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SLC Jewish community take issue with Pat Bagley cartoon

Bagley cartoon on Gaza strip

The war in the Gaza strip is proving to be a sensitive issue here at home. The local Jewish community, led by Salt Lake City rabbi Ilana Schwartzman has taken issue with parallels between Israel and Hamas and local cultural issues in Utah.

From the Salt Lake Tribune commentary:

What we were told is that editorial cartoons do not need to be factually accurate, that the intent of the cartoonist was more important than the community?s response, and that if more people had expressed concern, the editors might have paid more attention to our alarm.

Why are these cartoons so problematic?

They perpetuate factual misunderstandings of the conflict in the Middle East.

I don’t think Pat’s cartoon is an example of his best work, but certainly the Middle East conflict is such a sensitive issue, it’s hard to take any kind of stand without offending someone.

Community Comments

#1 Paul Fell
July/28/2014
@ 12:08 pm

Same comment as on the Telnaes posting.

#2 Andrew David Cox
July/29/2014
@ 12:45 am

While the goal isn’t to offend people, I hardly think cartoonists should go out of their way to not offend people. It’s a decent cartoon, but I do subscribe to the philosophy that less text is more – but to each his own.

#3 Andrew David Cox
July/29/2014
@ 12:48 am

…not to mention, the less text you use, the less likely you are to state something that is factually incorrect. Text cannot be interpreted the same way visual images can.

#4 Terry LaBan
July/29/2014
@ 7:51 am

Whether or not it’s a good cartoon (and it’s not), it factually misrepresents the causes of the conflict. Israel did not one day simply decide to round up a million or so of its Palestinian citizens, herd them into Gaza and then blockade them.That’s an outrageous accusation and anyone who cares about objective truth should be bothered by it.

#5 Kevin Kallaugher
July/29/2014
@ 6:12 pm

Considering the minefield that surronds this issue, I thought it was an effective cartoon….takes an extremely complex international story, simplifies it ( which inevitably creates problems) but makes it accessible to a local audience in terms they mught understand. A lively discussion should follow. And is.

#6 Andrew David Cox
July/29/2014
@ 7:18 pm

@Terry, we can certainly disagree about whether it is good or not, but since when have editorial cartoons been about objectivity ? It is one thing to spread deliberate misinformation, but it is another thing to make use of a metaphor.

PS – I do enjoy this conversation with other artists of the trade.

#7 Clay Jones
July/30/2014
@ 12:09 pm

It’s a good cartoon if you agree with it and a bad cartoon if you don’t?

If it made you think it’s a good cartoon.

#8 Terry LaBan
July/31/2014
@ 9:44 am

Obviously, editorial cartoons aren’t supposed to be objective. But this cartoon goes farther than mere opinion. Bagley very clearly accuses Israel of rounding up Palestinians, herding them into a tiny (can I say concentration camp-like?)area and then abusing them, for no apparent reason. Maybe he just made this up or read on the Internet, I don’t know. But it’s untrue and worse, slanderous. If the quality of a cartoon is merely whether or not it makes you “think”, I guess you could draw a “good” cartoon saying the Bush administration blew up the World Trade Center or that Hafez Al-Assad has never killed anyone. That doesn’t mean it’s responsible or right.

#9 Andrew David Cox
July/31/2014
@ 1:56 pm

@Clay Jones – exactly.

@Terry Laban – I’m not quite sure that would be the same thing as drawing a cartoon that merely perpetuating a conspiracy theory, but then again, that is what I think you are saying Bagley’s cartoon is doing.

As Doug Marlette put it, “Cartoons are not just about facts, they are about meaning- their distortion gets at the essence, the truth that is greater than the sum of the facts. Cartoons distort and reflect reality like fun-house mirrors, and if we are not too insistent upon literal representation and doctrinal purity, we can sometimes catch in them a glimpse of some hidden truth about ourselves.”

I think KAL’s comment was spot on about this cartoon.

#10 Terry LaBan
August/2/2014
@ 1:50 pm

@Andrew David Cox
I’m not saying Bagley’s cartoon is perpetuating a “conspiracy theory”. I’m saying it’s perpetuating a lie, or actually, several of them. That’s different.

#11 Barry Hunau
August/4/2014
@ 10:14 am

The only reason there is a shortage of building materials in Gaza is that Hamas used them all to build tunnels to attack Israel instead of schools and hospitals.

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