Illustrator Scarfe apologizes for timing of cartoon

By JTA
January 30, 2013 12:28

Sunday Times cartoonist says he was unaware controversial cartoon would be published on International Holocaust Day.

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'Sunday Times' anti-Semitic cartoon

'Sunday Times' anti-Semitic cartoon 370. (photo credit:Courtesy)

The illustrator of an editorial cartoon depicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu building a wall on the bodies of Palestinians and using their blood as cement apologized for the timing of its publication.

In a statement printed on his official website, Gerald Scarfe emphasized that "I am not, and never have been, anti-Semitic." He said the drawing, published January 27 - International Holocaust Memorial Day - in The Sunday Times, was "a criticism of Netanyahu, and not of the Jewish people: there was no slight whatsoever intended against them."

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"I was, however, stupidly completely unaware that it would be printed on Holocaust Day, and I apologize for the very unfortunate timing," the statement concluded.

Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp. owns the Sunday Times through a subsidiary, said on Twitter that the paper should apologize for printing the cartoon.

"Gerald Scarfe has never reflected the opinions of the Sunday Times," Murdoch tweeted Monday. "Nevertheless, we owe major apology for grotesque, offensive cartoon."

Murdoch's statement was made in response to criticism from leaders of the Jewish community in the UK who said the drawing was reminiscent of anti-Semitic blood libels.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews, an umbrella organization, filed a complaint with the independent Press Complaints Commission, the Guardian reported, and incoming Sunday Times editor Martin Ivens told The Jerusalem Post that he would meet with leaders of the British Jewish community this week over reaction to the cartoon.

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