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Palestinians and Mideast Conflict

February 16, 1988

The juxtapositioning of Charles Krauthammer's "Israel Can Do Without Tears of High Season" and Paul Conrad's recidivistic "Abraham and Isaac" cartoon clearly reflects the difference in seeing issues with the complexity reality demands and the simplistic perspective of ignorance and bias.

While properly referring to the beatings of Palestinians as a "horror and a blot on Israel . . . representing the kind of brutality a desperate army resorts to," Krauthammer--without condoning the action--recognizes the context of Israel's frustration: 40 years of attack, terrorism, refusal to recognize the Jewish state's right to exist, and a willingness by Arab leadership to let the Palestinians fester in refugee camps rather than negotiate a solution which responds to the needs and rights of all parties involved.

Conrad, on the other hand, resorting to the worst kind of demagoguery, reduces the issue to Father Abraham (Israel) preparing to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac (a Palestinian boy--who in Conrad's version is, it seems, about to throw a rock at the old man).

Obviously, there are many problems with the analogy, not the least of which is that the biblical story has nothing to do with political protest and threats to Abraham's well-being and safety, but is a story about faith and God's insistence that child sacrifice was prohibited in the Israelite religion. But the worse thing about Conrad's continuing calumnies against Israel (and now Judaism as well?) is his refusal to paint a truly accurate picture of all the issues, which is both irresponsible and dangerous.

Come on, Paul. Certainly Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonists should know where to draw the line.

RABBI MOSHE J. ROTHBLUM

President, Southern

California Board of Rabbis

Los Angeles

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