Hamilton Spectator Editorial Cartoon Makes Moral Equivalence Between Israel & Hamas & Portrays Palestinian Children Inside Cage

October 18, 2023

Editorial cartoons have become an integral part of newspapers across the Western World, helping to portray to readers a complex concept in a simple and artistic way.

If done correctly, an editorial cartoon can convey a powerful message in a way that a column cannot.

But sometimes, an editorial cartoon can misrepresent the truth, and portray a false picture of current events, regardless of intentions.

In his October 14 editorial cartoon in The Hamilton Spectator, cartoonist Graeme Mackay portrayed two dark figures, labeled Hamas and Israel, facing each other with bloodied hands and feet, towering over the terrified faces of two Israeli children, and two other children in a cage labeled ‘Gaza.’


The message portrayed in the cartoon is clear: that Hamas and Israel are two warring parties fighting each other, while children are the innocent victims, Israeli children, and in particular Palestinian children, living inside a cage, hearkening to the oft-repeated claims by anti-Israel detractors that Gaza is an “open-air prison.”

And while there is certain truth conveyed in the cartoon, namely that innocent Israelis and Palestinians are biggest victims in conflict, Mackay’s cartoon failed to demonstrate the chasm of difference between Israel and Hamas.

Whereas Israel is a liberal and democratic state, providing equal treatment under the law to all its citizens regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity or gender, Hamas is a genocidal Islamist terrorist organization whose stated goal is the total elimination of Israel as a Jewish State. Should Hamas be successful in destroying Israel, it seeks to replace the country with a fanatical, totalitarian caliphate akin to the Islamic State (ISIS).

But Hamas isn’t just dedicated to the elimination of Israel as a political entity; it seeks the destruction of the country through violent means. Through suicide bombing attacks against Israeli civilians, indiscriminate rocket attacks targeting Israeli towns and cities, or its more recent heinous mass murder of 1,400 innocent Israelis, including babies and the elderly, Hamas’ brutality and total inhumanity has been on full display.

In short, there simply is no comparison between Israel and Hamas, and portraying them as two enemies in war does a huge injustice to the truth, masking the difference between terrorist and victim.

Moreover, the image portrayed in Mackay’s cartoon of two children inside a cage – while heart-wrenching – also fails to show readers the true culprit for the suffering of Palestinian civilians inside Gaza.

Since taking over the Gaza Strip in 2007 in a violent coup, Hamas has since run the coastal enclave with an iron fist, exercising total control over the area, including trampling on the fundamental human rights of Palestinians under their control.

Hamas has also turned Gaza into a launching pad for their incessant war against Israel, firing thousands of rockets from the strip into Israeli population centres, and repurposing international humanitarian aid into weapons for the group’s terrorist efforts. Underneath Gaza runs a massive subterranean network of terror tunnels used by Hamas to develop and store rockets, and now, where it is thought to be holding the roughly 200 hostages it kidnapped from Israel on October 7.

If Gaza is an open-air prison, then Hamas is the party holding the key, refusing to free the 2.2 million people living inside the strip, instead preferring to keep them as perpetual hostages and human shields in Hamas’ war of terrorism against Israel.

The world can, and indeed should, have sympathy for innocent civilians on both sides, Israelis and Palestinians alike. But until commentators in the news media can recognize the moral differences between Israel and Hamas, and consequently that it is Hamas responsible for the suffering on both sides, the terrorist group will never be held to account by the world for its crimes against humanity.

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