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November 20, 2012 2:09 pm

Top American Jewish Leader: Huffington Post Netanyahu Cartoon is “Almost Worse Than Anti-Semitic”

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The most influential Rabbis in the world today are those like Rabbi Marvin Hier, pictured above of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles who aren't afraid to take verbal jackhammers to anti-Semites, notwithstanding the discomfort it breeds among some less-vocal Jews. Photo: Wiesenthal.com.

A prominent Jewish leader who has twice been named by Newsweek at the “most influential Rabbi in America” has blasted the Huffington Post internet newspaper for running a cartoon by a notorious anti-Semite, which depicts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wringing an Arab infant as ballots with his name on them fall from the child’s body.

In an interview with The Algemeiner, Rabbi Marvin Hier, Founder and Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center said that the image by Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff, which relates to Israel’s current operation in Gaza, was “absolutely outrageous and almost worse than an anti-Semitic cartoon.”

“An anti-Semitic cartoon can be recognized by the reader as such,” Hier explained, “But a cartoon where he attempts to show that Netanyahu started this (Israel’s current Pillar of Defense operation) for votes. It is almost worse than an anti-Semitic cartoon comparing Israelis to Nazis. It is an outrageous lie.”

“A respectable newspaper should know that Israel sat back while Hamas lobbed rockets into civilian population centers. Any (Israeli) Prime Minister that didn’t take action would be hounded out of office. Because Netanyahu wants to protect his citizens, he is to be considered as a person who is simply murdering or choking Palestinian children because he wants to be elected?”

Screenshot of the cartoon posted on the Huffington Post's website.

Hier also slammed the cartoonist for his history of publishing cartoons that compare Israelis to Nazis, saying, “This cartoonist does not belong on the Huffington Post, because of his record of being a purveyor of anti-Semitic cartoons.”

“He always compares Israelis to Hitler and the Nazis. For that alone, the Huffington Post should not publish any of his work.”

“If I was a cartoonist working for the Ayatollahs in Iran I would begin submitting cartoons immediately to the Huffington Post,” said the rabbi, drawing a parallel between the Huffington Post cartoon and infamously hateful imagery peddled by the Islamic Republic’s current leaders.

The influential leader who Newsweek described as “one phone call away from almost every world leader, journalist and Hollywood studio head,” said he is considering contacting Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington, whom he says he knows, and asking her to take action. “I say this as someone who knows Arianna Huffington, I am very surprised. I call on them to stop publicizing the works of a notorious anti-Semitic cartoonist. I am shocked by this and I probably will call her,” he said.

“I don’t think it is a good day for the Huffington Post,” Hier concluded.

Earlier today, Hamas tweeted a similar image by the same artist, from its Alqassam Brigades Twitter account.

Anonymous watchdog blog HPMonitor which first drew attention to the publication of the cartoon, called the picture “a modern twist on the classic blood libel against Jews.”

The blogger identified only as Matt wrote, “The Huffington Post and its reporter that published this story, Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, seem to have no problem with this anti-Semitic cartoon, publishing it with no condemnation and in fact support, with Shihab-Eldin claiming Ha’aretz reported Netanyahu’s approval ratings have increased.”

Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, a Huffington Post Live Host/Producer whose name appears alongside the cartoon as the author of the post, which appeared in more than one location, was brought to task earlier this year by The Algemeiner for his support of the Iranian regime.

Another watchdog blogger, at the Huff-Watch blog, wrote that Shihab-Eldin has “been re-Tweeting inflammatory rants from documented anti-Semites, and posting articles containing one-sided, inflammatory pro-Islamist propaganda.”

“His acts could only serve one purpose: to protect Hamas, and falsely vilify and incite hate against Israel,” added Huff-Watch.

The bloggers both point to a systematic climate of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment on the Huffington Post. “The Internet news website the Huffington Post has become a home to a sub sect of commentators expressing anti-Israel hate speech and anti-Semitism,” explains the mission statement of HPMonitor. Huff-Watch writes: “Few are aware, however, that for at least the past two years, Israel and Jews have been HuffPost’s secondary ‘targets.”

At the time of publication, the Huffington Post has not responded to The Algemeiner’s request for comment.

The Huffington Post is the world’s most read online newspaper.

A full image of the offensive cartoon taken from Twitter can be viewed below.

This offensive cartoon by Carlos Latuff.

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