Response from Amos Schocken of Haaretz regarding the Cartoon

haaretz301014After seeing this cartoon in the Israeli news publication Haaretz, I sent a letter to the publisher Amos Schocken.  The following are his responses to me as well as my subsequent replies.  The initial letter to him can be found by clicking here. OPEN LETTER TO AMOS SCHOCKEN

Dear Mr. Groen,
What Amos Biderman is saying in this cartoon is very simple: Netanyahu is piloting the plane of Israel in a way dangerous for Israel and for the United States, and if he continues, he will cause Israel an irreparable damage. 
This is a clear message. I am not sure I can see how this shows disrespect to the innocent (I assume you refer to the 9/11 victims). 
Was it worth it? Worth in what sense? In an ideal world you would expect people how followed, with admiration, for the 30 years he is with us, Amos Biderman’s world class cartoons, to be receptive even if there is one they don’t like.
Well, I understand the world is not ideal. I still think we should let Biderman do his excellent work. 
Kind regards,
Amos Schocken
Dear Mr. Shocken,
First of all I thank you for the respect you show for my concerns by responding to my letter.  Although I disagree with your opinion regarding Netanyahu, my issue was never with your paper making that argument.  It is clear in your response that we share a crucial priority.  We both want what is best for Israel.  
Here is where I have an issue. We live in a world where it is more and more acceptable to offend the Jewish people far more than it is acceptable to offend others.  This cartoon is offensive to a significant percentage of Jewish people and painful that it was created by another Jew. The implication that there is a moral equivalency between Netanyahu’s actions and al-Qaeda’s actions is the message being sent in this cartoon and that is where the biggest problem lies. If it were merely a debate as to politics or even attitude of Netanyahu many people including myself would not have seen a major problem with this. 

Yes I am referring to the victims of the 9/11 attacks because to stir up these feelings and emotions by showing an Israeli Prime Minister flying a plane into an American building mocks the events of September 11th and diminishes the evil image of those who committed them.   Surely you do not believe Netanyahu, as bad as you may feel he is, can be compared to a bin-Laden or the terrorists who flew the planes. 

Amos Biderman may indeed have 30 years of excellent work and I accept that should impact the reaction for what I see as poor work in this case, but I hold firm to one basic premise.  There is a right way to do something and a wrong way.  To a very large number of people this was the wrong way. 
With your permission I would like to share your responses(s) with the same audience that saw my Open Letter to you, but since you showed me the respect of a response, I certainly feel I owe you the respect of getting your permission before letting others see it.
All the best,
David Groen


Dear Mr. Groen,
“The implication that there is a moral equivalency between Netanyahu and Al-Qaeda” is totally your own, and is absolutely not a necessary conclusion of the cartoon. I also disagree that the cartoon “mocks the events of 9/11 or diminishes the evil image of those who committed them”. 
I think I understand what you say about being Jewish in the world today. I think I understand the importance of Israel for Jews around the world, but I think, also, maybe Biderman should have added another tower to his cartoon, that of the wellbeing of Jews in the diaspora. I think Netanyahu’s careless and dangerous policies, endanger Jews not only on Israel, but also around the world. 
And yes, you are free to share my e-mails with your readers (with one correction: the spelling is Schocken, not Shocken – I don’t want to shock anyone).
Kind regards,
Amos Schocken 

Dear Mr. Schocken,

We clearly will agree to disagree on this issue and unlike the sentiment held by many of my readers, beyond the acceptable business practice of wanting to sell papers, I believe your intentions are to help Israel, not hurt it.  I learned a long time ago that when making a new acquaintance with an Israeli citizen you never know the personal efforts or sacrifices they have made in defense of Israel and the Jewish people.  Therefore one needs to be very careful before making any personal attacks or accusations.  I also believe in theory that a Jewish ideological adversary would be prepared to die for me as I would for him or her. 
The one thing that did strike me about your last response and therefore leads me to another question was when you said “but I think, also, maybe Biderman should have added another tower to his cartoon, that of the wellbeing of Jews in the diaspora.”  Were you mocking my comparison to the 9/11 attacks or are you just standing firm on your belief that the cartoon does not draw that comparison and could have made the point even stronger by adding a tower?

For the record Mr. Schocken, after this cartoon I think it is safe to say it will be hard for Haaretz to shock anyone ever again.  I guess in media that might be referred to as a challenge.

All the best,
David Groen
Dear Mr. Groen,
But always remember that before being a Jew, one is a human being, a Mentsch.
I mentioned the “second tower” because of your saying that Jews are offended around the world, more easily than others. I understood this comment as referring to antisemitism and attacks on Jews. We know there is latent antisemitism, but Israeli policies and actions cause criticism in the world, and awakens antisemitism. I said that Bibi does not consider this, when he espouses Apartheid policies towards the Palestinians, and when he devastates Gaza. He causes damage to world Jews within their societies. 
And we always aspire for new records.
Kind regards,
Amos Schocken 
And there you have it.   This is my interaction with Amos Schocken, publisher of Haaretz.  My feeling is that to continue the debate is pointless. Or is it? What do you think?




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One response to “Response from Amos Schocken of Haaretz regarding the Cartoon

  • Anon guy

    The guy (Schocken) is either a complete moron or a sociopath. He clearly intended to show a 9/11 style attack piloted by Bibi and zionists on NYC, and schocken is trying to engender support for and to provoke a “War on Israel” (instead of a war on terror) by the obama administration in response to the “offense” committed by the zionists. One which minimizes what al qaeda did on 9/11. His misleading replies to you, which serve mostly to propagate the pillars of the haaretz POV (Oh, you diaspora Jews you should be so afraid, what will the gentiles do to you when Israel stands up to terror?! Support us because we have your interests at heart!), are an insult to your intelligence, and it’s hard to understand how you take them so seriously.

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