It is disturbing that as 2011’s Festival of Freedom began, a Passover cartoon in the Forward by Eli Valley slammed StandWithUs and Israel (“The Four Sons,” April 22).
Drawing on the four sons of the Haggadah, the cartoon implied that, like the son who doesn’t know enough to ask, StandWithUs supports Israel blindly, never raising questions that would expose its flaws. But the cartoonist and others who mock Israel’s supporters resemble the simple son by promoting a superficial, one-sided perspective on the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Only a simple son would ignore the terrorism and wars that Israel has faced since the 1920s and the repeated rejection of Israel’s peace overtures. Only an alienated son could mock those who recognize and value the Jews’ 3,000-year connection to the land, and the idealism of those who, against insurmountable odds, restored the land and a Jewish state. And only a biased son would deliberately minimize how much Israel has tried to help fulfill Palestinian national aspirations while avoiding national suicide.
It is the cartoonist who resembles the son who doesn’t know what to ask. Many of Israel’s harshest Jewish critics think they have cornered the market on open-mindedness and mock others, but they often are the most closed-minded about relevant facts. This cartoon in fact reveals how the venerable Jewish tradition of self-criticism can spiral down into self-destructiveness.
Los Angeles, Calif.