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Survey: Political Cartoonists and U.S. Newspapers Support Israel, See Hezbollah as Terrorist Group

Posted: 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. newspapers 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 daily newspapers at the height of the conflict, ADL found that an overwhelmingly majority of the papers supported Israel's response to Hezbollah's unprovoked attacks and clearly labeled Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

Bob Englehart, Hartford Courant, August 15, 2005

At the same time, dozens of political cartoons appearing in U.S. newspapers overwhelmingly depicted Hezbollah -- and particularly Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah -- as bearing responsibility for the destruction of Lebanese cities and bloodshed that came about as a result of Hezbollah's attack and Israel
's reprisals.

The ADL survey reviewed editorials appearing in 33 large circulation daily newspapers July 18 through August 14.  The survey found that 31 newspapers generally were in agreement that Hezbollah must be disarmed or displaced from southern
.  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.

's Right to Self-Defense
The following are examples of editorials appearing in the aftermath of the Hezbollah attack that denounced the terrorist group's actions and defended Israel
's right to self-defense:

Gary Varvel, The Indianapolis Star, August 15, 2006


  • The killing on both sides cannot end soon enough.  But any international resolution to the crisis that fails to guarantee Israel's security will resolve little or nothing." – St. Petersburg Times, August 5, 2006.
  • "A premature cease-fire would now allow Hezbollah to claim a victory over Israel and emerge as a regional power." – The Wall Street Journal, August 1, 2006.
  • "Hezbollah typically launches its rockets at Israel from civilian areas, often stores its munitions in civilian housing and uses residential structures as shelters for its combatants and leadership.  That's classic tactics in asymmetrical warfare in which discrediting your enemy politically is a substitute for defeating him militarily.  Using civilians as human shields explicitly violates the Geneva Conventions.  But much of the world is incensed only when Israel inadvertently kills noncombatants.  That double standard wrongly paints Israel as the villain while giving Hezbollah terrorists a pass."  -- The San Diego Union-Tribune, August 1, 2006.
  • "Israel's response to Hezbollah has been to use the most precise weaponry and targeting it can.  It has no desire to kill Lebanese civilians and no interest in doing so.  It repeatedly has dropped leaflets, issued warnings, sent messages by radio and even phone text to Lebanese villagers to evacuate so that they would not be harmed.  Israel knows that these leaflets and warnings give the Hezbollah fighters time to escape, regroup and set up elaborate ambushes.  The result?  Unexpectedly high Israeli infantry casualties: moral scrupulousness paid in blood.  Israeli soldiers did so that Lebanese civilians will not.  And who does the international community condemn for disregarding civilian life?" -- The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 30, 2006.
  • "Confronted with a determined enemy willing to target Israeli cities with thousands of missiles, Israel has little choice but to continue the battle ….  Israel, meanwhile, attacked on two fronts by enemies who have declared their wish to eliminate it, cannot be faulted for using the tools in its arsenal to thwart that aim.  Israel is fighting for its survival …" – The Houston Chronicle, July 28, 2006.
  • "Hezbollah's firing of rockets into Israel must stop, and UN Resolution 1559 requiring that Hezbollah disarm has to be implemented. … What may be needed is a phased solution: a cease-fire, followed by international monitors, the disarming of Hezbollah, and finally a sovereign Lebanon taking responsibility for what happens on its own territory." – The Boston Globe, July 18, 2006.

Criticism of Iran and/or Syria
Five of the newspapers surveyed expressed criticism of Iran and/or Syria as the countries playing a behind-the-scenes role in providing material and other support to Hezbollah:

Chip Bok, Akron Beacon Journal, August 16, 2006


  • "…there can be no doubt that Iran and Syria, Hezbollah's chief sponsors, bear responsibility for what has instantly become the most far-reaching, lethal and dangerous eruption of cross-border fighting in the Middle East and recent years.  The Washington Post, July 14, 2006.
  • "It's becoming increasingly clear that Iran and Syria are deeply implicated in the provocations by Hezbollah in Lebanon and terror groups in the Palestinian territories that triggered Israel's sever military response on both fronts." – Newsday, July 16, 2006.

Criticism of Israel
The following examples are illustrative of the comments in the eight papers that were critical of Israel for what was seen as prolonging the war and its continued use of military force in Lebanon:

  • "By refusing to consider a cease-fire, by pressing on with its punishing airstrikes, Israel – and its chief backer, the United States – are alienating friends and supporters.  Israel's right to defend itself and the 750,000 Israelis within reach of Hezbollah rockets doesn't extend to destroying Lebanon.  That is what's occurring as Israeli forces push to defeat Hezbollah." – The Baltimore Sun, July 21, 2006.
  • "Israel's deadly airstrike Sunday on the hilltop Lebanese village of Qana, which brought an apartment building down on at least 37 children, is the capstone of what has become an unsustainable Israeli military campaign." Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 1, 2006.
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Press Release:
Political Cartoonists And U.S. Newspapers Support Israel and See Hezbollah as a Terrorist Group

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2006 Anti-Defamation League