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Jumbo shrimp

By Tom Toles

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Table manners

Last Monday's cartoon about the Mideast peace talks generated enough fair criticism that I think it warrants a reply. It culminated in an avalanche of e-mails that arrived Thursday afternoon. The complaint was that I got the facts backward. It was not entirely polite criticism. I have no problem with that, although I prefer sexual vulgarity to be gender-correct.

My intent in the cartoon was to say that neither Mahmoud Abbas nor Binyamin Netanyahu were sitting at a negotiating table with everything on the table. That's what the drawing portrayed, but the wording of the cartoon could be read to imply that it was only Netanyahu who was refusing to do that. Criticism of this ambiguity is fair. And while ambiguity is inescapable in a cartoon, I apologize for it in this instance, because in retrospect, "both of us" would have been clearer than "we." Beyond that, readers insisted that I was wrong to say that Netanyahu was not putting everything on the table. But he has made it explicit that East Jerusalem is ruled out as a Palestinian capital. That was the basis for the cartoon.

On the larger subject, I'm afraid that my thinking is still where the conventional wisdom was a few years ago. That the only way to a two state solution is: 1. A boundary based on the 1967 line, with negotiated land swaps; 2. East Jerusalem as a Palestinian capital; and 3. Palestinians giving up the blanket right of return, with some compensation. You may disagree with that, but, honestly, maddeningly imperfect as that may be, the alternatives look far worse. --Tom Toles

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By Tom Toles  | August 9, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Economy and jobs, GOP  
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Comments

It's amazing, if someone dares to say anything against Israel even if it happens to be the truth the Jewish lobby immediately sends contingents of protesters who unfailingly intimidate the speaker or the writer or the cartoonist until these poor souls are forced to apologize. A few recent examples: The recently deceased Professor Tony Judt, Oliver Stone and now Tom Toles. They all apologized and felt contrite for expressing their opinions.

Posted by: carlfer | August 9, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

So this Administration and Congress willfully ran up back to back annual deficits of over $3 trillion, and those budget shortfalls are the fault of the Bush tax cuts? Or is the point that the American taxpayer should now have to pay for Congress's reckless spending over the past two years? Brilliant logic either way. I can't wait to have to sell my family's second car to pay my taxes next year. Thanks a bunch.

Posted by: pswift00 | August 9, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm not going to defend Democrats, but I will point out that while Republicans were in control of everything they had no problem creating huge (at the time) deficits and creating new unfunded entitlement programs. It's really not a Democrat-Republican issue. It's a spending issue. Democrats are tax and spend, Republicans are don't tax and still spend, if you want to try to put it simple. There's only one thing in common in both of those, it's spend.

Whether you want to blame the people who overwhelmingly want these programs without wanting to pay for them or our leaders who are unwilling to say "to do this, we have to do this to pay for it" is up to you. Personally, I think it's a bit of both.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | August 9, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

So this Administration and Congress willfully ran up back to back annual deficits of over $3 trillion, and those budget shortfalls are the fault of the Bush tax cuts? Or is the point that the American taxpayer should now have to pay for Congress's reckless spending over the past two years? Brilliant logic either way. I can't wait to have to sell my family's second car to pay my taxes next year. Thanks a bunch.

Posted by: pswift00 | August 9, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

The reason Israel never gets a fair shake from Liberals is because of the Liberal mindset. Liberals fear envy. Those who envy the prosperity of the United States and Israel terrify the Left. Israel is a prosperous Nation with a formidable military. When the Jews were unarmed and being exterminated by the Nazis it was okay to defend them. Now that they are a Nation that can defend itself from those that envy them and wish there destruction they are to be criticized and undermined. Until the Left gets over their fear of those who envy prosperous Nations and peoples they will only be useful idiots to the envious and of no support to the prosperous.

Posted by: bobbo2 | August 9, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Continuous growth of an economy based on the exploitation of natural resources is insane and unsustainable. Our economy will never be "healthy" until we realize that. Everything we make comes from some natural resource. There are only so many natural resources available. But if the only way our economy survives and thrives is by creating more markets, and more goods to sell to those markets (consumers), we are doomed.

Sooner or later we must create a different economy; one based on sustainability and reuse. Our investments should be in these practices, in the people that can make them happen, in the technologies and processes that can map out such a future.

This war of words over tax cuts for the rich, etc., is all meaningless when looked at through a long-term and sustainability lens. You want a balanced budget? Start charging taxes for waste and pollution. A carbon tax is the only way to wean us off fossil fuels. Step 2 is to get our military out of the rest of the world. No one even knows exactly how many military bases or military operations we're involved with around the world or how muich money this costs us. But we do know that it's astromical and far and away more than most other nations combined. This should stop. Let's focus on what's going on here, at home. We can help the rest of the world a whole lot more if we start leading in the field of sustainability, learning how to provide basic needs to the world's needy, while minimizing our needs so our individual and national environmental footprints are severely curtailed.

All this "left and right" arguing is meaningless. Blue and Red are both wrong. Green is the key to our survival.

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | August 9, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Well TT, you’ve done it again: gone and confused protocol with over-alls. And here’s how that was done. We didn’t get that there was no table there (Actually I thought that you forgot to add it in there between the two guys.); but what we did get totally was that both the Queen of England and the Pope over there in Rome, Italy – they use “we” when they talk about themselves. (Like in: We are not abdicating, & We were never a Nazi.) As if they’ve got that bi-polar mental stuff going on or something. So anyway, you’re right about the “both of us” thing; it would have clued us in. And here’s what else: that Netanyahu throws all of us off-guard by sounding more like an American than even our own President (Hawaii, my foot). If only he were to speak like, say, Zsa Zsa Gabor or Glenn Beck there wouldn’t be this non-stop confusion about who’s in the right about all of this stuff going in the Gaza Strip Club, and other hot-spot places over there. That Mahmoud guy needs a few months of intensive Berlitz, so that when he comes out he’s sounding more like Willie Nelson than my gastro-enterologist. Then most Americans will start to realize, Hey – they’re both good guys. Now let’s go and bomb them Iranians!

Posted by: dudeupnorth | August 9, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Progressive "ideology", the mind of the democrat, is an infantile set of wishful thoughts which are based on looting the nation to pay for their socialist proclivities and indigence.

Democrats are not tax and spend....they are spend to create dependancies, then tax.....and tax....and tax again.

Their political base is entirely bought with taxes from normal Americans.

November 2010 is National "Dump-the-democrats" month

Posted by: georgedixon1 | August 9, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I don't have a problem with any American of any income bracket being allowed to keep more of the money that they make. I would much rather have the person who earned the money spend it or do what they may with it rather than have our fiscally irresponsible government get ahold of it. What irritates my olfactory sense is those in government who are against the tax cuts but have problems paying taxes themselves.
Why did Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts have to get caught docking his 7 million dollar yacht, built in New Zealand, in Rhode Island? This little scam would save him a one time sales tax charge of $437,500 and $70,000 in annual excise taxes. Bad enough that he couldn't purchase a yacht built here and employ American craftsmen, he had to try to avoid paying taxes to his own State which has a one billion dollar deficit this year. Only after getting caught did he pay up. The Obama Administration has several members some in office some withdrawn who had problem paying taxes also. And of course there is this little thing about Congressman Charles Rangel. Hypocrisy has a smell all of it's own.

Posted by: bobbo2 | August 9, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

The tax cuts made some sense when we had a budget surplus. But we don't have one now. We need to collect more taxes and cut spending.

What is so difficult about that?

-------------------------------------------

Because we need to prioritize growth in the economy. Once 31 million are once again employed, we can move down the list to the next priority.

The difficulty, apparently, is public recognition.

Posted by: primegrop | August 9, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

once again, Toles shows that everyone has an opinion, but not everyone has a learned opinion.

Posted by: primegrop | August 9, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

The smell test is not from the Bush tax cuts... but from the godawful expansion of spending on entitlement programs that has made the deficit jump by leaps and bounds. Spending growth has not brought economic recovery. Its time the Government tighten its belt and adjust policies that will make America more friendly to manufacturing & business growth.

Posted by: alutz08 | August 9, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Why should Israel be the only country that has to split its capital?

For 19 years, the Jordanians occupied east Jerusalem and prevented Jews from entering the old city and the Western Wall.

Since Israel reunited the capital, every faith has been allowed access to all parts of Jerusalem.

Your second point is unworkable and a non-starter.

Posted by: milevin | August 8, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Your alternative being?

As for the cartoon, I saw it as you say you intended it, but it doesn't surprise me people read it differently. Even if you were trying to say what people have claimed, so what? It's an opinion, and it's not as though it's a completely radical view that Israel should be willing to do more than they are. Saying so is also not tantamount to saying the Palestinians have done no wrong.

Has it always been this way and I didn't notice or are people just a whole lot more touchy now about insisting that every side (read: their side) get a say in every instance of discussion on every single issue?

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | August 9, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

The tax cuts made some sense when we had a budget surplus. But we don't have one now. We need to collect more taxes and cut spending.

What is so difficult about that?

Posted by: GaryEMasters | August 9, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

What budget? The democrats have avoided passing a budget during this election year because it so bloated and stinks so bad the voters will faint.

Posted by: jornolibist | August 9, 2010 6:10 AM | Report abuse


Toles, your cartoon held no implications about Netanyahu at all. It was straight forward statement that Abbas is the good guy and Netanyahu is not. Your attempt to hide behind “ambiguity is inescapable in a cartoon” is a lame attempt to assuage some contingent of your following. You are on record as anti-Christian. Your pro-Islamic cartoon, therefore, is not at all surprising.


Posted by: quiensabe | August 9, 2010 4:40 AM | Report abuse

Why should Israel be the only country that has to split its capital?

For 19 years, the Jordanians occupied east Jerusalem and prevented Jews from entering the old city and the Western Wall.

Since Israel reunited the capital, every faith has been allowed access to all parts of Jerusalem.

Your second point is unworkable and a non-starter.

Posted by: milevin | August 8, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

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