Reasoned response to an offensive cartoon

I fear there may be an outraged response from some members of the Jewish community to Zapiros tasteless cartoon in todays Cape Times (and other newspapers of the Independent group) which will simply serve to validate him in his own eyes.

Zapiro is too old to be treated as an enfant terrible. Even cartoonists are assumed to have the capacity to mature, to read, to reconsider history and to acquaint themselves with the history of their people.

Let us take simply one reference in the cartoon to collective punishment. Does Zapiro imagine the Holocaust was a form of collective punishment? If so, in response to exactly what?

I dont remember the Jews shooting thousands of rockets into Berlin. I dont remember the Jews threatening to destroy Germany and exterminate the German people.

I dont remember Jews going into German kindergartens, theological seminaries, cinemas or cafes loaded with explosives. In fact, so deficient were they in the requisite spirit of military fervour, Jews didnt even blow up fellow-Jews with whom they had serious doctrinal differences.

I do recall that the greatest wish of most German Jews was to become good Germans and be part of German society. It was precisely for this crime – the crime of integration, the crime of contamination for which the Holocaust was collective punishment.

Similarly, what acts of aggression or threats of extermination accounted for the millennia-long story of pogroms, expulsions and blood libels the Jews suffered in Europe? What analogy is Zapiro attempting to draw our attention to when he refers to collective punishment?

Does he seriously wish us to believe that the thousands of rockets and mortars falling on Southern Israel is a reasonable response to Israels complete withdrawal from Gaza?

Does Zapiro believe that the training and rearming of Hezbollah and Hamas by Iran is in response to Israeli occupation and has nothing to do with Iranian internal politics, theological doctrines and regional and global strategic ambitions? Does Zapiro know anything of the Hamas charter or the daily instigation of Islamist doctrine and vicious antisemitism across vast swathes of the Muslim global community?

If he knows about these things (and much more), what does he do with such information when he creates his anti- Zionist cartoons?

If, at this stage of his life, Zapiro is still incapable of articulating his concerns with Israels political and moral position except in this profoundly ignorant, offensive (and, it must be said, visually banal) manner, we must assume that he is simply incapable of the intellectual and moral growth which distinguishes talent from substance.


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