Sunday Times Editor Responds to Outpouring of Criticism Over ‘Blood Libel’ Cartoon

January 28, 2013 11:37 am 0 comments

The anti-Semitic cartoon including The Sunday Times masthead.

The Acting Editor of The Sunday Times responded to criticism leveled at his newspaper over the publishing of a libelous cartoon on Holocaust Memorial Day by telling The Algemeiner in an email, “The last thing I or anyone connected with the Sunday Times would countenance would be insulting the memory of the Shoah or invoking the blood libel.”

While not explicitly expressing regret or offering an apology, Martin Ivens defended his paper’s coverage of Israel, saying, “The paper has long written strongly in defence of Israel and its security concerns, as have I as a columnist. 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.”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, responded to Ivens’s remarks in an email to The Algemeiner:

“What are the consequences if any for the cartoonist? The only thing missing from his canard is some matzah. If no apology is forthcoming he and others like him will defame Israel again and again. I suggest that the Sunday London times bring in Natan Sharansky to explain to their staff the three Ds: double standard, demonization, de-legitimization. When you cross one of those lines you’ve entered the domain of anti-Semitism. P.S. There are five star hotels in Gaza you may want run next to that cartoon.”

The cartoon, published Sunday, was slammed by the ADL as having “a blatantly anti-Semitic theme.”

Raheem Kassam, Editor of The Commentator which first reported on the publication of the shocking image, described the cartoon as depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “large-nosed Jew, hunched over a wall, building with the blood of Palestinians as they writhe in pain within it.”

Penned by Gerald Scarfe (the cartoonist behind Pink Floyd’s The Wall), the caption reads: ‘Israeli Elections… Will Cementing Peace Continue?’” added Honest Reporting which also reported on the image.

“The Sunday Times has clearly lost its moral bearings publishing a cartoon with a blatantly anti-Semitic theme and motif which is a modern day evocation of the ancient ‘blood libel’ charge leveled at Jews,” Michael A. Salberg, ADL International Affairs Director told The Algemeiner. “There is nothing subtle about the caricatured image of Prime Minister Netanyahu using Palestinians and their blood to build a wall to ‘protect’ Israelis,” he added.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews issued a statement Monday criticizing the cartoon that read in part: “This far exceeds any fair or reasonable criticism of Israeli policies. Last week’s Scarfe cartoon showed Bashir Al Assad, the architect of the killing of over 60,000 Syrians in little over a year, steeped in blood. If Scarfe and the Sunday Times think there is any comparison with Israel’s leadership, then they have lost all sense of proportion and reality.”

The Board said it has lodged a complaint with the Press Complaints Commission.

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