The Times editorial board calls itself “stalwart supporters” of Israel, while the cartoonist responsible for recent charges of anti-Semitism claimed that Trump encourages ‘the expansionist radicalism of Netanyahu.”
By World Israel News Staff
Following expressions of outrage and demands for action over the publication of an anti-Semitic cartoon in the New York Times on April 25, the newspaper’s editorial board published an opinion piece on Tuesday, adding to two previous responses, one of which specifically came from New York Times opinion section, where the caricature appeared.
The board acknowledges that the cartoon had portrayed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a dog wearing a Star of David on a collar, leading U.S. President Donald Trump, depicted as a blind man wearing a skullcap, adding that “however it came to be published, the appearance of such an obviously bigoted cartoon in a mainstream publication is evidence of a profound danger — not only of anti-Semitism but of numbness to its creep, to the insidious way this ancient, enduring prejudice is once again working itself into public view and common conversation.”
The Times had previously claimed that “a single editor working without adequate oversight downloaded the syndicated cartoon and made the decision to include it.”
It added that “such imagery is always dangerous, and at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise worldwide, it’s all the more unacceptable.”
The editorial board picks up on that theme in its op-ed article, writing “that Anti-Semitic imagery is particularly dangerous now” and referring to the deadly attack on a Chabad synagogue in the San Diego area on Saturday and the just-released report which shows that violent-anti-Semitic-attacks in the US doubled in 2018.
“For decades, most American Jews felt safe to practice their religion, but now they pass through metal detectors to enter synagogues and schools,” notes the editorial board.
It also refers to “the even greater hostility and danger” to Jews in Europe.
The board defends its coverage of Israel, insisting that “we have been and remain stalwart supporters of Israel, and believe that good-faith criticism should work to strengthen it over the long term by helping it stay true to its democratic values. But anti-Zionism can clearly serve as a cover for anti-Semitism — and some criticism of Israel, as the cartoon demonstrated, is couched openly in anti-Semitic terms,” it adds.
However, Antonio Moreira Antunes, the cartoonist behind the controversial caricature, appeared unrepentant in an exclusive interview with the Jerusalem Post. Specifically, he told the Post, “What will be the reason why I cannot do a critique of Israeli policy without being immediately categorized as anti-Semitic? I have nothing against the Jews but I have many things against the politics of Israel.” He added, “I try to make critical cartoons of situations that seem to me wrong, unfair and undemocratic.”
The Post says that the cartoonist replied by e-mail to their questions but that he did not explain why he drew a skullcap on Trump’s head.
The Times has been called out by one of its own contributors, Bret Stephens, who wrote in his column that this case of anti-Semitism in the pages of the newspaper is not an isolated incident.
“The Times has a longstanding Jewish problem, dating back to World War II, when it mostly buried news about the Holocaust,” writes Stephens, “and continuing into the present day in the form of intensely adversarial coverage of Israel. The criticism goes double when it comes to the editorial pages, whose overall approach toward the Jewish State tends to range, with some notable exceptions, from tut-tutting disappointment to thunderous condemnation.”