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Upset by vicious animation

Dear Editors,

This letter is in response to a vicious cartoon that appeared in your paper last week. The cartoon shows a man with a large nose, supposedly Ariel Sharon, happily building a wall around a bird of peace. On the wall is a flag with a Star of David on it. The cartoon was drawn by a Shan Wells.

From Mr. Wells’ cartoon, one would assume that Wells believes that the security fence Israel is building is the primary obstacle to peace. He has a right to his opinion, but as a political cartoon, he and the Telegraph overstep the boundaries.

While editorial cartoons are meant to satirically summarize current events, they are expected to be based on FACT. They also are not expected to promote religious or racial stereotypes.

I’ll take it that Wells is an expert on the Israeli/Palestinian issue. Why else would he be so brazen as to draw such a cartoon?

I see that Mr. Wells is quite upset by the security fence that Israel is building. I also get offended by walls and fences. But ONLY when they are meant to keep people IN, not out.A0A0A0

This is where the cartoon is inaccurate. The wall does not encircle the West Bank or Gaza. It does not enslave the Palestinians. While the fence does restrict Palestinian entrance into Israel, such entrance is not a right, any more than entrance into the United States from Mexico is a right. I’m sure Wells’ next cartoon will show his anger over the ditches, barbed-wire fences, border-crossing checkpoints and guard dogs that America uses to curtail illegal immigration and drugs from crossing our borders. I doubt it 85 .

It is wrong to portray the fence as a roadblock to peace. It was built only after an unprecedented wave of Palestinian terrorism, which in less than three years has killed more than 800 Israelis and maimed thousands – some as they slept in their beds, celebrating holidays, eating at restaurants and many riding buses. Many of these targeted woman, elderly and infants! Does not every country have the self-evident right to determine who or what will be allowed entrance to its homeland? Does Israel have any right to protect its citizens from crazed homicide bombers while the world supports the theory that any type of Israeli defense “upsets” the Arab world? And while the Palestinian Authority does absolutely nothing to reign in Hamas and the other terror groups it harbors, Israel must act to protect its citizens. Mr. Wells, if there were no Palestinian terror war, there would be no fence!A0Unless of course Mr. Wells feels that Israel is a fraudulent country and has no right to exist.A0Which brings us to Yassar Arafat 85 .

Absent from the cartoon is any sign of Arafat. Wells lays total blame on Sharon and Israel. Does Mr. Wells know that Arafat is the other reason the security fence is being built, and thatA0Arafat is the biggest obstacle to peace? Let me explain to the cartoonist.

Forbes magazine (March 17, 2003 ) estimates conservatively Arafat’s net worth at $300 million. One of his main money sources has been foreign aid meant for the Palestinian people, which he has diverted to his own accounts. To back this information up, the International Monetary Fund recently disclosed that between 1995-2000 Arafat diverted $591 million from the Palestinian Authority to a special account under his personal guidance. In 1998, the European Union audit disclosed that $20 million in Egyptian funds meant to build low-income housing was instead turned into a luxury apartment complex that was given to top PA officials and Arafat’s pals. A control he keeps with his puppet government.

Why do I bring Arafat’s financial records up? Because he preys on his own people. He pockets the money while keeping the Palestinian people in squalor. Substandard schools, hospitals and daily services are the results, while placing total blame for this on Israel. Kind of keeps the pressure off Arafat. I guess this information has slipped by Mr. Wells’ expertise.

The money is used to fund terrorism. The support goes to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. They don’t make a move without Arafat knowing about it. Arafat’s goal is to make terror a part of political negotiations. The security fence will close off that strategy. A negotiation weapon Arafat cannot afford to lose.

Bottom line: By ignoring the fence’s justification as an anti-terror measure, the cartoonist shows an utter lack of context. But in the media today, you don’t have to justify. The only credential you need to be an expert on the mid-east is animosity toward Israel (see NPR, Pacifica Radio, the BBC ). And the gap between being anti-Israel and anti-Semitic is closing rapidly.

Which brings me to the most blatant disregard for sensitivity in the cartoon. Wells portrays Ariel Sharon with a large nose that does not resemble his actual profile. The profile used is one that evokes anti-Semitic cartoons popular in Nazi Germany and in the Arab press. Would Mr. Wells be as insensitive toward Native Americans, African Americans or any other ethnic or religious group in his cartoons? Would the Telegraph print it? The hurt that this newspaper has put on many in the Jewish community is just disgraceful. By publishing this stereotypical caricature, the TelegraphA0promotes a vile and tastelessA0expression of hate. Is this what you represent?

Truthfully, I expected better from the editors and staff of this “enlightened” newspaper. Give yourselves a big thumbs down.

– In hope of peace in the Mid-East,

Shelly Perlmutter, Durango

Reflects poorly on the paper

Dear Editors,

I am surprised and disappointed by your cartoon showing an individual with a big nose, building a wall around a dove in distress. Surprised because the cartoonist is obviously ignorant of the issues causing the wall to be built, and obviously racist in using stereotypical features more suitable to the Hitler era. I am disappointed that someone with these qualities could be employed by your publication. It reflects poorly on the quality of your paper.

– Gerald Sheldon, via e-mail

One-sided liberal propaganda

Dear Editors:

It is regrettable but not entirely unexpected to find the Telegraph echoing the anti-Israeli bias common to much of the left wing media. The cartoon by Shan Wells in the Oct. 9 issue is representative of the one-sided, anti-Western, pro-Arab propaganda that’s much of the liberal press has chanted since the Six Day War in 1967.

The fact that, since its creation, Israel has fought four wars for its very survival and has endured acts of terrorism against its citizens that no other nation in the world would tolerate is conveniently ignored.

The obvious mistake in Mr. Wells’ cartoon is the bird being enclosed by the “Sharon Wall Co.” Instead of a worried dove with an olive branch in its mouth, it should be a velociraptor whose beak and talons are dripping blood.

– Sincerely,Michael Lubin


Back in the Saddle: Leo Meegan enjoys
an afternoon Tuesday along the Animas River
on his recumbent bicycle, which allows for a
more relaxed position./Photo by Todd Newcomer.

Playing ball in the courtroom

Dear Editors:

Kobe’s defense team might have “scored” a few points at the preliminary hearing but psychologically it was more like a gang rape by the legal system headed by Pamela Mackey (Kobe’s defense attorney). Nevermind the concrete evidence regarding the victim’s blood on Kobe’s T-shirt; and tears, rips and lacerations suffered on the jaws and genitals of the young woman (19 years old is still a teen-ager, no less!). Nevermind the obvious social and physical power differential between Kobe and the damsel crying out in distress, (yes, Kobe carries an aura of super-heroism that many females will understandably find tempting to flirt with). Nevermind that it took a mere 90 minutes for the married Kobe to meet, seduce and rip a new one on one of his female, starstruck, teen-age fans. Now the young woman is being further brutalized and unprotected as a result of her name mentioned SEVERAL times by Kobe’s defense attorney. Even after the judge admonished the attorney (Mackey) for breaching the confidentiality of the accuser’s name, Ms. Mackey continued to identify the accuser’s name several more times! (Come on .. .it’s a blatant bully intimidation tactic). Nevermind that pictures of the young woman’s torn genitals were paraded in the courtroom and talked about like the weather in the media. Nevermind this young woman took some courage to press charges on a big national basketball star who, by the way, has a reputation of scoring points by hogging the game from his own teammates and piggishly didn’t care about his own wife’s physical safety when he chose NOT to wear a condom with his quick extramarital tryst. Nevermind that the accuser’s courage is now being framed by the defense team as her “tattling” subsequent to getting a good “lay.” Nevermind that Kobe’s picture is still on my favorite chocolate spreadA0appropriately called Nutella, which now, interestingly enough, leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Nevermind that Kobe’s wife stands by her man when 85 oh, nevermind.

Kobe is now having to put his money and power where his balls are, and I’m not speaking the basketball variety. His conscience regarding this whole incidentA0has bigger holes than basketball hoops.
Sure, I believe Kobe should be defended in the best way, but dirty pool seems to be the tactic of the defense team. This covert attitude that, “boys will be boys” and because Kobe is a friggin’ good basketball player should somehow disavow or minimize his sexual violence is pretty startling. His fame and wealth make HIM more likely to prey on women rather than making him a likely target for a bogus lawsuit where a teen-age accuser must endure rips to her genitals. Yeah, right, gimme a break. ...oh, nevermind.

– Pamela Hurley,

via e-mail

Some finer points of grazing

Dear Will,

Thanks for the excellent grazing story. There were two points we covered in our interview that didn’t appear in the article, though.

First: The areas that are currently hardest hit by livestock are the low-altitude, arid ones. These, in my opinion, would benefit most from the removal of livestock, although the mountains would certainly be better off cow-free, too.

Second: The Grazing Permit Buyout Bill is entirely voluntary, which was not mentioned. This is a crucial feature of the program.

Thanks again for your good work.

– Broadly, Ronni Egan

Great Old Broads For Wilderness





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