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Acting Editor of British Newspaper Apologizes for Cartoon

Acting editor of Sunday Times apologizes for the cartoon which depicts Netanyahu building a wall with the bodies of Arabs.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 1/30/2013, 4:42 AM

London
London
Reuters

The acting editor of Britain's Sunday Times newspaper apologized Tuesday for the cartoon that sparked accusations of anti-Semitism when it was printed on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, AFP reported.

The cartoon by Gerald Scarfe depicts a scowling Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu waving a blood-covered trowel, laying bricks in a wall in which PA Arab men, women and children are trapped. Underneath are the words, "Israeli elections - will cementing peace continue?"

The acting editor, Martin Ivens, met with representatives of the Jewish community to say he was sorry for the image, saying, “The Sunday Times abhors anti-Semitism and would never set out to cause offence to the Jewish people -- or any other ethnic or religious group.

“That was not the intention last Sunday. Everyone knows that Gerald Scarfe is consistently brutal and bloody in his depictions, but last weekend -- by his own admission -- he crossed a line,” said Ivens.

The newspaper's owner, media baron Rupert Murdoch, had apologized on Monday, tweeting, "Gerald Scarfe has never reflected the opinions of The Sunday Times. Nevertheless, we owe major apology for grotesque, offensive cartoon."

The cartoon sparked condemnation in Britain and Israel, particularly as it appeared on Holocaust Remembrance Day. Ambassador Daniel Taub, who represents Israel in London, commented on the cartoon, saying, "Israelis have a longstanding commitment to free speech and a high threshold for tolerating strong and even provocative criticism. This cartoon, however, bears no relation whatsoever to legitimate political comment.”

It was also blasted by the European Jewish Congress, which demanded that the Sunday Times publish an apology, and by commentators.

Ivens said the timing of the publication was “inexcusable.”

“The associations on this occasion were grotesque and on behalf of the paper I'd like to apologize unreservedly for the offence we clearly caused,” he added, according to AFP.

Britain’s Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks said in response to the cartoon, “The deplorable cartoon published in The Sunday Times on Holocaust Memorial Day, whether anti-Semitic or not, has caused immense pain to the Jewish community in the UK and around the world.

“Whatever the intention, the danger of such images is that they reinforce a great slander of our time: that Jews, victims of the Holocaust, are now perpetrators of a similar crime against the Palestinians. Not only is this manifestly untrue, it is also inflammatory and deeply dangerous.”