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UPDATED It’s On: Israel Demands Times Apologize for Blood Libel

The Sunday Times has so far denied that the cartoon was anti-Semitic.

Gerald Scarfe

Photo Credit: Yori Yanover

Israel is demanding an apology from London’s The Sunday Times for publishing a cartoon showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu building a wall cemented with Palestinian blood.

Daniel Taub, Israel’s ambassador in London told The Times of Israel that “We generally think that a red line has been crossed and the obligation on the newspaper is to correct that.”

Jon Benjamin, Chief Executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, stated: “The cartoon is shockingly reminiscent of the blood libel imagery more usually found in parts of the virulently anti-Semitic Arab press. Its use is all the more disgusting on Holocaust Memorial Day, given the similar tropes leveled against Jews by the Nazis.”

The cartoon by Gerald Scarfe was published Sunday, which also happened to be International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It shows Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu building a wall with the blood and bodies of Palestinian women and children who are screaming in pain.

The Sunday Times has so far denied that the cartoon was anti-Semitic. In a statement, the News International title described Scarfe’s imagery as “typically robust,” and added: “It is aimed squarely at Mr. Netanyahu and his policies, not at Israel, let alone at Jewish people. It appeared yesterday because Mr. Netanyahu won the Israeli election last week.

“The Sunday Times condemns anti-Semitism, as is clear in the excellent article in yesterday’s magazine which exposes the Holocaust-denying tours of concentration camps organized by David Irving.”

Martin Ivens, the newspaper’s incoming editor in chief, said: “The last thing I or anyone connected with the Sunday Times would countenance would be insulting the memory of the Shoah or invoking the blood libel. The paper has long written strongly in defense of Israel and its security concerns, as have I as a columnist. We are, however, reminded of the sensitivities in this area by the reaction to the cartoon and I will of course bear them very carefully in mind in future.”

Middle East envoy Tony Blair, a former British prime minister, met with Netanyahu on Monday and said he deplored the caricature, a statement from the prime minister’s office said.

Rupert Murdoch whose News Corp. company owns the British newspaper, said via Twitter that the newspaper owes “a major apology for the grotesque, offensive cartoon,” The Jerusalem Post said.

British Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks condemned the cartoon, saying “Whatever the intention, the danger of such images is that they reinforce a great slander of our time: that Jews, victims of the Holocaust, are now perpetrators of a similar crime against the Palestinians. Not only is this manifestly untrue, it is also inflammatory and deeply dangerous.”

 

UPDATE: According to a BBC Report, on Tuesday, January 29, the acting editor of the Sunday Times apologized for the grotesque cartoon published in his paper.  Martin Ivens told a group of British Jewish leadership and community members who met with him to express their outrage over the cartoon, “On behalf of the paper I’d like to apologize unreservedly for the offense we clearly caused. This was a terrible mistake.”

Ivens went on to say “You will know that the Sunday Times abhors anti-Semitism and would never set out to cause offence to the Jewish people – or any other ethnic or religious group. That was not the intention last Sunday.”

In addition, Ivens castigated the cartoonist, who was not present at the meeting.  He said, “Everyone knows that Gerald Scarfe is consistently brutal and bloody in his depictions, but last weekend – by his own admission – he crossed a line.”

Scarfe put up his own response on his website, apologizing abjectly for the timing of the publication of his cartoon, and insisting that he was harpooning Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, but not the Jewish people.

His message stated that he was “stupidly completely unaware that it would be printed on Holocaust Day, and I apologise for the very unfortunate timing.”

The British Jewish communal leadership accepted the apologies and suggested it was time to “move on.”

 

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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13 Responses to “UPDATED It’s On: Israel Demands Times Apologize for Blood Libel”

  1. The entire West Bank is a part of ancient Israel. Judea and Samaria form the heart of the Jewish Homeland and the mere thought that this land id going to be another State is absolutely absurd. The Arabs who live on this land need to abandon their phony claim to a State and adopt Israel as their National Home, or they need to pack up their belongings and move elsewhere. This includes the Gaza Strip as well. Israel as fought several long and bloody wars to secure this land and should never consider giving up one inch of it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why is anyone surprised? The only group that all the world's malcontents, including the UN, can agree on to mock and murder and mock the murder of, is Jews. What amazes me is the liberal Jew and Presbyterian gentile think they will be exempt when this reaches a zenith. Succinctly put, for Hitler of yesterday, and the anti-semites of today, just being a Jew suffices.

  3. Gil Gilman says:

    Ivins' statement is exactly the double tongued effort expected from a fumbling equivocator. The first half of his fallacy is the obvious self-congratulation, followed in the second half by blaming the victim. "If I had realized how sensitive you are, I would have been more careful beating on you. Next time I beat on you, I'll be more careful."

  4. Why the surprise? This is just good old fashioned English anti-Semitism at.
    work. Just look at history for an insight as to how the English feel about Jews.Their refusal to admit the Holocaust survivors into Palestine after the war iss just one example.

  5. Joy Haworth says:

    "If I had realized how sensitive you are, I would have been more careful beating on you. Next time I beat on you, I'll be more careful." – unfortunately alot of people today have that attitude

  6. Gil Gilman says:

    Joy Haworth: all too true

  7. The men in the picture are holocaust survivors. It's a disgrace to defile them again.

  8. Anonymous says:

    just wondering The Times says it was directed against the prime minister Netanyahu, not the Jewish people. as Prime minister Netanyahu, represents the Jewish people that saying doesn't even make sense, shame on them.

  9. Mike Strick says:

    Welcome to Londonstan .England has been bought and paid for.

  10. Charlie Hall says:

    The principal owner of the Times isn't English; he is the Australian-American Rupert Murdoch! Many right wing Jews have deluded themselves into thinking his media outlets like the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, Fox News, and The Times are on our side.

  11. John Whitbread says:

    In a letter of complaint and protest to the Times I expressed something that I have noticed about anti Semitism and the way it works. It is that it impossible to get an anti Semite to understand that they or others are being anti Semitic. It is a blindness that switches in and out and it does not matter how intelligent, qualified or otherwise the person or group are, the disease takes complete hold of the brain and reason is gone. This is what enables the same organization to boast about running a story on how bad it is to deny the holocaust but also print a vile cartoon that is straight out of a Nazi propaganda text book.

  12. The offensive cartoon appeared in an English paper and I am sure it was well received by its' readers. Murdoch as we all know is motivated solely by money . Ideology means nothing to him unless it helps in the accumulation of money.

  13. It will be interesting to see what the cartoonists produce, if the victims of holocaust suddenly appear on Earth! – It is possible that daniel's three friends are a foreword on the matter of being protected and removed from the fires of anti-semetism!'KG'77.

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