watch and cheer as military drops bombs on Gaza
By Harriet Sherwood in The Guardian (UK) July 20, 2014 (Excerpt)
People drink, snack and pose for selfies against a background of explosions as Palestinian death toll mounts in ongoing offensive.
As the sun begins to sink over the Mediterranean, groups of Israelis gather each evening on hilltops close to the Gaza border to cheer, whoop and whistle as bombs rain down on people in a hellish warzone a few miles away.
Old sofas, garden chairs, battered car seats and upturned crates provide seating for the spectators. On one hilltop, a swing has been attached to the branches of a pine tree, allowing its occupant to sway gently in the breeze. Some bring bottles of beer or soft drinks and snacks.
On Saturday, a group of men huddle around a shisha pipe. Nearly all hold up smartphones to record the explosions or to pose grinning, perhaps with thumbs up, for selfies against a backdrop of black smoke.
Despite reports that millions of Israelis are living in terror of Hamas rockets, they don't deter these hilltop war watchers whose proximity to Gaza puts them within range of the most rudimentary missiles. Some bring their children.
In the border town of Sderot, which has been struck by countless missiles from the Gaza Strip in recent years, one family gathers on a top-floor balcony, draped with an Israeli flag and banner of the army's legendary Golani Brigade. A house with a war view may even command a premium price these days.
An atmosphere of anticipatory excitement grows as dusk falls, in the expectation that Hamas militants will increase rocket fire after breaking their Ramadan fast, and the Israeli military will respond with force.
The thud of shellfire, flash of an explosion and pall of smoke are greeted with exclamations of approval. "What a beauty," says one appreciative spectator.
Shimrit Peretz, 19, has come with her off-duty soldier boyfriend, Raz Sason, whose army-issue assault rifle is slung across his shoulders. "We come to look at the bombing," Peretz says, adding that this is their fourth visit to the hilltop. They plan to stay several hours: "It's interesting." The pair have brought a backpack filled with bottles of water and bags of crisps... (end quote from Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian).
Why is it wrong to satirize, in a cartoon, an actual occurrence that is now part of the history of the Gaza war — the heartless contempt which many Israelis have exhibited for the lives of Palestinian civilians? This is reality. Why can’t Israeli partisans stomach reality? Why must the supposedly secular and independent media of Australia bow to the demands of nationalist and religious-fanatic reality-deniers, who find truth highly offensive to their tender sensibilities and raging egotism?
The Sydney Morning Herald's editor, Darren Goodsir, told the Guardian Australia that he decided to apologize "after a long 10 days of serious thinking, and reflection.” What he actually means to say is, ten long days of constant pressure and hectoring from the Zionist lobby.
The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies complained to the Herald about the cartoon as follows: “In our view this is racial vilification, not only in the sense of offending, insulting, humiliating and intimidating Jews as a group, but also in the sense of inciting third parties to hatred of Jews,” according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
Dear "Jewish Board of Deputies”— if you feel “humiliated,” perhaps it’s because what your fellow tribesmen in the Israeli state did is indeed shameful and disgraceful. Rather than trying to censor reality, why not change your ways and become better persons, by moderating your hatred and contempt for Arab goyim? Everyone benefits from the self-reflection that comes from truth-based criticism.
Mr. Le Lievre's cartoon was accompanied by an editorial by veteran Herald columnist Mike Carlton, which promptly came under verbal bombardment from the Zionist community. Australia’s "Anti-Defamation Commission of B'nai B’rith," headed by Mr. Dvir Abramovich, termed Mr. Carlton’s column, "venomous propaganda.”
The Australian Jewish News even took offense that the columnist had praised Judaic culture as liberal and scholarly, while invoking the "Six Million Holocaust." Australian Jewish News wrote,"Not only were we treated to baseless accusations of 'genocide' and 'ethnic cleansing' on Israel’s part, but then there was a subtle shift. These were crimes being committed by 'a people with a proud liberal tradition of scholarship and culture, who hold the Warsaw Ghetto and the six million dead of the Holocaust at the centre of their race memory.’ "This column was no longer about a country, this was about a people and a race – a people and a race who should know better because of what they themselves went through. In short, you Jews are the same as the Nazis, worse perhaps because you choose to ignore the lessons of your own history.”
“...a people and a race who should know better because of what they themselves went through.” Exactly!
Mike Carlton, former columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald
Carlton stood by his column and wrote about the attack on and his family on Twitter. The lives of Carlton's children were threatened and he was eventually suspended by the Sydney Morning Herald. Mr. Carlton has since resigned from the paper (see the story here). His e-mail account has been hacked. You can reach him via Twitter: @MikeCarlton01 Here is Carlton’s offending column:
Israel's rank and rotten fruit is being called fascism
By Mike Carlton
Sydney Morning Herald • July 26, 2014
The images from Gaza are searing, a gallery of death and horror. A dishevelled Palestinian man cries out in agony, his blood-soaked little brother dead in his arms. On a filthy hospital bed a boy of perhaps five or six screams for his father, his head and body lacerated by shrapnel. A teenage girl lies on a torn stretcher, her limbs awry, her face and torso blackened like a burnt steak. Mourners weep over a family of 18 men, women and children laid side by side in bloodied shrouds. Four boys of a fishing family named Bakr, all less than 12 years old, are killed on a beach by rockets from Israeli aircraft.
As I write, after just over a week of this invasion, the death toll of Palestinians is climbing towards 1000. Most are civilians, many are children. Assaulting Gaza by land, air and sea, Israel has destroyed homes and reduced entire city blocks to rubble. It has attacked schools, mosques and hospitals. Tens of thousands of people have fled, although there is nowhere safe for them to go in this wretched strip of land just 40 kilometres long and about 10 kilometres wide. There are desperate shortages of food and water, of medical and surgical supplies.
In an open letter to US President Barack Obama, Dr Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian surgeon working at Gaza's al-Shifa hospital, writes of "the incomprehensible chaos of bodies, sizes, limbs, walking, not walking, breathing, not breathing, bleeding, not bleeding humans. Humans!
"Ashy grey faces – Oh no! Not one more load of tens of maimed and bleeding. We still have lakes of blood on the floor in the emergency room, piles of dripping, blood-soaked bandages to clear out ... the cleaners, everywhere, swiftly shovelling the blood and discarded tissues, hair, clothes, cannulas – the leftovers from death – all taken away... to be prepared again, to be repeated all over.”
The onslaught is indiscriminate and unrelenting, with but one possible conclusion: Israel is not fighting the terrorists of Hamas. In defiance of the laws of war and the norms of civilised behaviour, it is waging its own war of terror on the entire Gaza population of about 1.7 million people. Call it genocide, call it ethnic cleansing: the aim is to kill Arabs.
As none other than Malcolm Fraser tweeted this week: "If any other country went to war killing as many civilians, women and children, it would be named a war crime." But it is not, although the UN is asking the question of both sides.
Yes, Hamas is also trying to kill Israeli civilians, with a barrage of rockets and guerilla border attacks. It, too, is guilty of terror and grave war crimes. But Israeli citizens and their homes and towns have been effectively shielded by the nation's Iron Dome defencs system, and so far only three of its civilians have died in this latest conflict. The Israeli response has been out of all proportion, a monstrous distortion of the much-vaunted right of self defense.
It is a breathtaking irony that these atrocities can be committed by a people with a proud liberal tradition of scholarship and culture, who hold the Warsaw Ghetto and the six million dead of the Holocaust at the centre of their race memory. But this is a new and brutal Israel dominated by the hardline, right-wing Likud Party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition.
As one observer puts it: "All the seeds of the incitement of the past few years, all the nationalistic, racist legislation and the incendiary propaganda, the scare campaigns and the subversion of democracy by the right-wing camp – all these have borne fruit, and that fruit is rank and rotten. The nationalist right has now sunk to a new level, with almost the whole country following in its wake. The word 'fascism', which I try to use as little as possible, finally has its deserved place in the Israeli political discourse.”
Fascism in Israel? At this point the Australian Likudniks, as Bob Carr calls them, will be lunging for their keyboards. There will be the customary torrent of abusive emails calling me a Nazi, an anti-Semite, a Holocaust denier, an ignoramus. As usual they will demand my resignation, my sacking. As it's been before, some of this will be pornographic or threatening violence.
In fact, that paragraph within the quotation marks was written by an Israeli. Gideon Levy is a columnist and editorial board member of the daily newspaper Ha’aretz. Born in Tel Aviv to parents who fled the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1939, he despairs of what his country has become and the catastrophe its armed forces are visiting upon Gaza. After a recent column calling on Israeli pilots to stop bombing and rocketing civilians, his life was threatened and he now has a bodyguard day and night. It has come to that. In the worst insult of all, Levy is branded "a self-hating Jew”.
Israeli propaganda is subtle and skillfully put. "If Israel were to lay down its arms tomorrow, she would be destroyed; but if Hamas were to lay down their arms, there would be peace," goes the line, parroted endlessly.
But in all these long and agonising decades, Israel has never offered the Palestinians a just and equitable peace. They would have only a splintered, vassal state, their polity and economy and even their borders and freedom of travel and trade managed and determined by Israel. The occupation of Palestinian lands would remain with the relentless expansion of illegal Israeli settlements on the West Bank of the Jordan and the Dead Sea.
As the Palestine Liberation Organisation official Hanan Ashrawi put it this week in a television interview with the Australian journalist Hamish Macdonald: "No nation can accept being imprisoned, being besieged by land, by air, by sea and deprived of the most basic requirements of a decent life: freedom of movement, clean water. For seven years they have been under a brutal and lethal Israeli siege ... You shell them and you bomb them; you destroy homes, you destroy whole neighborhoods. You obliterate, annihilate, whole families, and then you come and say that this is self defense?"
That is why the killing and the dying goes on. Ad nauseam, ad infinitum. And the rest of the world, not caring, looks away. (End quote).
EDITORIAL (Sydney Morning Herald - Excerpt) Aug. 3 2014
There has been widespread reader and community reaction during the past 10 days over a cartoon that was used to illustrate an opinion piece by columnist Mike Carlton on the conflict in Gaza.
Much of that concern was borne out publicly on our letters pages – and there has continued to be commentary and correspondence that has sought to make sense of the conflict. The Herald has drawn opinions from a wide variety of sources to help readers to understand the causes of, and the possible ways to end, the war between Hamas and Israel. Deeply critical exchanges have taken place over the opinions expressed in Mr Carlton's column, and properly so, as we invite debate over any column we publish. But the Herald has also fielded a number of accusations of racism over the cartoon.
...The Herald deeply regretted the upset the image had caused, but felt – not least because the cartoonist lacked any intent and that actual photographs influenced the setting and physical depiction of the character in the cartoon – that no racial vilification had occurred.
However, this newspaper accepts that this position was too simplistic and ignored the use of religious symbols. The Herald now appreciates that, in using the Star of David and the kippah in the cartoon, the newspaper invoked an inappropriate element of religion, rather than nationhood, and made a serious error of judgment. It was wrong to publish the cartoon in its original form. We apologize unreservedly for this lapse, and the anguish and distress that has been caused. Our commitment remains to reporting in a fair and balanced way on the appalling events in Israel and Gaza, where our correspondent, Ruth Pollard, is currently based, witnessing daily the horrors of war....
(End quote; emphasis supplied).