The Aspen Times apologises for Dave Granlund cartoon

The Aspen Times apologises for Dave Granlund cartoon

If last week a British newspaper avoided publishing a cartoon featuring Netanyahu, this time it is the turn of a US newspaper to apologise.

The Aspen Times apologised to its readers for the publication of this cartoon by its cartoonist, Dave Granlund - (Twitter).

The cartoon was also published in Politico's weekly cartoon carousel.

The Aspen Times received and published on 12 October this letter to the editor about the cartoon in these terms:

Regarding the editorial cartoon that appeared in the 10 October print edition, I feel compelled to draw your attention to how dangerously misleading is the oversimplified "story" presented in this cartoon.

It depicts Hamas as a hornet's nest. So this cartoon is saying that Hamas is a potentially annoying bunch of creatures, but if you leave them alone, they will leave you alone - so if they sting, it's your fault.

It depicts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - and for many readers it will represent Israel as a whole - as someone who goes out of his way to antagonise the otherwise calm and harmless hornets and basically asking for what they have.

I'm sure you are educated enough to know: Hamas is a religious fanatical terrorist regime that has taken authoritarian control of the population of Gaza and whose sole purpose is to destroy the nation and people of Israel. They are not a nest of hornets minding their own business; their business is terror. Their business is killing Israelis. And, given the chance, they would take it upon themselves to kill me... and you... and every other Western infidel.

I realise that there is a horrible cycle of senseless violence to which this cartoon also alludes... but the message is not clear, creative or constructive. It is ill-conceived (I hope unintentionally or simply out of laziness), misleading and dangerous in all cases.

Respectfully but disappointed:

Jon Foley

On 13 October a new letter is published in which Rabbi Mendel Mintz adds:

We wish to express our deep disappointment and dismay at the inappropriate and hurtful cartoon published in The Aspen Times.

This comes at a time when the Jewish community, indeed the entire world, is grappling with the recent attack on Israel - the biggest attack on the Jewish people since the Holocaust.

We had hoped that The Aspen Times would be more discerning and sensitive.

We hope that The Aspen Times will reflect on the impact this cartoon has on the entire Jewish community in the Valley. And we strongly believe that it should take appropriate steps to rectify the situation by issuing a public apology to the community.

Content like this is insensitive and will not be tolerated. By working together, we can create a more inclusive, compassionate and tolerant community that respects each other, supports each other and denounces hatred. (Read full).

The newspaper, also on 13 October, replied apologising for the publication of the cartoon. It is clear from their reply that they do not "withdraw" the cartoon as other media usually do in these cases, although I believe they do not publish them on their website. Or at least I haven't been able to find them there, so I understand that it only appeared in their printed version.

Saturday's editorial cartoon is by Dave Granlund, a Minnesota-based political cartoonist whose work has been published nationally since 1978.

Granlund is also responsible for the cartoon published Monday on the opinion page of the Aspen Times. That cartoon showed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu poking a beehive labelled "Hamas". Some readers were offended by the cartoon, particularly because it seemed to apply a moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas when there is none.

We apologise for the publication of Monday's cartoon and for the pain it caused readers. The Aspen Times is committed to a vibrant opinion page that welcomes open dialogue and a wide variety of viewpoints expressed in its letters, columns, editorials and cartoons. To that end, we encourage those who disagree with Monday's cartoon to share their criticisms with us in the form of letters and columns. We will be happy to publish them.

Finally, we thought it appropriate to give readers a fuller picture of Granlund's perspective on Israel and Hamas by publishing Saturday's cartoon, drawn several days after the previous cartoon, which was drawn hours after news of the Hamas attack broke.

The Aspen Times apologises for Dave Granlund cartoon

On Cagle Cartoons and on the author's website you can see other recent cartoons by the author on the subject.

The Aspen Times apologises for Dave Granlund cartoon
The Aspen Times apologises for Dave Granlund cartoon

It's getting tight for that healthy thing of freely expressing one's opinion depending on the approach given to the war squabbles, but what's much worse is that we are already beginning to see evident cases of normalisation of censorship in crude form because potatoes.

The Aspen Times apologises for Dave Granlund cartoon

Humour in trouble, a collection of cases (III)
Cases of cartoonists who have had problems of some importance because of their cartoons or satirical illustrations. There are also some stories of other people who, without being cartoonists, have had problems for sharing them.

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