ADL Says Sunday Times Editor Statement “Doesn’t Go Far Enough,” Calls for Clear Apology for ‘Blood Libel’ Cartoon and Acknowledgment of “Anti-Semitic Message”
The Anti Defamation League responded sharply to the statement issued earlier today by Sunday Times Editor Martin Ivens, in response to criticism that has been leveled against his paper over the publication of an anti-Semitic cartoon (pictured left,) saying that Ivens’ statement “doesn’t go far enough.”
In an email sent by a spokesperson to The Algemeiner Ivens pointed to what he says is a history of “defense of Israel” in The Sunday Times. “The paper has long written strongly in defence of Israel and its security concerns, as have I as a columnist,” he said.
Stopping short of offering an apology or expressing regret, Ivens added, “We are however reminded of the sensitivities in this area by the reaction to the cartoon and I will of course bear them very carefully in mind in future.”
The statement from Ivens followed an earlier statement issued Sunday by a Sunday Times spokesperson who said that “This is a typically robust cartoon by Gerald Scarfe. The Sunday Times firmly believes that it is not anti-Semitic. It is aimed squarely at Mr Netanyahu and his policies, not at Israel, let alone at Jewish people.”
Referring to this statement, Michael A. Salberg, ADL International Affairs Director told The Algemeiner that “The initial statement that the Sunday times released yesterday in response to the criticism of the Scafe cartoon, displayed an appalling indifference.”
“The subsequent statement from Martin Ivens is a step in the right direction because it at least acknowledges that the cartoon was seen as offensive,” Salberg said.
However he added, “It doesn’t go far enough.”
“It is quite troubling that the Sunday Times Editor still suggests that the reaction to the cartoon has anything to do with the ‘defense of Israel and its security concerns,'” Salberg explained. “There is a clear line between acceptable comment about Israel and its policies and imagery that is anti-Semitic on its face.”
Salberg called for a much clearer response from the Sunday Times saying, “This is not about ‘sensitivities.’ The Sunday Times needs to acknowledge the anti-Semitic message conveyed by this cartoon and to clearly apologize for running it.”
According to an email published by The Commentator which was sent to Greg Hands MP by the Sunday Times, Ivens plans to meet with “senior community representatives” this week.
The Commentator also reported that Twenty-five Conservative Members of Parliament have written to Ivens today calling for an official apology to be printed in next week’s Sunday Times.
“The Sunday Times has shown uncharacteristically poor judgement in printing this cartoon. Refusal to acknowledge the upset this has caused in the Jewish community and beyond is further evidence of this conclusion,” wrote the MPs.
The Anti Defamation League has described the cartoon as “a modern day evocation of the ancient ‘blood libel’ charge leveled at Jews.”
UPDATE: The Times of Israel reports that the State of Israel is “planning to demand an apology” for the offensive cartoon. “The newspaper should apologize for this. We’re not going to let this stand as it is,” Israeli Ambassador to London Daniel Taub told The Times of Israel.
Additionally, according to a release from the Israel’s government press office, Tony Blair also criticized the cartoon. “Envoy Blair also expressed sharp reservations over the cartoon that was published in The Sunday Times, especially given that it was published on International Holocaust Remembrance Day,” said the communique.