Political Cartoonists And U.S. Newspapers Support Israel and See Hezbollah as a Terrorist Group
New York, NY, August 29, 2006 … In the aftermath of Hezbollah's kidnapping of Israeli soldiers on July 12 and its shelling of Israeli towns and cities, political cartoonists and U.S. newspaper editorials overwhelmingly supported Israel's right to defend itself against Hezbollah's acts of aggression.
In an informal survey of editorials on the Israel-Hezbollah conflict appearing in 33 of the nation's largest circulation newspapers at the height of the conflict, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) found that an overwhelming majority of the papers supported Israel's response to Hezbollah's unprovoked attacks and clearly labeled Hezbollah a terrorist organization.
At the same time, U.S. political cartoonists depicted Hezbollah -- and particularly Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah -- as unrepentant terrorists who bore full responsibility for the destruction of Lebanese cities and bloodshed that came about as a result of Hezbollah's attack and Israel's reprisals.
"Newspapers and political cartoonists understood the high stakes involved for Israel, and defended the Israeli response to Hezbollah's unprovoked attacks as justifiable," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Not only did the editorials support Israel's right to defend itself against Hezbollah's aggression, but they clearly identified Hezbollah as a terrorist entity that not only threatens Israel's existence, but the stability of the entire Middle East."
The ADL survey reviewed editorials appearing in 33 large circulation daily newspapers from July 18 through August 14. The survey found that 31 newspapers generally were in agreement that Hezbollah must be disarmed or displaced from southern Lebanon. In addition, 19 of the 31 papers called for the international community to act to halt the hostilities.
Eight of the 33 newspapers surveyed criticized Israel for what was viewed as prolonging the war and continuing to use military force in Lebanon, according to the ADL survey. Yet at the same time, editorials in several of those papers strongly defended Israel's use of force against Hezbollah.
ADL periodically takes the pulse of U.S. public opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab conflict by assessing newspaper editorials appearing during times of heightened conflict or major news events. The last such survey was conducted in November 2004 following the death of longtime Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat. That survey found that an overwhelming majority of U.S. newspapers were strongly critical of Arafat, his life and his legacy.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.