Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The "insult a Jew competition": the Leunig hoax!

The joke is on Leunig!
Leunig in "insult a Jew competition" (
Leunig's Iranian cartoon competition entry a 'set up'

The first news broadcast Tuesday morning (14/2) had the following item:

Leunig publishes Holocaust cartoon
From: Agence France-Presse By Siavosh Ghazi in tehran
February 14, 2006,10117,18141781-29277,00.html

RENOWNED Australian cartoonist Michael Leunig has submitted the first entry
in a controversial contest for cartoons of the Holocaust launched in Iran in
a tit-for-tat move over the caricatures of the prophet Mohammed that have
enraged Muslims worldwide.
"As a show of solidarity with the Muslim world, and an exercise in free
speech, I would like to submit a cartoon to you on the theme of the
Holocaust," Leunig was quoted as saying on, the website
organising the competition with Iran's biggest selling newspaper Hamshahri,
triggering outrage in the US and Germany in particular.
Hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has already prompted international
anger by dismissing the systematic slaughter by the Nazis of mainland
Europe's Jews as a "myth" used to justify the creation of Israel.
The first of the Melbourne-based Leunig's two cartoons on the website show a
poor man with a Star of David on his back walking towards the Auschwitz
death camp in 1945 with the words "Work Brings Freedom" over the entrance.
The second shows the same scene but depicting "Israel 2002" with the slogan
"War Brings Peace" over the entrance and the same man walking towards it
bearing a rifle.
"I have had some difficulty getting this work published in my own country,
and I believe it would help highlight the hypocrisy of the West's attitude
to free speech if you were to publish it," Leunig was quoted as saying.
By 8.30am he had been interviewed on the ABC and denied any knowledge of this until someone alerted him to the website the previous night.
In the interview he tried to describe the cartoon (which had been banned at the time by the editor of the Age who was severely criticised for it but was subsequently shown on TV) as anti-war: i.e. that war is as deceptive as "Arbeit macht frei" over the gates of Aschwitz and described the other panel of the cartoon as "the Jewish soldier" in front of a gate saying: "war brings peace".
John Faine picked him up immediately: "Jewish soldier?" Dead silence! "Oh I am sorry,- I mean Israeli,--- forgive me, I've been up most of the night." He then went on a diatribe about how he was subjected to hate mail and threats over this and other cartoons,- but again John Faine interrupted him: "but your house wasn't burnt down nor was your life threatened, was it?"
"Not yet" was his reluctant reply!MM
By Katherine Kizilos
February 15, 2006

WHEN the news helicopter landed in the paddock next to the studio, even the three Jack Russells knew it was a big day at Michael Leunig's house.
The Age cartoonist's home near Euroa, in central Victoria, was disrupted yesterday by journalists seeking to inquire how it was that a Leunig cartoon, rejected for publication by former Age editor Michael Gawenda, was entered in a competition launched by the Iranian newspaper Hamshahri. The competition, to find a cartoon on the Holocaust insulting to Jews, follows the caricatures of the prophet Muhammad published by a Danish newspaper that angered Muslims around the world.
The first frame of the cartoon sent to Hamshahri shows a man with a Star of David on his back walking towards the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1945. The camp bears the words "Work Brings Freedom" over the entrance. The second frame, set in Israel in 2002, shows a man with a rifle walking towards an entrance bearing the sign "War Brings Peace". The cartoon was accompanied by a note purporting to be from Leunig.

But Leunig said yesterday that he did not send the material — although he had received anonymous emails "trying to bait me into" entering the competition. He was pleased that the material was removed from the website when he wrote to the paper explaining that it was a hoax.

"I have gotten used to dirty tricks, dirty tactics, from the pro-war lobbyists," he said. "They want it proclaimed for all to see that Leunig is a friend of Muslim terrorists. They want to … distort my position."

He said that since taking an anti-war stance three years ago, he had received anonymous mail addressed to "Michael Leunig — friend of mass murderers". Death threats have arrived, too.
The cartoonist has no quarrel with those who take issue with his stance and write angry letters. He respects this as being part of the cut and thrust of public life. But he is concerned by the threatening, anonymous attacks. The war on Iraq has had an effect on the quality of our civil life, he says, and the threats against him are part of this.
Outside the sun is shining on his olive trees and vegetable patch. The war on Iraq is a long way away. "I want to paint pictures and listen to music and make wine," Leunig says. "I feel like I have been dragged from my civilian life into a horrible war."
The Age's senior deputy editor Paul Ramadge said yesterday that the paper shared Leunig's "frustration over this blatant misuse of his illustrations and false reporting of his words".
Age lawyer Peter Bartlett, from Minter Ellison, said a phone number connected to the email sent to Hamshahri was connected to the satirical website The Chaser, although this did not mean that people connected to The Chaser had sent it.
Julian Morrow, writer, performer and executive producer of the television satire The Chaser, said that he knew nothing about the matter and "it's nothing to do with the television show".
[ On the ABC news tonight, one of the writers for The Chaser admitted sending it! They are known for manufacturing hoaxes!

The editorial in The Australian accuses The Age of double standards when it comes to Leunig's ultra-Left cartoons: they claim not to wish to offend any section of the community, therefore won't be publishing the Mohammed cartoons! MM]

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