The Melbourne Age cartoonist Michael Leunig is often vilified in my neck of the woods for taking the other side in Israel's ongoing war of survival against the forces that are dedicated to wiping it off the map and to killing Jews.
The wrong side.
After all, Leunig is the man whose work was gleefully accepted earlier in the year by the Iranian madmen for their blatantly anti-Semitic cartoon propaganda fest, a person who awoke one night and strolled out into the hills and dales surrounding his farmhouse and found the hand of god guiding him, a person who through his cartoons portrayed the mass murderer Sheik Yassin, the planner of 60 suicide bombings and co-author of the Hamas Charter which calls on his people to "kill the Jews", as a kindly old man in a wheelchair and who more recently falsely claimed that Israel deliberately targets civilians when in reality it attacks bloodthirsty terrorists (and his blood libel was published in the Age in a different form on consecutive days as if telling the lie once wasn't enough)!
Well, they might vilify him, call him an anti-Semite or just a plain sicko but I won't have a bar of that! I say this is a man who is capable of producing brilliant work that shows not only his funny side but also that he can be a very deep thinker when it comes to matters political.
Take his latest work of art which appeared yesterday in The Age.
This cartoon classic depicts a person sitting in front of his television set and the words coming from the screen say, "Israel is using collective punishment against the Lebanese…"
The little person must be one of them Zionists because he becomes visibly upset at this and screams at his TV set:
"Bias! What about some balance! … jerk!"
As if on cue, the commentator adds:
"… and to balance this and give the other side of the picture:
Israel is using collective punishment against the Palestinians as well."
Now that's not only knee slapping, hilarious humour but it's a brilliant and accurate depiction of how The Age and its staff deal with any accusation of bias that might be leveled at it in the context of this conflict.
With total and utter contempt for the Jews!
Leunig answers the charge that the media is not balanced by "balancing" the claim that the Lebanese are being collectively punished by Israel with the claim that the Palestinians are being collectively punished by Israel.
Fine. That's his opinion and he's entitled to it.
However, Hizbullah and Hamas, who surely have something to do with the ongoing war in this region and who initiated the latest rounds of violence, are nowhere to be seen in Leunig's picture even though both are dedicated to wiping out Israel and to the killing of Jews.
Nor do we see the Syrians or genocide threatening Iranians who have armed the terrorists to the hilt – terrorists that don't baulk at the prospect of attacking innocent civilians and killing them in cold blood.
Nor the million people who live in northern Israel and who have been under attack from Hizbullah's rockets for the past month.
Nor the entire Israeli population that has lived for six years with the threat of suicide bombers, snipers and knife-wielding fanatics.
These people are not on the Age's radar and certainly not on that of Leunig. In their world, the only practitioner of "collective punishment" in the region is an Israel that lacks humanity - not the terrorists whose inhuman acts and vile, murderous traits they carefully airbrush out of existence.
The terrorists are nowhere to be seen...
... except on those blank pages that have been conveniently hidden away from everybody's view.