Ignorance, bias and odious comparisons

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Since to a large extent the attitudes and opinions of the general public are governed by what they see or hear in the media, one would ideally like to have media material well researched, balanced and representing the truth. For nothing, as we are aware, is black or white, and there are two or more sides to every point of conflict or argument.

Unhappily, for this Jewish community a cartoon which appeared in the Cape Times recently exhibited none of the above. Not only was it completely one-sided and offensive, but in one segment in particular, the comparison of present day sufferings inflicted by Israel on her enemies, bent on her total destruction, to the scientifically planned slaughter of 6 million Jews, was the height of exaggeration and insensitivity to the memory of the victims and survivors of the Shoa.

While the government of Israel, a rare true democracy in the Middle East, is not always blameless in its actions and is freely criticised by its own people as well as by Jews in the diaspora, too often is it maligned by others who are ignorant of its history, both before and since its formal establishment in 1948.

Zapiros harmful cartoon of 13 March 2008, which this paper cannot and will not reproduce, was a typical example of this approach. We do publish one of the responses to it, however, by noted academic, Professor Mike Berger, which can be read in the next article.

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