Famous Artist counters Anti-Semite Smear

by  Michael Leunig – (Just a Cartoonist With a Moral Duty to Speak)  via henrymakow.com Dec 13, 2012

SEVERAL years ago I was invited to speak at Melbourne’s Jewish Museum on the subject of ”The cartoonist as society’s conscience”.
I gladly accepted but within a week was informed by the museum that the invitation had been withdrawn because of my views on Israel. Although I had been somewhat critical of aggressive Israeli government policies, I had never publicly outlined my broad views on Israel and was puzzled by the cancellation and bemused by the gross irony of being excluded from a discussion about conscience because I had acted with conscience in my work.
Upon reflection I wondered if an internal philosophical disagreement lay behind this peculiar cancellation. Whatever, a door had been closed to me.
I relate this tale as a backdrop to more recent circumstances in which it has been publicly inferred that I am anti-Semitic because of a cartoon I created expressing sad dismay at the plight and suffering of the Palestinians in the recent bombardment of Gaza.
As a cartoonist I am not interested in defending the dominant, the powerful, the well-resourced and the well-armed because such groups are usually not in need of advocacy, moral support or sympathetic understanding; they have already organised sufficient publicity for themselves and prosecute their points of view with great efficiency.
The work of the artist is to express what is repressed or even to speak the unspoken grief of society. And the cartoonist’s task is not so much to be balanced as to give balance, particularly in situations of disproportionate power relationships such as we see in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is a healthy tradition dating back to the court jester and beyond: to be the dissenting protesting voice that speaks when others cannot or will not.
My recent cartoon (“First they came for the Palestinians … ” above) was a lament based on the famous lines attributed to Pastor Martin Niemoller that neatly highlight the way apathetic or frightened silence in the face of injustice is a dereliction of moral duty. It is interesting to note that Niemoller had been an active Nazi supporter but a decade after the war became a pacifist.
Although greatly valued in contemporary Jewish culture, the poem’s message is universal and eternal; it could apply to any oppressed group, including the Palestinians who, even with their relatively feeble rockets, are so obviously oppressed.

SEEING THROUGH ZIONST LIES

Continues…

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