The Sunday Times marked Holocaust Memorial Day in a less-than-traditional manner, running a virulently anti-Israel cartoon depicting a big-nosed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu paving a wall with the blood and limbs of writhing Palestinians.
The cartoon included a caption beneath the image entitled "Israeli elections- will cementing peace continue?" Drawn by Gerald Scarfe, the cartoon appeared in the national paper on Sunday.
For a larger version of the cartoon, click here
“This cartoon would be offensive at any time of the year, but to publish it on International Holocaust Remembrance Day is sickening and expresses a deeply troubling mindset,” said European Jewish Congress President Dr. Moshe Kantor. “This insensitivity demands an immediate apology from both the cartoonist and the paper’s editors.”
“Amazingly, as this cartoon was published days after the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel, underwent fully democratic elections, as others in the Middle East were being butchered by the tens of thousands, the Sunday Times focuses its imagination solely on the Jewish State. This contravenes many of the criteria laid out in EUMC’s Working Definition of Antisemitism and is part of a worrying trend to legitimize the growing assault on Israel by opinion-shapers.”
The Sunday Times defended its cartoon in response to charges of anti-Semitism. "This is a typically robust cartoon by Gerald Scarfe,” a spokesman for
the weekly said. “The Sunday Times firmly believes that
it is not anti-Semitic. It is aimed squarely at Mr Netanyahu and
his policies, not at Israel, let alone at Jewish people."
The publication added that the cartoon appeared on Sunday because that was its first issue since Netanyahu won reelection, and reiterated that it opposes anti-Semitism in all its forms.
British anti-Semitism has made headlines throughout the week after Liberal Democrat MP David Ward accused “the Jews” of inflicting violence on Palestinians on a daily basis,” and questioned how they could do this so soon after their “liberation from the death camps.”
He issued something of a backtrack on Saturday evening, in response to condemnation from his party and a huge backlash on social media. “I was trying to make clear that everybody needs to learn the lessons of the Holocaust,” the MP posted on his website.
“I recognize of course the deep sensitivities of these issues at all times, and particularly on occasions of commemoration such as this weekend [Holocaust Memorial Day],” he said.
He added that his criticisms of Israel “remain as strong as ever.”
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton paid a special tribute to Holocaust survivors on Sunday, in a statement released on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Ashton said that the survivors of the Holocaust "remind us of this tragedy that we must never forget."
Jonny Paul contributed to this report