I grew up reading Dry Bones cartoons, which makes sense since (a) like most Gen-X American Jews I was spoon-fed Zionism as a child, and (b) the artist who draws the cartoon, Yaakov Kirschen, is decades older than I am.
My first sign that something might be not-quite-right with Kirschen was when in 2008 I asked him if the grassroots Jews for Obama organization I co-founded could use one of his cartoons in our newsletter, and he responded with overt hostility, making it clear that he had bought into all of the bogus right-wing talking points about how Obama was antisemitic and anti-Zionist and perhaps even a secret Muslim. Perhaps I should have removed him from the aggregator then, but (as I intimated recently in my posting about Jump Start), my understanding of what’s at stake and what is and isn’t acceptable has evolved.
In particular, every day this Elie Wiesel quote becomes more important seems more prescient:
We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, December 10, 1986
Now, in the face of a profoundly dangerous and unjust move toward fascism in Kirschen’s homeland, Israel, he has this to say:
YOU don’t have to take sides! You should NOT demonize the other side!
YOU CAN SUPPORT UNITY.
There’s no need to take sides, we’re Zionists, pure and simple.Yaakov Kirschen, blog posting, March 21, 2023
Kirschen has a huge platform in Israel. I doubt there is anyone whose words are read by more people than his. He could be fighting for democracy and decency, and instead he is aiding and abetting his country’s rapid slide toward fascism. Kirschen has told us who he is, and I believe him.