Steve Greenberg is a political cartoonist. This week, he chose to lampoon the Tea Party with an editorial entitled "Tea-Hadist," and we, The Jewish Journal, chose to print it.
The purpose of political cartoons is to comment on both deep and topical political and social issues via satire. They almost always offend someone. Political correctness has about as much place in an editorial cartoons as a bacon-cheeseburger has in a kosher market.
This is not simply my opinion, but that of our publisher, Rob Eshman, as well:
"Steve is a satirist. His point was that in pursuing their ideology, the Tea Party conservatives in the House are actually destroying gov't for others, as well as the GOP and ultimately their own movement. It's a point many Republicans have made: John McCain, Peter King and many others. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2013/10/07/republicans-fighting-back-against-the-tea-party/).
"Greenberg makes his point via a medium that doesn't reward subtlety.
"We love Greenberg because over the years his sharpest, angriest cartoons go after extremists of all stripes, those who would sacrifice others for their own beliefs. You'll find he reserves a special venom for radical Islamists.
"At the same time, we are especially sensitive to the impression many have that the cartoon somehow trivializes the horrific, real suffering wrought by Islamic terrorists. That is clearly not Greenberg's intention-- and I offer my apology to anyone who sees the cartoon exclusively in that light. Our lead op-ed in the newspaper that same week was on Daniel Lewin, who lost his life in the 9/11 attacks. (http://www.jewishjournal.com/opinion/article/the_legacy_of_9_11_hero_danny_lewin).
"The Jewish Journal, meanwhile, is committed to presenting a multiplicity of thoughtful voices on issues that matter to all Americans. We are guided not by what are perceived as narrow 'Jewish' interests, but by the larger Jewish value of vigorous debate leading to mutual understanding. Satire is part of that debate.
Meanwhile, Ben Shapiro, a "nice Jewish boy" at the right-wing Breitbart site, seethed with righteous rage:
On Friday, October 11, the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, which is handed out free to virtually every synagogue in the city of Los Angeles and which has a circulation of 50,000 copies and 150,000 weekly readers, ran a cartoon by Steve Greenberg, who does editorial cartoons for the paper each week. Greenberg’s cartoon, labeled “Greenberg’s View,” depicted a suicide bomber with a Republican button and a Tea Party tri-corner hat, a suicide vest around his waist, a detonator in his hand. “Of course I don’t feel any regrets about the cost everyone will pay for my beliefs! After all, there are 72 virginsawaiting me!” The drawing was titled, “THE TEA-HADIST.”
The Journal has both readers and advertisers acutely attuned to the needs of victims of Islamist terror. For the Journal to run such a cartoon comparing Tea Partiers, who simply want less government spending, to Islamist terrorists who murder babies in pizza parlors, is despicable.
You know what is despicable, Ben? A small cadre of right-wing extremists in Congress who are threatening to put this nation into default because they do not like the results of the 2012 election. Do you know what can happen in a default? The U.S. Treasury will not be able to pay debts that it already owes: this includes Social Security and Medicare and veterans' benefits. You know, those veterans you care so much about, because they can't visit their war memorials?
The U.S. defaulting on its debt will have global repercussions. The national debt will grow even larger as interest rates skyrocket. Families will lose their investments and their life savings. International corporations, which employ millions, will crumble as consumer confidence fails. Unemployment will mushroom in addition to the 800,000 "non essential" federal employees whose unpaid leave you and your cohorts cheered. You think the 2008 financial meltdown was bad? Stick around and see what happens in a default.
And you are angry because JJ compared this to a suicide bomber who blew up a pizza parlor?
Have another one.