Australian Newspaper Faces Storm of Criticism for Publishing ‘Antisemitic’ Cartoon of Country’s Jewish Treasurer
An Australian newspaper has been accused of antisemitism after publishing an offensive caricature of the country’s Jewish Treasurer.
The cartoon in the Australian Financial Review portrayed a group of government officials as Captain Cook and his team of explorers. Among them is a caricature of Josh Frydenberg, the Treasurer of Australia, who is pictured as a hook-nosed Jewish stereotype toting a gold staff in the shape of a dollar sign.
Frydenberg has served as the Treasurer of Australia, roughly equivalent to the minister of finance, since 2018. He is of Jewish ancestry and his mother is a Holocaust survivor.
The cartoon resulted in a storm of criticism on social media, the Australian Jewish News reported, with users calling the cartoon an “antisemitic piece of garbage” and a “beyond despicable portrayal of our treasurer using racist stereotypes,” and declaring “Hitler would love this!”
Alex Ryvchin, the co-CEO of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, addressed the cartoonist, David Rowe, saying, “Is that the treasurer depicted with a head covering, hook nose and a dollar sign?”
Rowe replied, “It is Josh but he’s wearing a sailor’s cap as per the E. Phillips Fox painting of Cook’s landing. And yes, he’s carrying a dollar harpoon because he’s the treasurer. As for the nose it’s just a quick sketch.”
“Apologies if you thought I was suggesting something else,” he added.
Hi alex, it is josh but he's wearing a sailors cap as per the ephillips fox painting of Cooks landing. and yes he's carrying a dollar harpoon because he's the treasurer as for the nose it's just a quick sketch .apologies if you thought I was suggesting something else
— david rowe (@roweafr) June 6, 2020
Ryvchin appeared to accept the apology, telling the Australian Jewish News, “Cartoons are subjective and often the public will infer meanings that aren’t there or that the artist never intended.”
“This is why I felt it was best to seek a clarification from the cartoonist rather than jumping to conclusions and I’m glad the clarification was issued swiftly,” he added.
A tweet containing the image appears to have been removed from Twitter.