Israeli ambassador to Britain Daniel Taub has demanded an official apology today after the Sunday Times published a cartoon portraying Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu building a wall on the bodies of Palestinians, insisting it was “classical anti-Semitism.”
Several Israeli officials and international Jewish groups are up in arms about the cartoon, with Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin saying that the cartoon “blatantly crossed the line of freedom of expression.” Yuli Edelstein, Israel’s Public Affairs Minister, insisted that there was no official response planned. Ambassador Taub appeared to have other ideas, however, and issued his own statement shortly thereafter, adding “we’re not going to let this stand.”
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) claimed that the cartoon amounted to blood libel because blood was shown in the cartoon, while the European Jewish Congress condemned it as “sickening,” noting that Netanyahu had won an election just days before and claiming that such a portrayal of the Israeli Prime Minister violates the EU’s “working definition of antisemitism.”
Israeli newspaper Haaretz poked fun at the outrage, insisting that Netanyahu is in and of himself neither a Jewish symbol nor the global representative of the Jews, and insisting that the claims of “blood libel” were silly and a distortion of history.
And while Sunday Times owner Rupert Murdoch condemned the cartoon as well, and insisted that it should never have been allowed, the paper’s editor defended the cartoon, saying that specifically targeting one Israeli official didn’t amount to anti-Semitism. Needless to say, much of the Israeli right and their supporters strongly disagree.
Cartoonist Gerald Scarfe, who has been with the Sunday Times for 44 years, insisted he “regrets” that the cartoon was published on Holocaust Memorial Day, saying he had no idea that would happen.