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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

June 03, 2003

Chicago Tribune Protest Rally

Alyssa A Lappen posted two devastating letters to the editor of the Chicago Tribune. Here, Stuart Kramer, a fan, write to tell us of a rally.

As you many know, on May 30, 2003, the Chicago Tribune ran a cartoon that was patently offensive, to put it mildly. The cartoon played upon the Jew-hating stereotype of Jews as hook nosed moneygrubbers.

Unfortunately, the cartoon was not an anomaly for the Tribune. The Chicago Tribune has maintained a consistent anti-Israel bias, colored by not-so-latent anti-Semitism, for years in its headlines, reporting, commentary, and editorial cartoons.

Please join us and other Jewish groups...Wednesday, June 4th at 12:00pm in front of Tribune Tower, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL. and let the Trib know that we will not be quiet!

Below is a letter written by rally organizer, Rabbi Michael Siegel from Chicago's Anshe Emet Synagogue.
I have called for a rally in front of the Tribune Tower to protest the manner in which the paper has been has been portraying Israel in recent editorial cartoons. The most recent was in last Friday's paper which showed a bridge with Ariel Sharon on one side and Yasser Arafat on the other. Before Sharon are dollar bills being spread by President Bush while on his knees. The caption communicates the idea that because of the money Ariel Sharon is having second thoughts regarding the acceptability of the Road Map for peace.

The cartoon plays on the basest of anti-Semitic canards. After hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries the message is clear -- the only thing that would move a Jew toward peace is money. If the peace plan was indeed acceptable one would think that pain and suffering of innocent Israelis would move Sharon and his Government towards peace. With the large Star of David on his coat the message of the cartoon is unmistakable: Jews value money over the blood of their people.

The cartoonist places Arafat on the other side of the bridge even though the Palestinian leader is Mohammed Abbas. The fact that the cartoon shows Arafat waiting for Sharon to take the steps toward peace is nothing short of peverse. Here is the man whose response to the Oslo Accord was terrorism. Here is a man who denied his people Statehood, who gave them economic misery by authorizes attacks on Israel, who continues to deny the legitimacy of the State of Israel being show a willing peacemaker. The true irony of the cartoon was that it is Arafat who is recognized as a thief by his own people. A man who has literally stolen untold millions of dollars intended to help relieve the misery of his people! Yet, it is Sharon who is shown to be the money grubber! Of course, this is not a new idea. One need look no further to the portrayal of Jews in much of the Arab press, or in Nazi Germany for that matter

The fact that this cartoon was in the Chicago Tribune should not surprise us. The paper has consistently been accused of bias against Israel. The paper's choice of photographs features the Israeli soldier as an aggressor, and the Palestinians as weak and unarmed. The photographs are rarely accompanied by an explanation of the context of the confrontation. People like Don Wycliff sit on the editorial board of the Tribune, whose opinion pieces often portray Israel in the harshest of terms. The cartoon of the bridge is yet another outrageous cartoon regarding Israel. What makes this cartoon noteworthy, aside from its overt anti-Semitism, is that it is the work of the Tribune's very own editorial cartoonist: Locher.

Friends, these are difficult times for Israel and we in the American Jewish community must be willing to stand up and fight for our brothers and sisters. This is why I have called for a rally in front of the Tribune Tower on Wednesday, June, 4th at noon. My hope is that we can make a statement to the paper that enough is enough. But more, my hope is that we will be able to contact the advertisers in the Tribune to let them know that we are concerned about their patronage of a newspaper that spreads anti-Semitic images. If they are comfortable with the paper's policy in this regard than that is clearly their right, and we will have to make our own decisions if we will bring our business to them. If not, than the companies will need to make their feelings known to the powers that be in the Tribune Tower!

I hope to see you on the 4th. Thank you, Rabbi Michael Siegel