In midst of apology for one anti-Semitic cartoon, ‘New York Times’ publishes yet another
Norwegian cartoonist Roar Hagen depicts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with sinister eyes taking a picture of himself with a selfie-stick, carrying in what appears to be an empty desert with a tablet featuring the Israeli flag painted on it.
(April 29, 2019 / JNS) Despite apologizing on Sunday for running an anti-Semitic cartoon that ran in its international edition on Thursday, The New York Times published another anti-Semitic cartoon in the same edition over the weekend.
The weekend cartoon by Norwegian cartoonist Roar Hagen depicts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with sinister eyes taking a picture of himself with a selfie-stick, carrying in what appears to be an empty desert a tablet featuring the Israeli flag painted on it.
The cartoon also resembles a different one from the same cartoonist featuring Netanyahu carrying a tablet that resembles the Ten Commandments, which the Israelites received in the desert after fleeing their enslaved lives in Egypt, in what appears to be a desert being followed by a sinister-looking U.S. President Donald Trump, both walking in the opposite parallel of a directional sign marked “Golan,” a reference to the Golan Heights.
Trump officially recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan last month.
The Times did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Thursday’s cartoon featured U.S. President Donald Trump wearing a yarmulke, sporting dark-tinted glasses and being led by a dog with the face of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a large blue Star of David hanging from its collar.
On Sunday, the publication said that it was “deeply sorry,” and that it “investigated how this happened and learned that, because of a faulty process, a single editor working without adequate oversight downloaded the syndicated cartoon and made the decision to include it on the Opinion page. The matter remains under review, and we are evaluating our internal processes and training. We anticipate significant changes.”
Times columnist Bret Stephens responded harshly to Thursday’s cartoon, which was printed above a column about immigration from Thomas L. Friedman.
“Here was an image that, in another age, might have been published in the pages of Der Stürmer,” he wrote in a piece published on Sunday. “The Jew in the form of a dog. The small but wily Jew leading the dumb and trusting American. The hated Trump being Judaized with a skullcap. The nominal servant acting as the true master. The cartoon checked so many anti-Semitic boxes that the only thing missing was a dollar sign.”
“The image also had an obvious political message: Namely, that in the current administration, the United States follows wherever Israel wants to go,” continued Stephens. “This is false—consider Israel’s horrified reaction to Trump’s announcement last year that he intended to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria—but it’s beside the point. There are legitimate ways to criticize Trump’s approach to Israel, in pictures as well as words. But there was nothing legitimate about this cartoon.”
Stephens added, “The problem with the cartoon isn’t that its publication was a willful act of anti-Semitism. It wasn’t. The problem is that its publication was an astonishing act of ignorance of anti-Semitism—and that, at a publication that is otherwise hyper-alert to nearly every conceivable expression of prejudice, from mansplaining to racial microaggressions to transphobia.”
Andrea Levin, president and executive director of CAMERA, told JNS that is “striking” that the Times would publish another cartoon that denigrates Netanyahu just days after the latest firestorm.
“In the midst of a firestorm of criticism about the Times publishing an antisemitic cartoon on April 25, it’s striking that three days later editors choose to publish yet another image that caricatures and denigrates Israel’s prime minister and links the message to Judaism [italics intended],” she said.
“The second cartoon may not sink to the same level of Der Stürmer-like bigotry as the first but its publication points to the Times’ obsession with smearing Israel and, in particular, to its continuous expressions of contempt for the nation’s elected leader. It also points to the contempt of the media giant toward public concerns regarding biased depictions of Israel and Jewish issues.”
“At a moment when readers might expect greater sensitivity in coverage of these issues, the message appears to be more in the vein of a crude expletive than a reassurance,” said Levin.
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, also criticized The New York Times for its latest cartoon, calling it “insensitive, inappropriate and offensive.”