Reader’s Rep: Gaza Cartoon Was in Poor Judgment

Steve Bell 16.12.2012

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Today’s Top Stories

1. UN envoy Robert Serry acknowledges ‘quiet engagements’ with Hamas

Officially, the international community has no direct contact with Hamas. The U.N., the United States and other Western governments formally renounced any dialogue with Hamas after the Islamist group, which has never acknowledged Israel’s right to exist, won Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006.

In a statement that year, then-U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said that the international community would only accept Hamas if it showed, “a commitment to the principles of non-violence, recognition of Israel and the acceptance of previous agreements and obligations.”

2. He doesn’t call Steve Bell an anti-Semite, but The Guardian’s readers editor, Chris Elliott, agrees that Bell’s recent Bibi cartoon was in poor judgment:

I don’t believe that Bell is an antisemite, nor do I think it was his intention to draw an antisemitic cartoon. However, using the image of a puppeteer when drawing a Jewish politician inevitably echoes past antisemitic usage of such imagery, no matter the intent.

The Holocaust and its causes are still within living memory. While journalists and cartoonists should be free to express an opinion that Netanyahu is opportunistic and manipulative, in my view they should not use the language – including the visual language – of antisemitic stereotypes.

3. The NY Times op-ed page is at it again with two op-eds supporting the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN. The first is co-authored Jimmy Carter and Gro Harlem Brundtland (Norway’s Prime Minister when the Oslo accords were signed). The second is by one of the Oslo accords’ architects, Yossi Beilin.

You’d think these people directly involved in Oslo’s infancy would realize that unilateral Palestinian moves will kill chances of peace. Or are they so personally invested in their process to see that? As for the NY Times, it’s the second day their op-ed page is out of balance. What’s going on?

Israel and the Palestinians

LA Times correspondent Ed Sanders interviewed Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal. Softball answers to softball questions in this un-challenging Q&A. Even Christiane Amanpour went for Meshaal’s jugular.

Jewish News One takes a closer look at David’s Sling, the missile defense system that had a successful test yesterday.

Gazans Name Babies After Iranian Missiles

Gaza-based Fatah members (who knew there were still any?) are claiming credit for also fighting Israel during Operation Pillar of Defense. The Jerusalem Post quotes a spokesman for the Al-Aqsa Brigades, the Fatah-affiliated militia saying they fired 516 rockets, fought alongside other factions, and boasted of their own martyr.

Worth reading: It took an Israeli general and a pariah defense minister to break some rules, sidestep red tape, convince skeptical American officials, and get a lucky political break to develop Iron Dome. The story’s at the Wall St. Journal.

A strange tweet from The Guardian’s Chris McGreal raises the specter of apartheid. Incomplete sentences are forgivable — I’ve also prematurely pressed the tweet button on occasion. But in the absence of any related tweets from McGreal’s Twitter feed (at least as of now) what is this tweet talking about, and where’s the proof?

Report looks at Hezbollah’s weapons smuggling network in Gaza.

[Imad] Mughniyeh’s fingerprints can be found on all rockets fired at Israel from Gaza.

Might Benjamin Netanyahu be Time‘s magazine’s Person of the Year?

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard‘s under heavy pressure to support the Palestinian statehood bid when it comes to the General Assembly. Meanwhile, the Globe & Mail reports that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper already told Abbas that the UN gambit “will have consequences.” On the other side, Maan News reports that Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal has thrown his support behind the UN maneuver.

Meanwhile, thousands of miles away from Gaza, thousands of Congolese are being massacred. But not by Israel, so nobody cares. Ian Birrell takes note:

Ain’t this just rich? French consulate hosts terrorist who planned to kill top Israeli rabbi

Continued on Page 2

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