The pen is mightier…

oliphant-cartoonUh-oh. The ADL is hysterical about this political cartoon by Pat Oliphant that depicts Israeli soldiers as headless Zio-Nazis, rolling over innocent women and children in Gaza. Prepare for the usual “You can’t criticize Israel without being labelled an anti-Semite” nonsense.

The ADL is right, obviously. This cartoon is terrible. But I’ve seen this kind of thing in American newspapers, European newspapers and, of course, Arab newspapers too many times before to be shocked. In fact, I have to say, this particular cartoon is poorly drawn and rather uncreative. This has been done so many times before, and so much “better,” so to speak.

Regarding the content, it stems from this report in Haaretz, according to which veterans of Operation Cast Lead purposely shot at non-combatants. This story has caught on quickly and been embraced with the zeal you might expect from people who are all to eager to envision Israel’s army as being full of jack-booted, blood-thirsty automatons happy to carry out genocide against the poor, helpless, peace-loving innocents who struggle in their spiritual quest for Palestinian self-determination. (Am I laying it on too thick?)

The only problem is that the story is bogus. The soldiers who relayed these harrowing tales of cold-blooded war crimes didn’t actually witness them, it turns out, but were only reporting events they heard had taken place. Once confronted, they even admitted as much. And the head of the academy where these stories were first told is an extreme left-winger whose own writings show a distorted and biased belief that his own army is immoral; it has been suggested, in so many words, that the soldiers in attendance were goaded into telling these tales by this man, or offered them because they thought such reports would please him.

Nonetheless, the bottom line is that these atrocities never happened… but now that they have been immortalized by Oliphant, what does that matter? Those who wanted to believe that the IDF was evil before the cartoon will continue to believe it even after it has been shown to be a lie — probably because they will never bother to read the refutations, or to accept them if they do read them. Nor will they bother to read the accounts of soldiers sending letters of apology and money to Gazans whose homes they commandeered during the raid, or any number of other accounts that reveal an IDF much, much different than the one portrayed in Oliphant’s cartoon.

If Oliphant had any integrity, in fact, he would make some minor adjustments to his cartoon: This time, a headless cartoonist hoisting a pen rather than a sword would push, not a Star of David but whatever symbol represents the pro-Palestinian liberal agenda, steamrolling an Israeli soldier while he consults the strict code of conduct by which he must abide to determine his response to the incoming threat.

I’m not holding my breath.


One Response

  1. More than that….
    Apparently the actual 14 page transcript these stories come from is mostly about the usual acts of moral heroism that those who serve in the IDF know is the norm.

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