July 18, 2019

NY Times Apologizes for Anti-Semitic Cartoon

Photo from Pixabay.

The New York Times issued an official apology on April 28 over their publishing of an anti-Semitic cartoon on April 25.

The cartoon, which appeared in the Times’ international edition above a column about immigration from Thomas Friedman, showed President Donald Trump wearing a yarmulke and sunglasses being guided by a dog with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s head. Progressive Zionist activist Erin Schrode tweeted that the cartoon implied “that the United States is being ‘blindly’ led by Jews and/or the Jewish state.”

In response to backlash from the cartoon, the Times published a statement on April 27 acknowledging that they made “an error of judgment” in publishing it:

The statement was not well-received. Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted, “The offensive image @nytimes published was #antiSemitic propaganda of the most vile sort. This type of content normalizes #antiSemitism by reinforcing tropes of Jewish control, and does so at a time when #antiSemitism is surging.”

Others weighed in:

On April 28, the Times issued another statement saying that they were “deeply sorry” about the cartoon.

“We have investigated how this happened, and learned that, because of a faulty process, a single editor working without adequate oversight downloaded the syndicated cartoon and made the decision to include it on the Opinion page,” the statement read. “The matter remains under review, and we are evaluating our internal processes and training. We anticipate significant changes.”

Greenblatt tweeted that the Times’ apology was “insufficient.”

“New procedures obviously are needed but @nytimes must do more,” Greenblatt wrote, suggesting that the Times start implementing “sensitivity training for their staff on #antiSemitism” and “educate readers on the persistent poison of anti-Jewish hate.”

American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris still had a few questions for the Times:

Times columnist Bret Stephens wrote in an April 28 op-ed that the Times’ decision to publish the cartoon reflected “an astonishing act of ignorance of anti-Semitism — and that, at a publication that is otherwise hyper-alert to nearly every conceivable expression of prejudice, from mansplaining to racial microaggressions to transphobia.”

“Imagine, for instance, if the dog on a leash in the image hadn’t been the Israeli prime minister but instead a prominent woman such as Nancy Pelosi, a person of color such as John Lewis, or a Muslim such as Ilhan Omar,” Stephens wrote. “Would that have gone unnoticed by either the wire service that provides the Times with images or the editor who, even if he were working in haste, selected it?”

Stephens added that “the mainstreaming of anti-Zionism, including by this paper” has resulted in anti-Semitism being viewed “as a form of political opinion, not ethnic prejudice.”

On April 29, a spokeswoman for the Times told the Daily Beast that the newspaper would cease running cartoons from CartoonArts.