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Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 03/27/2009

Pat Oliphant Draws Fire Yet Again

By Michael Cavna

Oh, there Pat Oliphant goes again.

The fiery Aussie political cartooning legend -- who last made controversial waves when he drew Sarah Palin speaking in tongues (prompting more than 750 angry responses to The Post's ombudsman) -- now takes on Israel's military actions, including in Gaza.

Rob Tornoe, blogging for, reports that the Oliphant cartoon has drawn reaction from the Anti-Defamation League, which calls the cartoon "hideously anti-Semitic" and contends that it uses "Nazi-like imagery and hateful evocation of the Jewish Star of David."

You're welcome to share your thoughts here: Does Oliphant cross the line, or is this all in the name of fair comment and free speech?


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Mike Luckovich, who tells Comic Riffs he chooses not to Twitter himself, mocks those who do in this amusing 'toon.


Richard Thompson's "Cul de Sac" character Dill has started the friendliest of Facebook pages. We highly recommend ... Uber-talented husband-and-wife cartoonists Liza Donnelly and Michael Maslin share a peek at their new book, "Cartoon Marriage" ... And a happy 80th birthday to cartooning great Edward Sorel.

By Michael Cavna  | March 27, 2009; 12:00 PM ET
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Speaking of Oliphant and Thompson, have you seen this?

Posted by: jessecline | March 27, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

The more people that Pat Oliphant pi$$es off, the better job he is doing.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | March 27, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

This Oliphant is offensive...period. Yes, he crossed the line.

Posted by: ZeldaJane | March 27, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

So just which of these is so offensive?
1) a goose-stepping soldier
2) an appropriated Star of David
3) the portrayal of a Gazan other than a rabid terrorist?

Posted by: tws1372 | March 27, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Israel's actions in its recent foray into the Gaza strip is fair game but linking any military actions to Nazi attempts to deliberately exterminate all Jews is simply over the top. It totally invalidates the horror of the atrocities that Hitler and his followers perpetrated and does a disservice to all that perished.

However, Oliphant makes no attempt to call out Israel specifically but instead uses the Star of David which is a symbol of the Jewish identity.

Here's Oliphant in his own words...

"I have also believed that for a cartoon to be truly effective in these circumstances, it must make a point, must express some anger, some outrage, some disgust that may be directed at the practitioners of these religions--not, however, at the religion itself."

If he meant to hammer Israel then he missed his target and he owes Jewish people everywhere an apology.

Posted by: ArlingtonRed | March 27, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

The US and "israel" have absolutely nothing in commom:

1// America is a multi-racial multi-cultural republic with a constitution and borders where as "israel" is by definition a racist, apartheid,militaristic,terrorist ethno-religous occupying entity with no constitution and no borders-the only such entity in the world.

2// American national interests and those of "israel" are mutually exclusive.
"israel" has always been and is now a net strategic liability.

3// Americans are always hard at work and eat from the fruits of their labor whereas the "israelis" live on American charity and hand outs and therefore have no dignity or pride.

4// Half of world jewery reside in America for the clear objective of exploiting it for the benefit of the other half in Palestine which occupies a whole people and their land.

5// jews spy on America to show their gratitude for the billions of American taxpayers dollars!!!!!!That is why the derailed the appointment of Ambassador Charles Freeman.

Posted by: pedjr336 | March 27, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

The job of a political cartoonist or satirist is to make a point.

The point Mr. Oliphant is making here is that Israel is using the highly emotional and highly protected concept of Political Zionism to engage in what is, effectively, genocide of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Now since Hamas is nowhere near as guilt-free as the victims of the Nazis (not just Jews - just as many non-Jews were killed in the camps as they are loath to point out, and the number of USSR soldiers *or* civilians killed outstrips the number of total Jewish Holocaust victim deaths), I am willing to cede that this is overkill.

But the constant "oops, did we bomb that UN school? So sorry...we were defending ourselves" refrain coming from the Israelis is getting less and less believable as time goes on. Which is where Mr. Oliphant's cartoon comes from.

You can be disgusted with the strength of Israel's retaliation against the Palestinians and not be anti-semitic. It just makes you human, really, to see that much human life wasted and to see the senseless generational and cultural hatred it spawns. However, I think it's just easier for Zionists to sling out the anti-semitic label when anyone points this out. I think they hope that people back down, not wanting to be labeled as such.

(Me? I've been called anti-semitic for disagreeing with the semantic game that says my Grandmother's Polish family members that were killed at Auschwitz weren't killed in the Holocaust because they were Roman Catholic. They merely died in the camps - being Jewish, they weren't actually Holocaust victims. I take issue with that distinction, so, apparently, I'm anti-semitic. I just tend to follow Eddie Izzard's lead - I think Hitler was a "mass-murdering f***head", and that pretty much sums it up.)

Personally, I say everybody needs to leave, and give it to some African animists to tend and everyone else can visit their holy sites.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | March 27, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

the cartoon expresses the feeling of many,the jack boot just happens to be one of the clearer ways of getting the point seems any guestioning of the tactics israel uses in their treatment of the palastinians is called anti-semetic.the jew and the arab are half brothers that hate each other,that's's time to stop using the holocaust as an excuse for the bad behavior of the jews against these people,the majority of whom want peace.

Posted by: mark77 | March 27, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Apparently the pro-Israel crowd doesn't like it when the shoe is on the other foot.

Posted by: postman2 | March 28, 2009 1:47 AM | Report abuse

Agree/Disagree, find offensive or just stupid, short of yelling fire in a crowded theater people should be able to say what ever they want, just as we don't have to listen.

Posted by: Clix | March 28, 2009 2:24 AM | Report abuse

I believe Israel is in the hands of ultra-rightists and all would be better off without them in power. The cartoon itself is only marginally successful, however.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 28, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

How can anyone not see this comic and not see it as clinical anti-semitism worthy of Dr.Goebbels? What does Oliphant have to do? Draw hook nosed stereotypes on bags of money to get people to wake up. Any point he was trying to make vis a vis Palestine is obscured by his Nazi inspired cartoon.

Posted by: gavin2 | March 28, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Imagine, if you will, that the word "Gaza" on the peasant woman and child was replaced with the word "German." Once you do that, it is easy to imagine that Oliphant would have been right at home in Hitler's propaganda ministry.

Posted by: dakotadoug83 | March 28, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

While it is the job of political cartoonists to draw attention to current events, this one has indeed crossed a line.

Some of us have seen this sort of caricature before. We saw it as the precursor of the murder of our families, children burned to death before the terrified eyes of their parents. Some of us awaken in terror still. Many who remember, after seeing this caricature, will be afraid of their dreams tonight. This is what this cartoon calls up for us. Is it going to happen again?

And no, you cannot equate a war against Hamas -- in the course of which the army of a democratic state telephones civilians to warn them to leave Hamas strongholds before an attack -- with the deliberate murder of an entire people.

And yes, one third of the dead in Gaza were innocent civilians, and there is no denying the tragedy. However, can any government do nothing after seeing missiles raining down on its cities for 8 years? Could the American government countenance the firing of missiles on its cities without attempting to put a stop to it? When Hamas will stop attacking Israeli civilians, they will have their state handed to them on a silver platter, along with plenty of aid from abroad and from Israel.

Genocide against the Palestinians? 650,000 Arabs left their homes in 1948, along with an equal number of Jews who were chased from Arab countries. There are now 4 million Arabs claiming refugee status. If this is genocide, then we should have been so lucky in 39-45.

Personally, I see this cartoon, and some of the comments, as proof that "the big lie" has been swallowed whole in America. I can only urge American Jews to get out before it is too late. We've seen where this leads. Do not believe that "it can't happen here". We also believed the same thing once.

Posted by: 110743 | March 28, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

There is noting inappropritate about Pat Oliphant's cartoon. The cartoon is an accurate depiction of Israel's brutal attack on Gaza. Israel Lobby wants to choke all criticism of Israel's brutal treatment of Palestinians by using the antisemitic charge. All these years Pat Oliphant was silent on Israel, the parasite Jewish Lobby had no problem with him. As Michael Scheuer recently wrote there is an indentifiable fifth column (Israel Lobby) whose purpose is to extract America's treasure and blood for the benefit of Israel. We need to kick these parasites out.

Posted by: csbd1984 | March 28, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

It's not a funny Oliphant, but an editorial cartoonist's/artist's job is to provoke thinking too. While the jack-booted figure pushing the vicious Star of David was pretty heavy, so is the unnecessary Israeli violence in Gaza. Jews may be offended, but I hope it provokes their thinking in a positive way to help find a path to peace. Good on Oliphant.

Posted by: eaglepeak | March 28, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Oliphant would never make fun of Muslims. He is too big a coward. Jews, Christians(Palin) do not cut off the heads of people who criticize them. The Muslims do. I have no respect for the left wing nuts who bash easy targets but cower and kiss up to the Muslims. The biggest cowards in the world are leftwing/liberal/democrats that tiptoe around Muslims and yet bash Jews and Christians. It is disgusting and typical.

Posted by: saramason | March 28, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Oliphant just gets to the point. Why in the world would jews be outraged over a cartoon like this ?? Dont they know the realities ? Now, as the jews treats palestinians as "untermenschen" this cartoon is just making the right associations. The all too easy and cynical answer to all criticism is "its anti-semitic".

Posted by: bipb | March 29, 2009 1:26 AM | Report abuse

I think this drawing, in contrary to many of the commentors, is less than what happened in Gaza. If you really have seen what happened for childern, women,elderly, and even the animals you will know at then that the drawing is less than the reality

Posted by: MohamedBarakat | March 29, 2009 5:07 AM | Report abuse

This Oliphant cartoon has more than crossed the line into hate speech. However, what worries me more than the fact that Oliphant can draw anti-Semitic lies is that many people commenting here on this forum actually seem to believe these ridiculous lies.

The only attempted genocide in the middle east is from Hamas in trying to wipe out every Jew in Israel. Those who hate Jews seem to get a bit up in arms whenever a Jew defends himself or his home from those who wish to wipe him out. Too bad.

You see, for those of us who actually live in the area and see the reality of what happens here, the ignoramuses that post their hatred of Jews based on paranoid fantasy are really pitiful little creeps who don't deserve a response.

Thankfully, Israel is going to continue to defend itself from murderous monsters who send bombs in to kill innocent men, women and children alike no matter what Mr. Oliphant and his simpering supporters draw or say...

Posted by: comicfan1 | March 29, 2009 6:35 AM | Report abuse

Thank you to Mr. Oliphant for defying the rule that says that anyone who questions the brutal, greedy, racist state of Israel's actions is anti-semite. And like all US citizens, I am 110% resposible, due to the obscene billions of unconditional cash and weapons we provide to cause this pariah state to exist. We bear all the costs, all the resposibility and justifiably, all the consequences.

Posted by: hdradio | March 29, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

110743 writes: "Genocide against the Palestinians? 650,000 Arabs left their homes in 1948, along with an equal number of Jews who were chased from Arab countries."

The Palestinians did not merely leave their homes in 1948. The Zionists ethnically cleansed them out using mass terror. See the recent book, "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine" by Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, drawing on newly-disclosed Israeli sources.

Further, the Arab nations did not expel Jews. They left of their own accord, following their own Zionist impulses. The claim that they were expelled is hasbara (Hebrew for disinformation) meant to neuter Palestinian claims for compensation for their being expelled. See "Hitching a ride on the magic carpet: Any analogy between Palestinian refugees and Jewish immigrants from Arab lands is folly in historical and political terms" by Yehouda Shenha, professor at Tel Aviv University (Haaretz, Aug. 15, 2003) ("The idea of drawing this analogy [to the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by the Zionists] constitutes a mistaken reading of history, imprudent politics, and moral injustice.")

If you want to censor Oliphant, you must also have wanted to censor the Danish cartoons mocking Islam's prophet Mohammed. If you defended their freedom of speech right to publish these cartoons, you must also defend Oliphant.

You can't have it both ways. Even if you support Israel. Sorry, but Israel is not above logical and moral consistency.

Posted by: Garak | March 30, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

This incident just makes me wonder why we need political cartoons at all. The Israel/Palestine situation is enormously complicated, with long historical roots and terrible wrongs committed by both sides. One inflammatory cartoon adds nothing to anyone's understanding of these issues, and advances us no closer to resolution.

Posted by: tomtildrum | March 30, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

As a committed Jew, I am distressed by Anti-Defamation League Abe Foxman's hysterical objection to Pat Oliphant’s cartoon. I understand Mr. Foxman's revulsion at the conflation of Jews and Nazis -- Mr. Foxman is, after all, a refugee from Nazi horror -- but Oliphant's cartoon is anti-Israel, not anti-Semitic. We must understand the difference.

When I lived in Israel 35 years ago, I had a German, non-Jewish friend who told me that, as a German, he was enormously troubled by the Israeli siege mentality and by the degree of Israeli militarism; he was worried about the ultimate viability of a nation that lives through its military.

As an American and a Jew, I am appalled and saddened by the policies of the Israeli government, and I am equally sickened by U.S. policies which provide carte blanche support for Israel. These policies do not serve either country well, and will only result in further devastation and loss of additional Palestinian and Jewish lives.

Posted by: bambi323 | April 1, 2009 3:53 AM | Report abuse

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