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Press Release – 24 June 2008

State Zionist Council of Victoria outraged at anti-Israel cartoon in The Age

The State Zionist Council of Victoria has expressed its outrage at an extreme anti-Israel cartoon by Bruce Petty, featured in The Age on Monday June 23.

The cartoon, to which a quarter of an Opinion page was devoted, is a classic example of all the grossly distorted myths of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, at a time when there is a sliver of hope as the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel continues. SZCV Acting President Sam Salcman has penned a letter to The Age expressing his condemnation of the cartoon.

In the cartoon, the Palestinian side is depicted as a 2-party democracy while the “Jew” is in Israel as a matter of religious entitlement. The Palestinian has little more than a few explosives on hand as a defence to Israel’s massive arsenal, including nuclear capability.

As Sam Salcman points out “In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Petty’s depiction ignores the fact that modern Israel’s 60 years of statehood is based entirely on the principles of democracy and equality. The Palestinians proved they are hardly models for democracy after Hamas took control over Gaza from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in a bloody coup.”

“To include the word “occupation” in the cartoon is an absurd offence, disregarding the dismantling of entire communities when Israel withdrew from every inch of the Gaza Strip in 2005.”

Salcman continued “Tomorrow, June 25, marks 2 long and arduous years since Hamas kidnapped 19 year old Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, inflicting a campaign of psychological terror on his family by rejecting all attempts at contact with him and Red Cross involvement to check his heath and well-being. Until today, Hamas continues to reject Gilad’s rights under both international law and conventions relating to prisoners of war.”

“In relation to the representation of weaponry, Petty has totally turned the situation on its head” contends Salcman. “As the last 7 years have proven in southern Israeli communities, it is the Palestinians who have had their crude, yet deadly Kassam rockets pointed squarely at Israeli civilians and have indiscriminately fired them on an hourly basis, causing death and widespread destruction to homes, schools, daycare centres and shopping centres”.

“Further of great concern was Petty’s representation of the kippa-wearing Jew, reminiscent of classic anti-Semitic stereo-typing. This is an erroneous way to represent Israel,” says Salcman, “the majority of Israelis are simply tied to Israel by the very fact that it’s their home and most live very secular lives there.”

Salcman concluded “The Age and Petty have got it all wrong –the cartoon is a myriad of inaccuracies and it is very ill-timed. The ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is today in its 7th day. Even though the situation is fragile, this is the quietest time southern Israel has experienced for the past 7 years, and as a result so is Gaza, and this cartoon does nothing to support that. “

For more information contact:
SZCV Executive Director, Ginette Searle 9272 5544
SZCV Director of Public Affairs, Elly Shalev 9272 5519
The State Zionist Council of Victoria leads and encourages Jewish and Zionist activity and expression within Victoria, to represent the Jewish community, to promote and communicate Israel’s interests within the broader Victorian community and to promote Victoria’s relationship with Israel.
For more information, please visit the State Zionist Council of Victoria website