CSotD: The Void Gazas Back

Dr. MacLeod has consistently been a harsh opponent of US arming of Israel, and his response to the cutback of arms is no more or less critical than he has been in the past.

His imagined Biden quotes are not so far off the beam as to be unfair, though you may quarrel with his prediction that this single policy will cost Biden the election in November. That question seems likely to be critical as the campaign moves forward.

There is a line between analysis and cynicism, and while political cartoonists are, by definition, expected to express opinions, the best of them back their opinions with facts. MacLeod’s purported Biden quotes exaggerate, but their distortion is within the bounds of fair commentary, filtered through a critical but not necessarily cynical point of view.

By contrast, Dana Summers (Tribune) makes the cynical assumption that Biden’s only purpose in cutting arms shipments was to curry favor with American voters, and he backs it with the false claim that Biden has totally disarmed the Israelis.

Constant Readers may recall this anecdote, told here before, of the Liberator’s wisecrack in an Irish courtroom:

Mister, we could use a man like Dan O’Connell again.

Adam Zyglis also makes the charge that Biden finally took action because of the impact on his standing with American voters, which is still a cynical take but, because he remains otherwise within the bounds of known facts, is a reasonable opinion.

That is, while a pro-Netanyahu reader might well object to the blood on the tank tracks and the way Zyglis has singled out dead children as victims of the attacks, those are indisputable facts. You may dismiss the dead civilians as “collateral damage” in a necessary battle, but they are most certainly dead and it’s hard to imagine they could all have been hardened Hamas fighters.

Granted, a friend of mine was shot on a Saigon street by a very young boy during the war there. But not by 14,500 little boys and girls.

It is cynical to attribute the arms slow-down entirely to electoral politics, but sometimes cynicism is an appropriate filter.

Jeff Danziger (Counterpoint) makes the factual observation that only a specific class of armaments has been cut off, and that Netanyahu has responded not by being chastened but by promising to continue the attacks with other weapons.

Dave Brown adds to that observation by pointing out that Israel still has plenty of American-made weapons to deploy, and questioning how much of an impact Biden’s partial shut-down will really have on things, beyond whatever public relations benefit he may hope to claim.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Ben Jennings

Cathy Wilcox

In the brief period between Biden’s public warnings and his partial shutdown of shipments, Jennings questioned whether his attempted intervention was too little, too late, citing the blood already on American hands, while Wilcox attributed the change in tone to the falling approval for Biden’s policy vis-a-vis Israel.

Thus Jennings joins Danziger and Brown in dismissing the overall impact of withholding one particular form of weapons, while Wilcox is somewhat less cynical, or at least less apocalyptic, than MacLeod, Summers and Zyglis, not specifically attributing the warnings to the feared outcome in November, but certainly to overall public approval.

Those may seem waffer-theen distinctions, but they are distinctions nonetheless. Sometimes you use the chain saw, sometimes you prefer a scalpel.

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

Chip Bok — Creators

Amorim — Cartoon Movement

Matt Davies

Danziger, Brown and Jennings are hardly the only cartoonists who doubt the efficacy of Biden’s move, with Bok charging Netanyahu with totally ignoring a futile gesture, Amorim dismissing it as a half-hearted attempt to stake a position and Davies mocking it by comparing it to the flower power moment at the Pentagon in 1967, which gained headlines but didn’t end the war.

Davies is right that the flower power moment, captured by photographer Bernie Boston, did not bring the Vietnam War to a screeching halt. (Nor did the Fugs succeed that day in levitating the Pentagon.)

However, it was an image that went around the nation and help fuel resistance to the war, and that growing resistance led, four months later, to LBJ’s proclamation of a bombing halt and his astonishing decision not to seek re-election.

Little drops of water, little grains of sand.

And just as stuffing flowers into rifle barrels was hardly the only tactic of the Mobilization then, putting a partial halt on armaments is not likely Biden’s only tactic now, and it’s cynical to the point of naivete to assume so.

Though it’s not overly cynical to suggest that an American president has more standing to effect change than does a random college student.

Peter Brookes suggests that Biden’s gesture does, indeed, have real impact on Netanyahu, signaling to him that he cannot count on Israel being treated as the 51st state.

Note that, however you frame Biden’s move, whether as a shift in heart or a decision to stop trying to act behind the scenes, and whether you see it as an attempt to impose humanitarian limits on Netanyahu’s policy or an attempt to staunch his own domestic political standing, Netanyahu is not motivated by an attempt to please his own voters.

Netanyahu’s Gaza policy appears as unpopular among Israelis as it has been among Americans: Both publics favor a ceasefire, despite hardliners like Gary Varvel (Creators) insisting that the bombings must continue, as he does with this unquestionably cynical, one might even say contemptible, take on the latest development.

As Clay Jones observes, Netanyahu’s approach to his political standing has been to shut down Al Jazeera, though the Israeli press reflects the same divided outlook as do the Israeli people.

But does anyone pay attention to news anymore?

Do they know that a report to the Biden administration suggests that Israel has violated international law in its attacks on Gaza, though without enough specifics to justify an entire shutdown of support?

Have they seen CNN’s report on horrific torture of suspected Hamas members in a facility that makes Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo look like Disneyland?

And then, is it cynical, or simply analytical, to also wonder if those who justifiably oppose Biden’s slow-walking Gaza policy have seen the other policies his rival has in mind if elected?

9 thoughts on “CSotD: The Void Gazas Back

  1. One more time with feeling, ‘war, good god, y’all, what is it good for? Absolutely Nothin” Edwin Hawkins nailed it back then.
    At the risk of being put on a blacklist of some sort (by gov’t or the rtwingnuts) I’ve found that Al Jazeera usually provides much more information that the ‘mass media’ here in this country.
    Biden has proven he is more physically fit than tRUMP, the magat cult leader by nimbly trying to tap dance from one extreme to another. But, as Dr. MacLeod points out, that only aggravates all the extremists. And, there are so many ignorant, violent extremists I can’t name them all. They prevent decency and common sense from prevailing. See, there you go, Mike, throwing Phil Ochs’ decency at us again /S

  2. This is interesting. I wonder which rtwingnut war mongers (or corporate owned university administrators) would even consider reading it:
    Analysis Finds Nearly 100% of Campus Gaza Protests Have Been Peaceful
    “If someone is speaking more about ‘violent encampments’ than they are about violent genocide of the Palestinians, they have a problem reflective of deep and dangerous biases,” said one supporter.
    by Julia Conley May 10, 2024

  3. As an American Jew and a Zionist, I will say this.
    1) Varvel and Summers are hypocrites. I remember when W’s Secretary of State, Colin Powell, called the use of the phosphorus bombs the US had sold Israel in the second Lebanon war criminal, and Ronald Reagan withheld weapons shipments from Israel during the first Lebanon war.
    2. Bibi and Biden have little common ground, and anything Bibi can do to damage Biden, he will; Bibi and Trump are struck from the same mold.
    3. On that note, this is all working out quite well for the Iran/Russia nexus that enabled the October 7th attacks – the Gaza war stays above the gold while Russia’s increasingly brutal incursions into Ukraine are tucked well below the fold, after stories about how a horse was rescued from a flood and such.
    4. And we can thank 6 months of Republican stonewalling in the house for for Russia’s recent successes.

  4. My God, reading that CNN report. You would like to think that what the Jewish people went through in the 20th century would instill in them a form of mercy while in the acts of war. I understand “an eye of an eye,” even though I do not agree with it, yet, does that also mean, “an eye for an eye, and while you are taking that eye kick them in the balls, burn them, torture them, and humiliate them.” It’s especially chilling reading about the “medical treatment” considering The Doctor’s Trial. Since this site likes to end by quoting folk music, I will end with the one that goes, “When will they ever learn.” (Though I would prefer the original line that seems more appropriate to all of us: “When will we ever learn.”)

    1. Note that “an eye for an eye” was intended as a limitation: That you could only extract in punishment what had been taken, and no more. Well, we all know how the road to Hell is paved.

  5. Clay’s was the best satire I’ve read since George Carlin passed. I snorted coffee laughing. Thank you, sir.

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