Tag Archives: Haaretz

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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Open Letter to Amos Shocken:Publisher of Haaretz

haaretz301014

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Mr. Shocken,

It was my hope that this letter would not be necessary.  As a Jew and as a Zionist, I wanted to hide my head in the sand when I originally saw this cartoon published by your paper. My plan was to ignore it and hope it would go away before it attracted too much attention.  Unfortunately that ended up not being possible.   Although one could say that since I was far removed from this cartoon I should not feel such a tremendous level of embarrassment, I am someone who believes and hopes for the unity of the Jewish people, so when an Israeli publication does something, be it good or bad, I feel at least somewhat connected.

Although I know many people who feel Haaretz is a publication too far to the left in the political arena, and some even feel too sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, I’ve never felt compelled to address anything I’ve seen from the paper until now.  To me, whether I agree with it or not, the ability to have a newspaper that has a more moderate viewpoint is merely an expression of the freedom and democracy that makes the modern State of Israel a shining light in the darkness that is the Middle East.  However, despite the fact that freedom and democracy allows for irresponsible and insensitive behavior, that doesn’t make it good.

I don’t feel I need to rehash the events and consequences of the attacks that took place on 9/11.  I live in New York and as a New Yorker experienced one very bad day.  People who live in Israel may not have experienced days as tragic and intense as 9/11, but cumulatively one could make the case that they have experienced conditions just as bad if not worse.

I could have handled an editorial criticizing Netanyahu.  I would have even said nothing to an article giving the entire blame for the strained relations with the United States on Netanyahu.  What I can not accept and be OK with is this irresponsible, unfair and detrimental depiction of what Netanyahu is guilty of doing.  Although I personally support the Prime Minister 100%, I accept that there are those who are not fond of his actions and methods. Again I say that I can appreciate the right of a democracy to criticize and if enough people wish, replace their leaders.  What I can not appreciate is depicting an Israeli Prime Minister as being of the same makeup as terrorists that hijacked planes and murdered 3,000 innocent souls.  What I can not appreciate is the insensitivity this cartoon shows for the relatives of those who were murdered on 9/11, and what I can not appreciate is irresponsible nature of this cartoon. It adds fuel to a fire already being fueled regularly by supporters of terrorists. Terrorists that would murder the creator of this cartoon as quickly as they would murder me.

Like anything in life, whether you agree or disagree with someone, there is a way of doing things with class.  This was not only done with no class, it was done with a brazen lack of respect for the very people Haaretz claims to care so much about.  The innocent.

I’m not sure I even know what I want to see happen.  It is already out there and unfortunately in some ways it is already too late to take anything back, but I hope that the editorial staff at Haaretz will reexamine what it does in the future and realize that it has a responsibility to do more than make a point.  It has an obligation to show understanding and compassion.

I leave you with one question.  Since I believe this cartoon was put there to bring attention to the publication at all costs, when you assess the consequences of your actions the question I have for you is this.  Was it worth it?  I hope you answer it honestly.

Sincerely,

David Groen

 

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