Readers Respond to Palestine Cartoon

Friday April 23, 2004

Editors, Daily Planet: 

The “State of Palestine” cartoon by Justin DeFreitas (Daily Planet, April 16-19) depicted a Palestinian impaled on a flagpole bearing a United States flag. The stars in the flag were arranged as the Star of David, a potent religious symbol identified with Jews the world over. 

Because he chose to use a religious symbol, Mr. DeFreitas goes beyond what I assume to be a criticism of current U.S. and Israeli policies and opens the possibility that he was implying Jews have manipulated the foreign policy of the United States. This anti-Semitic canard has been repeated for generations by extremist hate groups and used to justify hateful and discriminatory actions against Jews. 

Let’s hope Mr. DeFreitas will be more careful in avoiding hu rtful stereotypes—his political satire will be stronger for the effort. 

Andrew Stoloff 

Anti-Defamation League 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

I want to write and thank you for the exceptional editorials that you have run in recent weeks, particularly concerni ng what is going on between Israel and Palestine. Not only were you willing to comment, but the way you did it was extremely thoughtful. 

It takes guts to comment on what is happening on this issue, but it takes real insight and intelligence to do it so e ffectively. 

I particularly appreciated the cartoon in the April 16 issue. All I could do was read in horror about what Bush did with Sharon. His support for Sharon gives Israel a green light to continue the occupation and annexation of the Palestinian st ate and effectively deals a death blow to any sort of just peace, and the cartoon expressed this effectively. The U.S. has always been supportive of Israel, sending billions of dollars in aid every year and then turning its back as Israel continues to com mit war crimes and destroy the livelihood of all Palestinians. Now it’s out in the open. Even the New York Times came out and commented on the consequences of Bush’s support. And if the Times allows that through its editorial board, you know the depths of the issue. 

The editorials about the execution of Hamas leaders have also been excellent. Both expose Israel for what it is: a country that is running an unjust occupation and an unjust war against those who oppose the occupation. Without taking sides, the editorials have plainly explained why extrajudicial killings are wrong, and why they are not effective. And again, I commend you for speaking up. Those who support Israel would like to quash all dissent, which can be seen in the letters in your paper. 

Please know that even though there seems to be a backlash against those who speak up on this issue, there are also those of us who support it. Please continue to do so. 

Max Reiner 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

As an American and a Jew I was shocked and revo lted by the cartoon which appeared in the weekend edition of the Daily Planet. It suggests the Jews control U.S. policy and are stabbing Palestinian rights in the back. 

This cartoon is frankly anti-Semitic as well as anti-Israel and is an insult to all A mericans. Jewish Americans do not control the U.S. foreign policy. This cartoon reminds me of Nazi art which libeled the German Jews in the 1930s. 

I will not patronize any of your advertisers and I will tell them so. 

Susanne (Sanne) DeWitt 



Editors, D aily Planet: 

The cartoon that was presented in your weekend edition was a shocking display of anti-Semitic overtones in our public discourse. The notion that Israel and the United States—two democratic allies—are single handedly responsible for a disrupt ion in the creation of a Palestinian State is an irresponsible claim. Making such a claim ignores the inability of the Palestinian Authority to teach its population to promote co-existence with their Israeli neighbors in addition to the countless terrorist attacks that are funded by known terrorist Yasser Arafat. Israel since 1948-56 years ago—has made endless attempts to achieve peace with her Palestinian neighbors with no reward in return except for increased terrorist attacks and anti-Semitic cartoons falsely accusing of the only two democratic countries working to achieve a lasting peace in the region. 

Ziv Shmargad 

Political Director, Israel Action Committee, UC Berkeley 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

Regarding the spate of letters by Israeli State apolo gists recently published in the Daily Planet: 

First point, Israel’s size is irrelevant. “Little England” once ruled most of the world. Little states can be as aggressive and imperialistic as large states. 

Secondly, Israel did displace close to one milli on Palestinians in 1947-48. The U.N. accounted for over 950,000 Palestinians living in its refugee camps by 1949. 

Third, most of the “250 million Arabs” are not wealthy and most live under reactionary regimes supported by the U.S., which is also the chie f payroller of Israel. 

Fourth, Israel encouraged and funded Hamas going back to the late 1970s in an effort to discourage the secular PLO. Now the chickens have come home to roost. 

Fifth, Israel is the fourth strongest military power in the world and contrary to myth, has never been the underdog. In 1948 the Zionist paramilitary forces already greatly outnumbered the pathetic combined Arab “armies.” 

Sixth, Broudy gives no sources for the probably inflated claims of Arafat’s wealth. Israel itself has a much higher standard of living than its productivity would justify, and it is U.S. aid which is behind this. 

Seventh, selective and out of context quotes from the ultra-right and Zionist New York Post do not an argument make, contrary to Arthur Braufman. 

Eight, Clinton’s fabled final peace plan was a fraud, as Noam Chomsky has demonstrated in detail. The Israeli settlements were going to stay, Israel would retain control of the water supply, the apartheid highways would continue to isolate Palestinian a reas from each other, and no return or compensation for the millions of Palestinian refugees. 

Nine, John Kerry has been terrible on this issue. He has if anything moved to the right of Bush here. Many of us are not going to vote for him but instead for a great Arab American, Ralph Nader. 

Michael P. Hardesty 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

As a realtor in Berkeley, and as immediate past president of the Berkeley Association of Realtors, and as a long time resident of Berkeley, I was appalled to find out that your newspaper has deemed an anti-Semitic cartoon to be worthy of dissemination by your paper. Shame on you and on your paper. To infer by your political cartoon that the United States of America is run by the State of Israel is not only laughable, but it is the same kind of propaganda of hatred that has been around for millennia. Hasn’t the world gotten beyond its blind hatred of “the Jew”? When will this end? Certainly not with the continued publication of smut such as yours. 

As a realtor with 31 years of working in the Berkeley community I can assure you that your paper will not be receiving any of my advertising business. I do know that a representative of your paper has been calling to solicit real estate ads. I will actively urging my colleagues in my office and in the city to refrain from sending you their advertising dollars. I cannot make you stop publishing anti-Semitic cartoons, but I can speak loud and clear with my dollars.  

Joan Brunswick 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

Your weekend cartoon by J ustin DeFreitas was completely one-sided and does not reflect the efforts of Israel to agree to a fair two-state proposal which was offered by President Clinton and Barak at Camp David. 

This was rejected by Arafat who instead started the Intifada and terrorism against Israel. 

The basic problem is that Arafat and many Palestinians are in agreement with the goals of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which is for the destruction of Israel. And a subsequent one-state solution. 

Irving Berger