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Murdoch apologizes for 'offensive' Netanyahu cartoon
Published Tuesday 29/01/2013 (updated) 31/01/2013 19:08
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LONDON (Reuters) -- Rupert Murdoch apologized on Monday for a "grotesque" cartoon in his London-based Sunday Times newspaper depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu building a bloody wall trapping the bodies of Palestinians, after complaints from Jewish groups.

The image, which shows Netanyahu holding a trowel dripping blood, was published on Holocaust Memorial Day and carried the caption "Israeli elections. Will cementing peace continue?"

The Board of Deputies of British Jews said the cartoon was "shockingly reminiscent of the blood libel imagery more usually found in parts of the virulently anti-Semitic Arab press".

The so-called "blood libel" - accusations that Jewish peoples murder children and use their blood in rituals - go back centuries and have led to persecution and attacks.

The wall image by the weekly paper's cartoonist Gerald Scarfe was a reference to the barrier that Israel has been building for a decade on West Bank territory.

The project was launched at the height of a Palestinian uprising and was billed as a way to stop suicide bombers from penetrating the country, although rights groups say nearly 85 percent of the wall's route runs through the West Bank, annexing Palestinian land.

The Sunday Times's acting editor was due to meet Jewish community leaders in Britain on Tuesday to express his regrets over the cartoon, said a spokesman for Murdoch's News International, the paper's publisher.

Murdoch said Scarfe had never reflected the opinions of the Sunday Times. "Nevertheless, we owe major apology for grotesque, offensive cartoon," he said in a Twitter message.

The Board of Deputies, representing Jewish communities in Britain, said it had lodged a complaint over the image with the Press Complaints Commission, an industry-run watchdog.

"Its use is all the more disgusting on Holocaust Memorial Day, given the similar tropes leveled against Jews by the Nazis," the board added.

The paper denied the cartoon was anti-Semitic, saying it was aimed at Netanyahu and not the Israeli people. It said the timing of its publication was linked to the victory of Netanyahu's party in last week's Israeli elections.

"The last thing I or anyone connected with the Sunday Times would countenance would be insulting the memory of the Shoah (the Holocaust) or invoking the blood libel," said Martin Ivens, who was appointed as the paper's acting editor earlier this month.

"We are however reminded of the sensitivities in this area by the reaction to the cartoon and I will of course bear them very carefully in mind in future," he added.

Ivens was expected to tell Jewish leaders that the cartoon was a case of "bad taste and extremely bad timing", the News International spokesman said.

Scarfe told Britain's Jewish Chronicle he had been unaware it was Holocaust Memorial Day on Sunday and regretted the timing of the cartoon's publication.
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1 ) Israel bad / Experiment
29/01/2013 17:23
Whats wrong .. Cant handle looking in mirror..

2 ) z / z
29/01/2013 17:45
"The Board of Deputies of British Jews said the cartoon was "shockingly reminiscent of the blood libel imagery more usually found in parts of the virulently anti-Semitic Arab press"." so they use a racist statement to say the non racists drawing is racist.

3 ) Mel / USA
29/01/2013 17:56
Jeeez!That's ? the 1st honest thing Rupie's published in DECADES,& obviously politically timed & sounds like the cartoon is ACCURATE?And,Zionist Rupie,&Scarfe,owe NO apology to Mr."grotesque","obnoxious"Bibi(RU proud of me daddyB-Z)Yahu.They owe apologies to10 MILLION PALESTIANS,not RAVSHATZ-Yahu!DON'T confuse Revisionist/Monist-Zionists--the ones who really insult "the memory of the Shoah"victims--with global Judaism,itself NOT an oppressed VICTIM now!The PALESTINIAN people are the VICTIMS!

4 ) carlos / usa
29/01/2013 18:33
The problem is the cartoon was accurate. The cartoon was not anti semitic.

5 ) Carlos / usa
29/01/2013 18:43
My hat is off to Gerald Scarfe for his accurate portrayal of the situation in israel/Palestine. As the old die and leave the young to fill thier shoes, feeble old men who hide the truth will no longer be able to hide the truth. There was no blood libel. The israelis are targeting innocent civilians, destroying peoples ability to live, destroying water wells, solar panels and murderering who ever is convenient. There is no blood libel. Everyday last week israel murdered at least 1 teenager.

6 ) gabi / australia
30/01/2013 03:59
# 2- isn't it marvellous? "They" aren't allowed to be racist, but we are. Why? Just because.

7 ) michael hall / earth
31/01/2013 17:28
Apologize? For accuracy? The illegal state of israel is built upon the bones of the Palestinian people.

8 ) ian / australia
31/01/2013 23:53
The cartoon shows Bibi as an evil looking bricklayer in a singlet, building a wall crushing Palestinians. They're not dead; they're caught, stuck and crying out in agony. In a dramatic touch the mortar is red, like blood. Given Bibi IS building a wall traumatising Palestinians who ARE trapped and crushed by it and the IDF HAS been especially "active" lately, it's all quite accurate (apart from the mortar...and singlet). But some people live to be offended and they're NEVER happier than when the

9 ) ian / australia
31/01/2013 23:54
(contd.) "blood libel" can be cranked out. But it's not anti-Semitic because it's critical of the ACTIONS of Likud Israel, not "Jews" and he's not making matzos with Christian blood, he's building the illegal "separation fence", which is NO fantasy. (Didn't Gerald Scarfe draw Tony Blair standing on a pile of corpses and Maggie Thatcher biting the head off something, Ozzy Osbourne-style? No-one mortally offended there. He's an extreme cartoonist with a retro look that recalls earlier styles).

10 ) ian / australia
31/01/2013 23:56
(contd.) But here's the sneaky bit: "Its use is all the more disgusting on Holocaust Memorial Day, given the similar tropes leveled against Jews by the Nazis..." Outrage about Holocaust Day and an apology from Rupe is pure theatre. A publicist's coup. It's also promotion for a memorial day which hasn't really taken off (frankly it's proved a big fizzer), with most people (inc. Gerald Scarfe) not even knowing when it is. Then the zinger: "similar tropes leveled against Jews by the Nazis..." Ouch!

11 ) ian / australia
31/01/2013 23:58
(contd.) If you're going to slur a guy make it a big one. According to the Board of Deputies, the jury is IN (if it ever went out) Scarfe, 76-year-old anti-war lefty (and CBE), is a Nazi! It's not something being debated; It's established fact...even though the cartoon is about PM Netanyahu and contemporary Israeli actions and NOTHING else. So, does he still have a job or will he go the Helen Thomas way? (You do NOT want to mess with these guys!)

12 ) Maureen / Australia
09/02/2013 20:22
Do British Jews read the newspapers with photos of dead Palestinian children that have been 'accidently' killed/maimed during one of the Israel's ethnic cleansing raids?

13 ) sylvia / uk
13/02/2013 18:27
Frankly I'm sick to death of "Holocaust day" - isn't it time we had a world-wide OFFICIAL Nakba day?
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