Steve Greenberg is a political cartoonist. This week, he chose to lampoon the Tea Party with an editorial entitled "Tea-Hadist," and we, The Jewish Journal, chose to print it.
The purpose of political cartoons is to comment on both deep and topical political and social issues via satire. Political correctness has about as much place in an editorial cartoons as a bacon-cheeseburger has in a kosher market.
As Jewish Journal Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Rob Eshman put it:
"Steve is a satirist. His point was that in pursuing their ideology, the Tea Party conservatives in the House are actually destroying government for others, as well as for the Republican Party, and ultimately their own movement. It's a point many Republicans have made: John McCain, Peter King and many others. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2013/10/07/republicans-fighting-back-against-the-tea-party/).
"Greenberg makes his point via a medium that doesn't reward subtlety.
"We love Greenberg because over the years his sharpest, angriest cartoons go after extremists of all stripes, those who would sacrifice others for their own beliefs. You'll find he reserves a special venom for radical Islamists.
"At the same time, we are especially sensitive to the impression many have that the cartoon somehow trivializes the horrific, real suffering wrought by Islamic terrorists. That is clearly not Greenberg's intention-- and I offer my apology to anyone who sees the cartoon exclusively in that light. I agree that even in the context of a political cartoon, this one was insensitive, and I apologize to those we have offended.
"The Jewish Journal, meanwhile, is committed to presenting a multiplicity of thoughtful voices on issues that matter to all Americans. We are guided not by what are perceived as narrow 'Jewish' interests, but by the larger Jewish value of vigorous debate leading to mutual understanding. Satire is part of that debate.
"You'll note on the same page of the print edition of the Jewish Journal as the Greenberg cartoon is the lead op-ed about Danny Lewin, a hero of 9/11, written by a contributor to the David Horowitz Freedom Center. (http://www.jewishjournal.com/opinion/article/the_legacy_of_9_11_hero_danny_lewin).The Center also has ties to the Web site that excoriated us for the Greenberg cartoon. The Jewish Journal happily embraces differing points of view ON THE SAME PAGE-- whereas so many sites and media outlets these days are just a uni-dimensional, sterilized echo-chamber of like-mindedness."
As a newspaper, our job is to foster discussion within the community. Readers, If you're interested in joining the discussion, please let us know what you think in the comments section below.