BERLIN/LONDON – Following widespread condemnation on Monday, The Economist has removed a cartoon deemed as anti-Semitic.
However the offending illustration, of US President Barack Obama reaching out to Iran shackled to a congress emblem embossed with Stars of David, is still on a different area of the site.
The cartoon first appeared in the magazine’s January 18 print edition under the headlines Negotiating with Iran, A big gap to close.
Critics blasted the cartoon for suggesting that the US is controlled by Jews and Israel.
The Economist replaced the cartoon, showing Obama and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, with juxtaposed photographs of the two leaders.
The anti-Israel and anti-Jewish aspects of the illustration electrified the blogosphere and twittersphere.
The magazine published an editorial note at the bottom of the article on Monday, “The print edition of this story had a cartoon which inadvertently caused offense to some readers, so we have replaced it with a photograph.”
Middle East media expert Tom Gross told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, “The Economist is perhaps the most influential news weekly in the world – Bill Clinton, for example, said it was the first magazine he looked at each week when he was president – and people take it seriously. So for it to toy with ugly anti-Semitic stereotypes is very dangerous indeed. In some countries, such stereotypes lead directly to physical attacks on Jews, as we saw in Ukraine and elsewhere this week.”
Gross added: “It is not the first time the Economist has employed anti-Semitism as part of what it pretends to be straightforward political commentary. For example, some years ago, it likened [prime minister] Ariel Sharon to Charles Dickens’s infamous anti-Semitic stereotype, Fagin.”