The Week Takes Down ‘Ludicrous’ Star of David Graphic After Social Media Uproar
After drawing widespread outrage from Jewish leaders and observers, The Week magazine removed a graphic Thursday evening that depicted a blue Star of David encircling and covering the eyes of US President Joe Biden, which had accompanied a column criticizing Israel’s efforts to prevent a US return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
The opinion article — entitled “Israel is testing Biden,” written by The Week national correspondent Ryan Cooper — said that Israel “clearly thinks it can interfere with America’s pursuit of its strategic interests,” taking issue with the attack on Iran’s nuclear enrichment facility at Natanz that has been attributed to Israel, as parties to the 2015 deal meet in Vienna for talks to revive it.
Before it was swapped for a straightforward illustration featuring President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, The Week’s graphic drew a sharp rebuke from many readers, who said it drew on classic antisemitic tropes.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Algemeiner that the image suggested that Israel was “boxing in, or controlling, or even imprisoning the President of the United States.”
“The assumption here is that Israel controls America, or controls the president; it’s very convenient,” Cooper said. “The only possible reason that they can think about the US maybe doing something or hesitating to make a move on Iran is because it’s dictated by Israel — it’s ludicrous on its face.”
Cooper said the graphic would “enthrall … antisemites, conspiracy theorists, and — first and foremost — the Iranians and their acolytes here in the United States” and elsewhere. “This visual’s going to be a keeper, it’s going to do damage to us,” he said.
“Who wore it better?” tweeted the Stop Antisemitism group, which drew a comparison between an infamous 2019 New York Times cartoon that triggered widespread accusations of bigotry.
— StopAntisemitism.org (@StopAntisemites) April 15, 2021
Michael Dickson, Executive Director of the the StandWithUs advocacy group, asked on Twitter, “Who edits @TheWeek? David Duke??”
Other Twitter users noted with chagrin that the offending graphic was published on the same day as Israel’s 73rd Independence Day.