Michael Leunig,described as a poet, cartoonist and cultural commentator, was in 1999 declared an Australian Living Treasure. He started out drawing whimsical teapots and ducks, then turned his focus to attacking those who want to defend civilisation against barbarity – Israel being the number one target – thus ensuring his place as darling of the ABC and the chattering classes.
Leunig has published many cartoons offensive to the Jewish community, but one in particular caused such outrage that The Age refused to publish it, as it was seen as openly anti-Semitic, comparing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to the Nazis’ treatent of Jews during the Holocaust. The cartoon achieved international notoriety after it was entered into an Iranian newspaper competition to find the ‘best’ cartoon about the Holocaust, supposedly as retaliation for the Danish Muhammad cartoons controversy – though what that had to do with Jews is puzzling! Leunig denied he had submitted the cartoon, decrying the act (but not the cartoon) as “malicious and horrible”. It later emerged that the cartoon had been entered as a prank by Richard Cooke, who writes for The Chaser.
Cooke said he received an email reply from an employee at the Iranian newspaper, Hamshahri, Davoud Kazemi, on Sunday saying: “Thanks a lot for sending us your nice cartoon … “
Leunig said he was dreading the next few weeks “because the spotlight has moved from this mischief to the content of the cartoon. I’m expecting hateful criticism”.
Leunig insisted it was “an anti-war cartoon not an anti-Semitic cartoon” HERE:
In 2006, Sharon Lapkin wrote in “Poison Pen: The hateful world of Michael Leunig”
In 2006, the Age published a drawing in which Leunig cast a moral equivalence between Ariel Sharon and the founder of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. The cartoonist referred to Yassin as “an old Palestinian man in a wheelchair”, conveniently omitting the fact that the Sheikh had orchestrated the mass-murder of Israeli civilians through suicide bombings.
…Leunig defines Osama bin Laden and John Howard in morally equivalent terms. Both, he says are “notorious and elusive”. Although, our Prime Minister, he claims, is “drearier than Osama.”
Perhaps the most perverse drawing…was one which The Age editors toned down for fear of upsetting readers. But the unedited version constitutes a debauched attempt at irony where Leunig suggests Howard, Downer and Ruddock should be tortured to force them to tell the truth and in the process be made to “simulate bestial acts…”
Leunig’s cartoons are packed with Christian imagery – light, dark, wings, halos, prayers and clouds. He uses God et. al. as a device to assure his readers that he is morally superior to those he condemns. HERE:
Evan Jones added his voice in “Cartoonists and Israel — the heinous slander”
The calumnies perpetrated by cartoonists against the only democracy in the Middle East, surrounded by barbarous neighbours, increases daily
On 21 November 2012, Michael Leunig published a cartoon on Israel’s seemingly perennial victimisation of the Palestinian population:
The occasion was Israel’s belated disciplining of an uncontrite Gaza, under its neo-Cast Lead Pillar of Cloud/Defence operation — to teach the cursed Hamas a lesson.
It is not the first time that Leunig has broken the rules of decorum, of balance, and, indeed, of intelligence. Leunig has, indeed, has been a serial offender.
For instance, over eight years ago, Leunig fed us this ‘gem’:
(Leunig, The Age, 12 March 2004.)
And on 25 March 2004, Leunig was again entirely unrepentant in The Age: HERE:
However, Leunig has his admirers; The International Committee of the Fourth International rushed to defend him:
Zionists witch-hunt Australia’s leading cartoonist
Zionist commentators, aided and abetted by the Murdoch media, have seized on a malicious hoax to vilify Michael Leunig.
… his antiwar stance and hostility towards the Howard government and the so-called “war on terror” has become increasingly pronounced. His passionate opposition to Israeli repression of the Palestinian people has also made him a hate target of the local Zionist lobby.
Referring to Iran’s cartoon competition on the Holocaust:
Leunig’s cartoon… was drawn in May 2002… during the Israeli military’s bloody assault on the Palestinian towns of Jenin and Ramallah in the West Bank, which killed scores of innocent men, women and children, and its military blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Gawenda offered his own malevolent insinuations. He alleged that the cartoonist was not concerned about Hamshahri’s racist campaign and had “gone out of his way to praise the Iranians.” Leunig’s anger, according to Gawenda, was “beyond belief” because in reality he was “soft” on Islamic fundamentalism.
These baseless slanders against Leunig are based on a simple technique…If you reject the so-called “war on terror” and its associated war crimes then you are with the terrorists…if you oppose the Israeli dispossession and repression of the Palestinian people then you must, like Michael Leunig, support Islamic suicide bombers, Muslim fundamentalism and anti-Semitism.
The witch-hunt against Leunig constitutes a fundamental attack on democratic rights…When asked to comment on the anti-Muslim cartoons, he correctly characterised them as deliberate “taunts” against “an aggrieved and traumatised spiritual community who feel at the mercy of the West’s contempt, ignorance and ruthless military might.”
In 2007, Andrew Bolt wrote:
The Australian Catholic University is awarding an honorary PhD to Age cartoonist Michael Leunig.
… I present here a list of the finest thoughts this great cartoonist has ever committed to paper in the service of fascism, terrorism, bigotry, hatred and ignorance, so often threatened by freedom and love.
Here’s his view on the terrorist whose followers have killed – or financed the killing of – more than 100 Australians:
Might we, can we, find a place in our heart for the humanity of Osama bin Laden and those others? On Christmas Day can we consider their suffering, their children and the possibility that they too have their goodness? It is a family day, and Osama is our relative.
Here’s his view of the Iranian editors who organised a cartoon competition to mock the Holocaust:
They were courteously apologising, they had been co-operative. They cared.
Here’s his view of his own civilisation:
Iraq lies mutilated, traumatised and chaotic. Western civilisation has once more created shit and derision in someone elses home. Has something gone wrong or has it all gone as guaranteed in the primal darkness of the great, white Western mind: this racist, relic treasure we’re told must be defended?
Strange how Leunig can find a place in his heart for the humanity of Osama Bin Laden, but not for the humanity of those who support Western civilization!
The next year, Bolt reported:
Leunig has been interviewed by Iran’s state-owned Press TV…this propaganda arm of the Iranian regime seeks another serve of rabid anti-Israeli propaganda… And Leunig delivers it in steamy barrow-loads:
Q:Why doesn’t the West exert pressure on certain regional countries which have nuclear arsenals?
A: I don’t know. I don’t understand. It is bewildering and a significant cause of despair in the world: this question of exceptionalism and two different sets of rules. This is naked, bold, arrogant hypocrisy it seems.
I think that racism is a huge factor. Certain nations have always felt entitled by their strange sense of genetic superiority to treat other nations badly. They feel entitled to privileges but this is just infantile greed converted into foreign policy and ideology.
Imperialism is very traditional – some historically imperialistic nations are very comfortable with it and think it’s normal and proper.
They don’t understand the pain and trauma they are causing.
Racist, perverse, corrupted… A true friend of totalitarians, is Leunig, our “National Living Treasure”. What Lenin once called a “useful idiot”.
No prizes for guessing who he’s referring to when he mentions exceptionalism, racism and imperialism!
Through Leunig’s distorted lens, Palestinians are innocent victims of Israeli aggression:
“Israeli aircraft bombing Gaza – the tormented little punishment space of one-and-a-half million desperate and helpless Palestinian refugees, half of them children. The Palestinians were being crushed yet again in the most cynical and brutal way – and as if this was not appalling enough, the government of Israel was also trying to tell the world that this chaotic mire of blood and rubble and burnt human flesh was a legitimate and necessary procedure in the making of civilisation and a better world.”
He lambasts the West for fighting jihadis:
“Modern military conflict should not longer be called “warfare”. It is more like mass industrial killing than combat. It is coercive homicide posing as defence, and is radically uneven – or “asymmetrical” as the militarists like to say. In the Western calculation, it means that we do the killing and they do the dying. The children, the mothers, the elderly and the poor do the dying in particular: those not-quite-white people, born in distant unfortunate lands – they do all the wailing and the suffering.”
In 2009, Leunig spoke at a pro-Hamas rally for Gaza sponsored by Australians for Palestine. Ignoring the fact that Israel was defending itself against a genocidal enemy, he declared:
“Our Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister have asked us to abandon conscience on the issue of the Gaza massacre and to submit to the idea that this crime against humanity is somehow appropriate.”
Leunig often attacks Israel, Jews and Christians, secure in the knowledge they are safe targets; however hurt and upset they feel, they will never threaten harm or revenge.
But the latest target of his anger –lycra – initially had me puzzled.
Of course! Our new Prime Minister wears lycra, and he represents all that Leunig hates – Judaeo-Christian values, love of country, a desire to serve the people and to defend Australia against terrorists.
In fact, an affirmation of civilisational norms!