Today I saw this cartoon by Chappatte tweeted by the director of Human Rights Watch in Europe.
— Lotte Leicht (@LotteLeicht1) July 6, 2014
Yes, it’s a great visual, a moving and effective cartoon. It suggests that the trouble is that the Jews and Palestinians are stubbornly hostile to one another, and underlying the conflict is a problem like the story of King Solomon and the two women arguing over who’s the mother.
Chappatte’s point is, there’s a cycle of violence. And there’s an element of truth to it; obviously there’s a cycle of violence in Israel and Palestine.
But the cartoon is actually inaccurate. Cycle of violence is a much lesser part of the story. As Jewish Voice for Peace said in a statement on this very issue, the story is occupation and resistance, one people occupying and oppressing another, not a cycle of violence. (Chappatte himself described the problem in this great cartoon.)
Still, I’m pleased by the cartoon. Cycle of violence is now becoming the mainstream narrative, and it’s a step forward from the old story: the Arabs want to push the Jews into the sea or kill them all.
Now the narrative is, an eye for an eye, a limb for a limb. A small truth, but incomplete.