Rob Rogers' much-criticized Gaza cartoon was not anti-Semitic

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 I am appalled by the attack on Rob Rogers by Woody Ostrow and Jeff Finkelstein (“Anti-Semitic Cartoon: PG Artist Employed Hateful Images,” Aug. 14). The writers, officers of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, claim that Mr. Rogers’ Aug. 7 cartoon “reminds Jews of the anti-Semitic propaganda that appeared in Nazi Germany.” In other words, they compare Mr. Rogers’ drawing to the obscene, hate-filled images that prepared Germans to support the extermination of Europe’s Jews.

As evidence of Mr. Rogers’ “anti-Semitism,” they cite the Star of David on the helmet of a soldier in the cartoon. But the state of Israel chose to place the Star of David on its flag, making it a political symbol. They accuse Mr. Rogers of “drawing Jews with long noses.” Anyone familiar with Mr. Rogers’ cartoons knows that he routinely draws characters with big noses.

The writers deny that Gaza is a cage. But that’s an apt description of this tiny enclave under a strangling economic blockade. Gaza’s population is 1.5 million people on 139 square miles of land, a population density of 13,000 per square mile. Under the blockade Gazans suffer shortages of basic necessities. A U.N. official said last November that Gaza is becoming “uninhabitable.” Weeks of merciless bombing surely made things worse.

Anti-Semitism is a great evil that led to some of the worst crimes in human history. The struggle against anti-Semitism is undermined when the charge is thrown around as a cheap political epithet. Criticism of Israel for violating the human rights of the Palestinians does not equal anti-Semitism.

Stanton Heights

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