Jon Stewart gave a memorable performance recently in his show entitled “March of the Parisiens” that was both hilarious but equally news worthy. He threw out line after line of funny zingers that drew much applause from the audience, before completely mocking Israel and other nations for participating in the Freedom March that has up to this point dominated the entire world’s attention.
Demonstrators, holding up giant pencils, in all shapes and sizes and colors, marched everywhere to show their support for a free press and freedom of speech. It was the ultimate “show of solidarity,” Stewart mentioned, when 40 world leaders walked hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder, in support of these great ideals.
Yet, Stewart couldn’t help but contain himself by lambasting these same leaders, who in their own countries, have jailed journalists and cartoonists because they did not conform with the views of the political party in power at the time.
Israel, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is perhaps the best example of this hypocrisy.
What’s so funny about this giant display of pencils in France and Israel’s case, is that Palestinian cartoonist, Mohammad Saba’aneh, was jailed by Israel for cartoons such as his piece entitled “Freedom of Expression” (below). In this drawing, he depicts an Israeli soldier with a giant head for an eraser on the lookout for pencils, in order to erase the ideas they create.
Ideas are powerful, and threaten those who can only stay in power by people not having access to them. You either discredit the person giving the idea, ban the idea, or both.
Saba’aneh spent 5 months in prison last year because Israel did not like that he had contacted a publishing company about making a book for his highly-controversial cartoons, like the one above, that would have given him a broader audience.
Not knowing what to accuse Saba’aneh with initially, Israel held him without charges for two months before ultimately sentencing him for having his cartoons published in a book that had associations with Hamas.
What’s even more telling about all of this is that Saba’aneh doesn’t just single out Israel, known for their horrid treatment of prisoners. He called out many Hamas members when he published a cartoon that openly criticized Ismail Haniyet, a senior member of Hamas elected as the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister in 2006.
While being held indefinitely, Saba’aneh said:
I told them that the collaboration was with my brother, not with Hamas. Actually, Hamas hates me (because of this).
Israel investigated me about everything, about my activity, about my participation in international [art] exhibitions, and about my opinions.
Watch Jon Stewart do what he does best, by attacking with humor, the hypocrisy of this entire Freedom March: