A major Jewish organization is refusing to accept the New York Times’ apology for the Times publishing a cartoon depicting the prime minister of Israel as a dog.
The cartoon, of Netanyahu’s face with dog ears and a dog body, with a blue Jewish star and a leash held by a yarmulke-wearing Donald Trump, was published in the New York Times International Edition on Thursday, April 25.
The Times on April 27 said it would publish an “editor’s note” in Monday’s international edition, saying, “A political cartoon in the international print edition of The New York Times on Thursday included anti-Semitic tropes, depicting the prime minister of Israel as a guide dog with a Star of David collar leading the president of the United States, shown wearing a skullcap. The image was offensive, and it was an error of judgment to publish it. It was provided by The New York Times News Service and Syndicate, which has since deleted it.”
The American Jewish Committee responded to the Times by tweeting, “Apology not accepted. How many @nytimes editors looked at a cartoon that would not have looked out of place on a white supremacist website and thought it met the paper’s editorial standards? What does this say about your processes or your decision makers? How are you fixing it?”
The American Jewish Committee’s CEO, David Harris, tweeted, “The ‘cartoon’ is beyond shocking. Antisemitic in the extreme. No, ‘apology’ isn’t adequate. Rather, @nytimes owes readers an explanation of how this happened — after all, decision to print it involved more than one person — & what it says about the paper’s view of Israel & Jews.”
Harris wouldn’t drop the issue, following up with another tweet: “The more I think about the @nytimes “cartoon,” the more appalled I am. While #Antisemitism is rising…synagogues are attacked & Jews killed…democratic #Israel is demonized…& Jewish institutions are forced to bolster security… The ‘paper of record’ pours oil on the fire.”
In the Jerusalem Post, Seth Frantzman wrote, “I didn’t believe the cartoon was real when I first saw it. Many of my colleagues didn’t believe it either. I spent all day Saturday trying to track down a hard copy…. And then I found it. It stared back at me: That horrid image of a blind US President Donald Trump with a yarmulke being led by a dog with the face of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Worse, the dog was wearing a Star of David as a collar.”
Wrote Frantzman, “an apology after the fact isn’t enough…. this cartoon wasn’t just mildly antisemitic. …It was deeply antisemitic.”
I’d respectfully suggest that anyone shocked or surprised by the publication of this cartoon in the Times hasn’t been paying close attention to the pattern of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish themes and images that I’ve documented for more than three years now in the Algemeiner. Among a few of the more egregious problems: the Times published and awarded a gold “NYT Pick” ribbon to a reader comment describing Netanyahu as a “parasitic thug” who “likes to control the US Congress.” The Times later deleted the comment and claimed the publication had been a mistake — the same strategy it is now trying again with this dog cartoon. The Times published an op-ed that falsely accused Jewish billionaires of trying to drag America into a war with Iran. The Times has also been blaming religious Jews and Jewish schools for spreading measles while simultaneously ignoring mumps outbreaks at non-Jewish institutions such as Temple University and Indiana University. The Times also devoted vast space and investigative resources to promoting an unsubstantiated accusation that Israeli soldiers had committed a war crime. And the newspaper has been cheering on the effort by Israel’s enemies to impose a boycott on Israel.
Ira Stoll was managing editor of The Forward and North American editor of The Jerusalem Post. More of his media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.