South African Cartoonist in Public Spat Over Zionism

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1. Press reports say the US and Western allies are preparing contingency to attack Syria if Bashar Assad uses chemical weapons. The Times of Israel says the intervention may include Israel, Turkey and Jordan. That’s one way to get Ankara and Jerusalem to play nice again.

2. South African cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro (better known as Zapiro) got into a public spat with South Africa-Israel Public Affairs Committee chairperson David Hersch. SAPA was on hand:

Zapiro later said he was indeed against political Zionism.

“I think that whatever notions of religious Zionism existed in the 19th century were already perverted by Theodore Herzl and company in order to ethnic-cleanse a land that had a lot of people, who were living there over a period of hundreds of years.”

Here’s Zapiro’s recent take on the Palestinian statehood push before the UN vote, published in the Mail & Guardian:

3. I’ve lost track of the number of times Iranian leaders have called for Israel’s destruction. Turns out Human Rights Watch is divided on the question of denouncing Iran for inciting genocide. For most people, the question’s a no-brainer. But this is HRW and executive director Ken Roth. David Feith (Wall St. Journal, via Google News) explains:

Mr. Roth’s main claim is legalistic: Iran’s rhetoric doesn’t qualify as “incitement”—which is illegal under the United Nations Genocide Convention of 1948—but amounts merely to “advocacy,” which is legal.

“The theory” to which Human Rights Watch subscribes, he has written in internal emails, “is that in the case of advocacy, however hateful, there is time to dissuade—to rebut speech with speech—whereas in the case of incitement, the action being urged is so imminently connected to the speech in question that there is no time to dissuade. Incitement must be suppressed because it is tantamount to action.”

Mr. Roth added in another email: “Many of [Iran’s] statements are certainly reprehensible, but they are not incitement to genocide. No one has acted on them.” . . .

Mr. Roth, when asked to comment for this article, said that a Human Rights Watch committee may review Iran’s rhetoric, but in his view Tehran isn’t inciting genocide and claims to the contrary are “part of an effort to beat the war drums against Iran.” In other words, Tehran will continue to call for Israel’s obliteration—and Human Rights Watch will continue to sit back and watch.

Feith brilliantly takes apart Roth’s logic. Read the whole thing.

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