Distorted Imagery

Israel continues its operations in Gaza to bring about the safe return of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. This has prompted a great deal of reaction in the world’s media, including cartoonists. teal

For example, this Sunday Telegraph cartoon of 2 July appears to demonstrate a moral equivalence between IDF soldiers and Palestinian terrorists.

Comments to the Sunday Telegraph.

Also weighing in on 5 July with a cartoon that equates Palestinian terrorism with Israeli counter-measures is Michael Leunig of Australian newspaper The Age. Leunig has previously indulged in anti-Israel cartoons.

Comments to The Age.

Meanwhile, the South African Sunday Times published this cartoon on 2 July accompanied by an editorial falsely comparing Israel’s actions to those of the former South African apartheid regime:Leunigterrorcartoon

“There was a time when apartheid South Africa – under the leadership of PW Botha – was notorious for its cross-border raids into neighbouring countries.
That was when the South African Defence Force was the main instrument used to destabilise South Africa’s neighbo
urs. The Nats argued that these raids were carried out in pursuit of “ANC terrorists” in those countries.

In most cases innocent civilians – many of them citizens of those countries – were maimed or killed.

The latest Israeli assault against the Palestinian people is a grim reminder of Botha’s military tactics against South Africa’s neighbours….

 A war that knows no boundaries between innocent civilians and legitimate military targets can only be described as state terrorism.”

Comments to the SundIndependent280606ay Times.

The UK Independent’s front page from 28 June graphically illustrates the way in which some media have portrayed the current Gaza crisis. In this montage, an IDF tank symbolizes the Israeli aggressor as opposed to the ‘peaceful’ Palestinian pictured with the green Hamas flag in the background.

This is not the first time that the Independent has used such imagery to attack Israel, as seen most recently in its cover of an American flag whose stars have been replaced by those of Israel.

Comments to the Independent.


While Israel has been criticized from predictable media sources, most notably in the UK, the US media reaction has been more muted with a number of editorials expressing understanding for Israel’s actions.

The Washington Post, for example, expressed the following:

“When Cpl. Gilad Shalit was abducted by the military wing of Mr. Haniyeh’s Hamas movement last weekend, his administration faced a choice. It could behave like a civilized government — and work to free the hostage — or align itself with a terrorist operation. It chose the latter. Hamas government officials endorsed the militants’ demand that Israel release Palestinian prisoners it has legally arrested in exchange for a soldier who was attacked while guarding Israeli territory. Hamas justified this position by citing the terrorist movement Hezbollah, which has extracted prisoners from Israel in exchange for hostages, as well as governments that exchange POWs in wartime.

Fair enough. But if Hamas wants to be equated with Hezbollah or define itself as at war with Israel, then Israel has every right to try to destroy the Islamic movement’s military capacity, to capture its leaders (it has arrested more than 60 since Wednesday, including eight cabinet ministers) and to topple its government. Isn’t that what happens in war?”

Comments of support to the Washington Post.

Charles Krauthammer, writing in Time Magazine, reminds his readers of the origins of this current crisis, debunking the myth of the “cycle of violence”:

“What is so remarkable about the current wave of violence in Gaza is that the event at the origin of the “cycle” is not at all historical, but very contemporary. The event is not buried in the mists of history. It occurred less than one year ago. Before the eyes of the whole world, Israel left Gaza. Every Jew, every soldier, every military installation, every remnant of Israeli occupation was uprooted and taken away.

How do the Palestinians respond? What have they done with Gaza, the first Palestinian territory in history to be independent, something neither the Ottomans nor the British nor the Egyptians nor the Jordanians, all of whom ruled Palestinians before the Israelis, ever permitted? On the very day of Israel’s final pullout, the Palestinians began firing rockets out of Gaza into Israeli towns on the other side of the border. And remember: those are attacks not on settlers but on civilians in Israel proper, the pre-1967 Israel that the international community recognizes as legitimately part of sovereign Israel, a member state of the U.N. A thousand rockets have fallen since.

For what possible reason? Before the withdrawal, attacks across the border could have been rationalized with the usual Palestinian mantra of occupation, settlements and so on. But what can one say after the withdrawal?”

Comments of support to Time Magazine.


For a more in-depth look at how some of the British media has reacted to the Gaza situation, have a look at HonestReporting UK’s latest communique, which includes a shocking video interview from Channel 4 News as well as a roundup of BBC coverage.

HonestReporting will continue to monitor developments in what is a very fluid situation and hopes that Gilad Shalit will be safely reunited with his family as soon as possible.

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