In a meeting with British Jewish Leaders earlier today, the Acting Editor of The Sunday Times Martin Ivens apologized “unreservedly” for running a cartoon on International Holocaust Memorial Day that was described by the Anti Defamation League as “a modern day evocation of the ancient ‘blood libel’ charge leveled at Jews.”
The cartoon by Gerald Scarfe which depicts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu building a wall with the bodies and blood of Palestinian Arabs caused an international outcry, prompting an apology yesterday from Sunday Times owner Rupert Murdoch, who described the cartoon as “grotesque.”
After an initial defense of the cartoon from the paper, followed by a reserved statement attempting explanation from Ivens, the Editor finally issued the full apology saying, “on behalf of the paper I’d like to apologise unreservedly for the offence we clearly caused. This was a terrible mistake.”
Ivens implied that his regret was specifically a product of the timing of the cartoon rather than for the content itself, saying, “The timing – on Holocaust Memorial Day – was inexcusable. The associations on this occasion were grotesque [...]”
Mick Davis, Chair of The Jewish Leadership Council, a Jewish representative body, whose leaders attended the meeting, accepted the apology from Ivens. “I welcome the genuine apology from the Sunday Times. I appreciate the urgency and respect with which the Sunday Times have treated Jewish communal concerns and now look forward to constructively moving on from this affair,” he said, according to a release.