A few weeks ago, David Grossman gave a stunning speech at the rally marking the 11th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s death. I felt the speech was quite memorable and historic and thought it deserved special treatment here and throughout the world. But I couldn’t find visual images which conveyed the full spirit of Grossman or the speech. In situations like this in the past, I’ve found that a cartoon adds a dimension to a blog post that few other media can. First, there is humor if it is a satire or ironic cartoon. Second, there is a powerful visual element often missing from many blogs. Third, cartoons can be pungent and biting in ways that are difficult to muster with mere words.
In the course of my search for visual aids in representing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict here, I happened upon Benjamin Heine’s graphic blog. His drawing is bold, vivid and visually arresting. He is also political engaged. Of course, as a student of Jewish literature one of the first things that came to mind is his last name, Heine. It is the same as the renowned German Jewish author, Heinrich Heine. It turns out that Ben is not related and not even Jewish. But I like a man who shares a last name with such an august artist.
I asked Ben if he’d consider drawing a cartoon of Grossman that I could use. He graciously agreed and today he e mailed me his effort. As I wrote above, it is stunning. The colors are vivid. It perfectly captures Grossman’s soulfulness. I feature it here with pride.
I should add that Ben’s politics and mine are probably not fully aligned regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I am a progressive Zionist who is critical of Israeli policy. Ben would probably not sympathize with the Zionist aspect of my identity. Though I think both of us are mature enough to realize that both sides of this debate can have reasonable things to say to the other. Otherwise, he would not have had the graciousness to create this beautiful image.
Perhaps because of some discomfort with Grossman’s liberal Zionist perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Ben drew an alternative image of Grossman which you can see at his site. He also features two harshly critical critiques of Grossman’s speech by Jonathan Cook and Gilad Atzmon first published at Antiwar.com. I should make clear in my own blog post about the speech I was critical of it in some ways. But I do not share the harshness of the objections raised by anti-Zionists.
To further illustrate Ben’s ecumenism, he features at his blog the same image displayed here. And it accompanies the full English translation of Grossman’s speech. I think it’s admirable for Ben to allow his readers to read both sides and make up their own minds about Grossman’s perspective.