Shame on you The New Republic!

At the end of last year a host of writers and editors fled The New Republic in protest of the editorial changes made by its new owner, Chris Hughes, who made his fortune as a founder of Facebook.

The publication was forced to shut down for several months and has gone from a bi-weekly to only a monthly.

The Magazine returned recently and has now made another major change to its content. Once a supporter of Israel, The New Republic just published a heinous and egregious cartoon which lampoon’s Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The cartoon depicts Netanyahu as promising to drive the Arabs into the sea and build a Jews only skyscraper in Ramallah.

He of course then says that he never said that.

This is something that one would expect to see in an Arab nation’s newspaper or in a phony left wing political rag in America like The Nation. Not in a political journal which supposedly continues to pride itself on its integrity.

Ramallah is the largest city in the West bank and serves as the de facto capital of the Palestinian Authority.

Let’s make something clear here. Ramallah is located in what has been known as Area A since the implementation of the Oslo Accords more than 20 years ago. That means that the city is no longer under Israeli jurisdiction and no one – not even Netanyahu – has attempted to expand Jewish settlement there.

In fact, both before and after his election as prime minister of Israel the first time in 1996, Binyamin Netanyahu made it perfectly clear that he would honor all agreements signed by previous governments (i.e. The Oslo Accords).

Yes he has lied many times. (Just read what I wrote on this point before.) Yes he has lied both to the Israeli public and his coalition partners, and foreign leaders and his own party’s leaders. But how dare The New Republic publish such a disgusting cartoon.

Yes there are legitimate arguments to be made against Binyamin Netanyahu and his ruling coalition government in Israel. This cartoon, however, is not an example of one.

No I am not saying that you cannot criticize Israel ever. But all that is lacking from this cartoon is an exaggerated big nose on Netanyahu’s face and some sort of an arm band with a Jewish star meant to evoke a swastika.

So what the hell is going on at The New Republic?

Much was said in criticism of the once venerable publication during the three decades in which it was owned by Martin Peretz for its coverage of Israel. Phony liberals, who think that criticism of that country is obligatory for anyone who calls himself one, cited the positive coverage granted it in The New Republic as a sign that the magazine was not really liberal.

Apparently only the borderline Marxist publications like The Nation were the true liberal magazines. This attitude was comparable to that held by those on the phony right who think that only The American Spectator and Rush Limbaugh represent true conservatism.

Full disclosure here: I have been reading The New Republic since I was sixteen and have been a subscriber now for almost 30 years. But I won’t be for much longer. I was already considering dropping it before this cartoon was published.

I say again, shame on you New Republic!

I remember hearing friends over the years complain that if you are a liberal then you must take a left-wing stance regarding Israel; that you must oppose the Likud Party and support a full withdrawal by Israel from the West Bank.

Well I am a liberal and I am here to say that such sentiment is nonsense. What is the connection?

There is a reason why over the years Israel has had small alternative political parties which see eye to eye on just about everything except for the issue of the “Peace Process.”

For example, in the 1980s and the 1990s there were two such parties which were mirror images of one another. They both supported a more liberal free market economy with de-regulation, a secular country with an end to a state run rabbinate, drafting of the ultra-orthodox yeshiva students and they generally held to libertarian principles.

But they had opposite positions on what to do with regards to the Palestinians. Oslo changed everything and neither party exists any more.

So why is there any obligation on the part of liberals to be anti-Israel? For that matter, why is there any obligation for conservatives to support Israel?

Whatever your politics, there is no justification, no excusing and no forgiving this disgusting attack on Binyamin Netanyahu. It is reminiscent of all of the anti-Semitic cartoons and caricatures which have been published over the centuries, since the advent of the printing press.

When I was about ten years old I remember how furious my father was at an anti-Israel cartoon which was published in the local paper. It labeled then Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin as the biggest obstacle to peace.

Begin was depicted as an inn keeper sitting behind the front desk. He had a sign behind him with a number of lines, all of which began with the word “No.”

It was impossible for anyone to miss the reference. Begin was the man who told a certain famous couple that there was no room in the Inn.

That was the absolute worst and most disgusting anti-Israel cartoon that I had ever seen in my life, until now.

About the author


Gil Tanenbaum made aliyah from New York after he completed college. He Has lived in Israel for over 20 years. He has an MBA from Bar Ilan University and is a contributor for various blogs.


  • Apparently you’re not familiar with the work of Eli Valley? He’s done way “worse” than this. He’s also a pretty great guy and (IMO) has opinions worth listening to even when I disagree with him.

    • Gil needs to be up to date on his cartoonists. Eli is actually pretty well known in these here parts. I pretty much never agree with him but he is always entertaining and thought provoking.That having been said, this cartoon was kinda, what? Lazy? Yeah. It seems like he just called it in. It wasn’t “disgusting” as Gil noted. It was boring.