A cartoon in a regional German paper on Tuesday depicted Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu as poisoning the Middle East peace process, sparking accusations that
the daily Stuttgarter Zeitung (StZ) stokes anti- Semitism and stereotypes of
Jews and Israel.
The cartoon shows Netanyahu seated on a park bench with
a bottle of poison labeled “Settlement construction” that he pours onto a piece
of bread. An olive-branch-bearing dove marked “Middle East peace” appears next
to Netanyahu apparently waiting to be fed the contaminated bread.
Israeli Embassy in Berlin on Wednesday told The Jerusalem Post that it sent a
letter “protesting the drawing” to Joachim Dorfs, the editor-in-chief of StZ,
located in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg.
Germany argue that the cartoon conjures up the medieval anti-Semitic myth that
Jews were to blame for plagues in Europe because they intentionally poisoned
Dr. Elvira Grözinger, a member of the German branch of Scholars
for Peace in Middle East, accused the editors of StZ, by email, of replicating
the content of the Nazi-era paper Der Stürmer, adding, “Earlier one murdered and
persecuted Jews because they were poisoners of wells. Shame on you! The world is
burning around Israel, but for you, once again, the Jews are to blame for
Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center‘s
Israel office and coordinator for the organization’s Nazi war crimes research
worldwide, told the Post on Wednesday that “Once again, a respected German
newspaper singles out Israel for criticism, in this case, in connection with the
peace talks. A much more accurate presentation of the situation, would portray
Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] honoring terrorist
murderers, while posing as an ostensibly serious partner for the current peace
Speaking from Stuttgart with the Post on Wednesday, StZ’s
deputy editor, Michael Maurer, said the paper “rejects the accusation of
He added that the paper “regrets that feelings were
offended” and said that the news outlet would not print the cartoon
Maurer said the embassy’s letter accused the paper of employing
“stereotypes,” but did not charge the StZ with anti-Semitism. He called the
embassy’s letter “moderate, reasonable and understandable.”
StZ plans to
answer the embassy’s letter, Maurer added.
The controversial anti- Israel
cartoon prompted criticism from the daughter of late Austrian-Jewish composer
and singer Georg Franz Kreisler. The caption under the cartoon refers to
Kreisler’s song “Poisoning Pigeons,” which has no connection to
Kreisler’s daughter, Sandra, expressed outrage on her Facebook
She called those responsible at the StZ for the cartoon “a-- holes”
for using her father’s name in connection with a cartoon that is not her
father’s opinion and has no relation to the quoted song.
She wrote that
the presentation of the cartoon was “anti- Semitic and the content
Kreisler said she expects a clarification and apology from the
StZ cartoonist for dishonoring her father.
She wrote that Israel has
worked over the years for a peaceful solution, but the Arab countries have no
interest in solving the conflict.
She blasted the EU for funneling
millions in cash to the “millionaire Abbas” so long as the conflict continues
Maurer told the Post that the paper plans to publish a
statement in Thursday’s edition.
The StZ row follows an alleged
anti-Semitic cartoon scandal last month in the Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung
depicting Israel as a ravenous monster.