Max R. sent me the following missive about a cartoon I drew last week that depicted the ultimate solution to what Israelis consider the Arab problem:

You must be unaware of which side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has repeatedly talked about driving the other side into “the sea.” It’s interesting that you managed to turn that Arab threat against Israelis on its head by implying (absurdly) that it’s the Palestinians who face that danger. (Cartoon of 10/2/03) Nice timing, too. It’s true that you couldn’t have known that 19 Israelis (Jews and Arabs) would be killed in Haifa by a suicide bomber — but since those massacres happen like clockwork, you could have expected it.

True. When I drew that cartoon last week, no one from Hamas or Hezbollah was kind enough to drop me a line about upcoming suicide bombings. But what people on BOTH sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict miss is that BOTH sides are the victims of terrorist attacks. The suicide bombers are reprehensible, targeting innocent civilians. So are the Israeli army and air attacks on Gaza and the West Bank. Both sides think they’re retaliating–whatever. In what way does knowing that a suicide bombing will likely occur in Israel next week make it inappropriate to comment on Ariel Sharon’s disgusting policies?

Given your other cartoons, I don’t know why I should think that you care how many Israelis are killed by Palestinian suicide bombers. Still, it’s depressing to see so clearly that Israel’s defense of its citizenry is a joke to you.

With sadness that the Left, whose number I once counted myself among, is so rabidly anti-Israel

I don’t know about “The Left.” I myself resent the notion that criticizing Ariel Sharon makes one anti-Israeli. (Hmmm…sounds familiar, huh?) Of course I care. I care about the harm occuring on both sides of Sharon’s vile Berlin Wall that he’s building to establish a total apartheid state–and that wall is the subject of the cartoon.

Retaliation is a multisyllabic way to refer to lowering yourself to your enemy’s level.