UPDATE (13/9/2011): We have identified the building that Walrus cartoonists based their illustration’s on which showed observant Jews placing a “Free Palestine” banner on a supposed synagogue to symbolize their rejection of Prime Minister Harper’s supposed clandestine agenda. In fact, the building is the Ottawa French Seventh-Day Adventist Church located on 375 King Edward Avenue in Ottawa, Ontario. The building was originally constructed by John W.H. Watts in 1904 as a synagogue for the Adath Jeshurun congregation. To date, Walrus editors have yet to respond to our complaint. Instead, they opted to post our alert to their website. While we appreciate the free publicity, we would prefer that this matter be dealt with with professionalism and integrity, not stonewalling. Furthermore, we trust that the Church’s administrators and clergy aren’t happy with Walrus Magazine’s offensive depiction of and inappropriate use of their building.
Here is a side-by-side comparison:
Why would Walrus Magazine’s editorial cartoonists impugn nefarious motives, without evidence, about Prime Minister Harper’s support for Israel and Jewish causes?
In a cartoon published in the October 2011 issue, Stephen Harper’s support for Israel and Jewish causes is portrayed as a means to an end, and by “end,” this cartoon is referring to the “end time.” A period when tribulation precedes the second coming of Jesus. According to this cartoon, the basis of Canada’s and Harper’s support for a democracy like Israel – which is constantly under siege by terrorism and worldwide attempts to challenge the legitimacy of the Jewish state – are not based on principle and shared values, but solely on Harper’s supposed Evangelical belief of the end of days. The cartoon, in essence, unfairly portrays Harper as using Canadian Jews for his own religious zealotry. Of course, we have seen cartoons before that many people would describe as offensive, such as what can be soon on sites like cartoonporno, but it is no long stretch to call this particular cartoon absolutely unacceptable based on its deeply serious and sensitive political and religious implications. It closes with an offensive image of observant Jews placing a “Free Palestine” banner on the front of a synagogue to symbolize their rejection of Harper’s supposed clandestine agenda. According to Walrus cartoonists David Parkins and Jason Sherman, these Jews would rather be Pro-Palestinian than have Harper at the helm.
In reality, Harper has been commendably unapologetic in his support for Israel. Under his administration, Canada has always backed Israel’s right to self-defense saying that “When it comes to dealing with a war between Israel and a terrorist organization, this country and this government cannot and will never be neutral.” Harper has also taken forceful stands against anti-Israel rhetoric and actions at various world bodies including the United Nations and the Franophonie. His staunch support for Israel is one that he recognizes produces little political dividends. He has also consistently condemned increasing anti-Semitism in Canada and he and his staff have worked tirelessly with the Canadian Jewish community to address these threats on multiple levels.
Instead of casting false aspersions by caricature, a more accurate illustration would have shown Prime Minister Harper’s support for Israel and Jewish causes as being based on deeply-rooted moral convictions, principle, and shared interests between liberal democracies.
HonestReporting Canada has communicated these concerns to Walrus Magazine editors. To send your considered comments, please send letters to: firstname.lastname@example.org