For the record, editorial cartoons are not obligated to be accurate or fair. It’s better, maybe, when they are, but those virtues are not required. The idea is to take a simple idea and drive it home.
I try to not blow my stack when I disagree with them, as I try not to go nuts over columns I disagree with. Like cartoons, columns are not obligated to be accurate, but they are better when they are. Why? It is easy to toss aside a column that is filled with errors as the ravings of a partisan lunatic.
The object of a cartoon or a column, I believe, is to reveal truth and to persuade people to join with your opinion. One that only convinces those already in the choir falls short.
If I am able to change one person’s mind with a column, it is a success.
So here we look at the work of cartoonist Darrin Bell. Wikipedia tells me he is a recent Pulitzer Prize winner, he is syndicated — which means a lot of people see his work — he lives in L.A., and he is Black and Jewish.
I comment on this cartoon not because of Bell’s ethnicity, race, religion — whatever — but because he starts his narrative in 1967. A deliberate decision.
(I am ignoring his erroneous suggestion that no one cared about Palestinian human rights over the decades. That is false, many have, including many Israelis.)
In 1967, Israel fought the Six Day War in which she vanquished Arab enemies who, led by Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, threatened to destory the “Zionist entity” as they liked to call it. Nasser ordered U.N. peacekeepers out of the Sinai — and they meekly left, in case you wonder why Israel does not trust the U.N. — and began amassing armies on Israel’s border. A brief history is available on History.com.
In what every rational person understands was a defensive war, Israel struck first, defeating Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. With the victory, Israel took control of the Golan Heights, from Syria; Gaza, from Egypt, and the so-called West Bank (actual name, Judea and Samaria), from Jordan.
Bell’s choice of 1967 is as tainted as The New York Times 1619 Project deciding that 1619 was the year of America’s founding, rather than 1776, when we declared our independence from Britain, which introduced slavery to its colony. Unlike cartoons, the 1619 Project was supposed to be fact, but that’s a subject for another day.
If Bell were being completely honest — not a requirement for cartoonists — he should have chosen 1948, the year Israel declared its independence after the U.N. partitioned what was called Palestine into two states — one Jewish, one Arab.
A two state solution. Does that sound familiar?
The Jewish Israelis had their own state, and the Arabs had their own state.
Israel democratically elected a government, and launched plans to build an economy, to make the desert bloom, to open universities and museums, to create a home where Jews could live in safety and security for the first time in two millennia.
Arabs could have done this too, but they did not. Instead, five Arab states attacked the fledgling Jewish democracy, hoping to kill the baby in its cradle.
They chose war over statehood.
The Arabs lost the 1948 war, but Jordan grabbed the so-called West Bank, which it occupied until driven out in 1967 when Israel captured the so-called East Jerusalem. That is the part of the city that contains many of Judaism’s sacred sites.
Here’s a question for Bell, and those who think like him, such as U.S. Rep Rashida Tlaib:
When Jordan controlled the West Bank, from 1948 to 1967, why did it not allow the creation of a Palestinian state? Why was no one even talking about self-determination and human rights then?
I ask the same about Gaza, when controlled by Egypt. No state, no talk about self-determination and human rights.
Why is that?
The inconvenient truth that Israel haters try to ignore is that there was a two-state solution, which was rejected by the Arabs, who chose war instead. As usual.
Various peace plans have been offered to them, which they have rejected, most astonishingly the 2000 Camp David offer. That was brokered by Bill Clinton and gave the Palestinians almost everything they wanted. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat walked away, and Clinton put blame for the failure squarely on his shoulders.
I have no idea if Bell knows the history, or just chose to reject it. Cartoonists are free to be unfair, and he was.