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January 11, 2010

PS on NY Times And "Footnotes in Gaza"

While the New York Times ran a puff piece by Patrick Cockburn on cartoonist Joe Sacco's "Footnotes in Gaza," the International Herald Tribune (owned by the Times) ran a commendable critical review today. The AP piece, by Marcus Brogden, details:

The American-Maltese artist's latest book, "Footnotes in Gaza," chronicles two episodes in 1956 in which a U.N. report filed Dec. 15, 1956 says a total of 386 civilians were shot dead by Israeli soldiers — events Sacco said have been "virtually airbrushed from history because they have been ignored by the mainstream media."

Israeli historians dispute these figures.

"It's a big exaggeration," said Meir Pail, a leading Israeli military historian and leftist politician. "There was never a killing of such a degree. Nobody was murdered. I was there. I don't know of any massacre."

Sacco's passion for the Palestinian cause has opened him up to accusations of bias.

Jose Alaniz, from the University of Washington's Department of Comparative Literature, said Sacco uses "all sorts of subtle ways" to manipulate the reader.

"Very often he will pick angles in his art work that favor the perspective of the victim: He'll draw Israeli soldiers or settlers from a low perspective to make them more menacing and towering."

Alaniz also said Sacco draws children "in such a way to make them seem more victimized."
Sacco himself admits he takes sides.

"I don't believe in objectivity as it's practiced in American journalism. I'm not anti-Israeli ... It's just I very much believe in getting across the Palestinian point of view," he said.

The critical Brogden piece which appears today in the print edition of the International Herald Tribune is not on the shared IHT/NYT Web site. Patrick Cockburn's fawning coverage is.

Posted by TS at January 11, 2010 05:10 AM

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