RUPERT Murdoch has apologised for a “grotesque” cartoon carried in one of his British newspapers showing the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, building a wall with Palestinian bodies.
The acting editor of the Sunday Times, Martin Ivens, was due to meet members of the Jewish community in Britain on Tuesday to apologise after they made a formal complaint to media regulators.
The cartoon by Gerald Scarfe shows a scowling Mr Netanyahu waving a blood-covered trowel, laying bricks in a wall in which Palestinian men, women and children are trapped. Underneath are the words, ‘‘Israeli elections – will cementing peace continue?’’
Mr Murdoch said on Twitter Scarfe had “never reflected the opinions of the Sunday Times. Nevertheless, we owe major apology for grotesque, offensive cartoon.”
The image in the newspaper sparked condemnation in Britain and Israel, particularly because of its timing, appearing on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“For the people of Israel, this is a cartoon which recalls the dark journalism from one of humankind’s darkest periods,” Israel’s parliamentary speaker, Reuven Rivlin, wrote in a letter to his British counterpart, John Bercow.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews lodged a complaint with the Press Complaints Commission over what it said was an “appalling” and “disgusting” cartoon.
It said it was “shockingly reminiscent of the blood libel imagery more usually found in parts of the virulently anti-Semitic Arab press”.
In a statement, Ivens said: “The last thing I or anyone connected with the Sunday Times would countenance would be insulting the memory of the Shoah or invoking the blood libel. The paper has long written strongly in defence of Israel and its security concerns, as have I as a columnist.
“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.”
Scarfe has been a political cartoonist with the Sunday Times since 1967 and has also worked for The New Yorker. He worked on the Disney movie Hercules and Pink Floyd’s rock opera film The Wall.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.