October 13, 2019

Canadian Paper Apologizes for Anti-Semitic Cartoon

Photo from Flickr.

A Canadian newspaper apologized on Aug. 9 for running an anti-Semitic cartoon on Aug. 1.

The Edmonton Journal published a cartoon by cartoonist Malcolm Mayes in their print edition that read, “What’s in your wallet?” In the wallet is a Capital One credit card and a man resembling anti-Semitic Jewish stereotypes typing on a “Data Hacker” laptop, referencing the July 30 Capital One data breach that compromised more than 100 million Americans and Canadians. The alleged hacker, 33-year-old Paige Thompson, is not Jewish.

In response to backlash from myriad Jewish groups about the cartoon being anti-Semitic, the Edmonton Journal acknowledged on their website “that the image of the person bears resemblance to anti-Semitic tropes prevalent in some anti-Jewish propaganda. This resemblance was entirely unintentional, but given that association, the Edmonton Journal apologizes for the publication of the cartoon. We are re-examining the procedures we have in place to vet editorial content to avoid future such occurrences.”

The Jewish Federation of Edmonton thanked the Edmonton Journal on their Facebook page later in the day for apologizing, but said they were still “deeply disturbed that it was published” and that they’re going to meet with the publication “to ensure it does not happen again and to hold everyone to account should something similar occur in the future.”

Honest Reporting Canada, a pro-Israel news website, similarly thanked the Edmonton Journal for their apology but voiced concern “about the vetting process at the Journal in light of this cartoon’s publication. We’re appreciative that the Edmonton Journal has agreed to meet with HonestReporting Canada next week to discuss this matter in Edmonton. We look forward to discussing how the Journal can institute strict editorial policies to ensure that only constructive opinions are printed by the publication, and not caricatures that fan the flames of hatred.”

Toronto Sun columnist Lorrie Goldstein didn’t buy the Edmonton Journal’s apology, tweeting: “The [Edmonton] Journal’s explanation is their cartoonist, unintentionally & by pure coincidence, happened to draw an old Jewish male using a vile stereotype worthy of Der Stürmer, when the story he was commenting on was about a 33-year-old female who isn’t Jewish. Makes perfect sense.”

B’nai Brith Canada Manager of Public Affairs Abraham Silverman wrote in a letter to the editor in the Edmonton Journal on Aug. 9, “I would ask the Edmonton Journal editors to be more sensitive to cartoons that could be deemed unnecessarily offensive to some of your readers.”

Anti-Semitic hate crimes in Canada rose by 16.5 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to B’nai Brith Canada. The organization’s CEO, Michael Mostyn, said in May that the numbers reflect “a disturbing new normal when it comes to anti-Semitism in this country.”