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January 20, 2014 4:00 pm

Jewish Groups Rip Economist Over ‘Anti-Jewish’ Cartoon, ADL Calls for ‘Full Apology’ (UPDATE)

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The offensive economist cartoon. Photo: Screenshot.

Jewish groups sharply criticized the publication by The Economist on Saturday of a cartoon depicting Jewish control over President Obama to the detriment of the United States.

The image, “unmistakably conveys a distinctly anti-Jewish message by inappropriately employing imagery representing an age old anti-Semitic myth of undue Jewish control,” Michael A. Salberg, Associate National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in an email to The Algemeiner. “This message conjures up another classical anti-Semitic myth, the dangerous accusation that Jews have a dual loyalty and, when it comes to Israel, will act on behalf of Israel to the detriment of the security of the US.”

The offensive economist cartoon. Photo: Screenshot.

The caricature shows President Obama reaching across a ravine to shake the hand of Iranian President Rouhani. Obama is shackled to a heavy looking congressional seal emblazoned with Jewish stars. The accompanying article, entitled “Negotiating with Iran: A big gap to close,” is about the recently inked U.S. led deal between Iran and world powers over the country’s nuclear weapons program. The piece cites Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s vocal opposition to the deal.

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Criticizing the cartoonist, Peter Schrank, Salberg said, “The Economist and Schrank should know better than to promote these offensive, harmful and hate-filled concepts.  They owe their readers a full apology.”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said “the cartoon fails to deliver anything but the classic Israel controls Congress stereotype.”

“The cartoon’s effect is to reinforce anti-Israel stereotypes,” he said.

Writing for The Times of Israel, Eylon Aslan-Levy, a student leader based in the UK, declined to directly accuse the respected publication of providing a platform for anti-Semitism.

“I shan’t accuse The Economist directly of anti-Semitism, but it bears repeating that the EUMC Working Definition, adopted by the British government, covers ‘stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as… the myth … of Jews controlling the… government’ and also covers ‘using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism… to characterise Israel or Israelis,'” he wrote, inviting readers “to draw their own conclusions.”

In the past, The Economist has been accused of anti-Israel bias, and has been mistaken in its reporting on matters relating to Jews and Israel.

UPDATE: On Monday afternoon, The Economist removed the offending image from its website. An “editor’s note” at the end of the page said, “The print edition of this story had a cartoon which inadvertently caused offence to some readers, so we have replaced it with a photograph.” The cartoon still remains visible on the publication’s Middle East & Africa landing page.

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