News Briefs

  1/28/2013, Shevat 17, 5773

Rivlin Lashes Out Over Sunday Times Cartoon

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin lashed out at a cartoon published in Britain's Sunday Times showing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu building a wall with Palestinian blood and bodies.

"For the people of Israel, this is a cartoon which recalls the dark journalism from one of humankind's darkest periods," Rivlin wrote in a letter to his British counterpart John Bercow, AFP reported.

The cartoon, which shows a scowling Netanyahu waving a blood-covered trowel, laying bricks in a wall in which distraught-looking Palestinian men, women and children are trapped, caused particular offense because it appeared on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

"As a democrat, I support political criticism but in publishing this cartoon yesterday in London, the boundaries of free speech were crossed," Rivlin wrote, adding, "prejudice had deeply influenced legitimate criticism."

"If a cartoon had been published in Israel showing Britain in a monstrous light and hurting the feelings of the British people in such a mean and nasty way, you wouldn't hesitate to complain to me, and rightly, about crossing the legitimate boundaries of freedom of expression," he said in a direct appeal to Bercow.

Rivlin said Israel was "disappointed" that such images could be published in modern-day Britain, suggesting the cartoon exposed "certain unhealthy undercurrents."