1) In mid-October, 10 cartoonists from the NCS and AAEC, including Mike Peters, Michael Ramirez and Chip Bok, were part of a week-long USO entertainment tour to visit troops stationed in Germany and the Persian Gulf.
"The group will visit wounded troops at the USO Warrior Center at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and more than a dozen military bases in the combat zone," stated the press release, posted on The Daily Cartoonist. "Committed to showing their support to America’s Armed Forces, they will also make personalized sketches for troops."
Star & Stripes carried on article on the cartoonist's visit, and Chip Bok posted a photos and links from the trip:
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Then he was off to Egypt and Israel, where he was able to engage in a number of interesting discussions on cartooning and symbols:
The cartoon they showed me would make an American editor choke; it showed a spitting snake, in the shape of a Star of David; inside the snake/star was a peace dove, behind bars, and above the snake, in Arabic, were the words, “It’s not about the bird flu, it’s about the swine flu.” I explained that in America this cartoon would be regarded as anti-Semitic, and it would never be printed.
The Egyptian journalists were emphatic, explaining to me that the cartoon was about Israel, not about Jews - an important distinction to them.
“Israel isn’t mentioned anywhere in the cartoon,” I said.
“But we all know the Jewish star is the symbol of Israel,” they responded.
I said, “It is a religious symbol. It is the same as if I took the star and crescent off of the flag of Pakistan and drew a similar cartoon, saying it was about Pakistan.” They didn’t respond to me, my comment was such nonsense. I continued, “The cartoon seems to say that Jews are like snakes and pigs.”
“No, no! We have lots of symbols for Israel that we all know, like the Jew with black clothes and a big hooked nose!” one of the Egyptian journalists insisted with some passion. “We like Jews, we just don’t like Israel!”
All the cartoonists returned from their adventures safe if not sound.