The New York Times deleted a political cartoon over the weekend after acknowledging that it contained “anti-Semitic tropes,” an episode decried as the latest example of rising anti-Semitism on the left.
The cartoon depicted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a dog wearing a Star of David collar leading a blind President Trump, who wore a yarmulke, an image that contained “anti-Semitic tropes,” said The New York Times in a Saturday editor’s note.
“The image was offensive, and it was an error in judgment to publish it,” said the note. “It was provided by The New York Times News Service and Syndicate, which has since deleted it.”
Donald Trump Jr. condemned the cartoon, which ran in Thursday’s international edition of the Times, as “disgusting” and “flagrant anti-Semitism.” CNN’s Jake Tapper said it “just as easily could have appeared in neo-Nazi or ISIS propaganda.”
Seth Frantzman, op-ed editor of The Jerusalem Post, said he wasn’t sure the image shown on social media was real until he found a paper copy of the newspaper at a 24-hour supermarket.
“This is what The New York Times thinks of us Israelis,” he said in a Saturday op-ed. “Even if they subsequently said it was an error, they thought it was okay to print a cartoon showing the US president being blindly led by the ‘Jewish dog’?”
Portuguese political cartoonist Antonio Moreira Antunes of the [Lisbon] Expresso drew the cartoon.
According to the Jerusalem Post on Sunday, Mr. Moreira Antunes has a history of using anti-Semitic tropes. In 1983, he inverted the iconic Holocaust photo of a Warsaw Ghetto Jewish boy holding up his arms in fright to compare Israel to Nazi Germany.
The uproar played out on the same day a gunman opened fire at a synagogue in Poway, California, killing one woman and injuring three other worshippers, in an attack apparently fueled by the suspect’s anti-Semitic and white supremacist beliefs, according to a manifesto posted in part on Heavy.
While such views have long fueled the extreme right, critics worried the cartoon reveals the extent to which the left’s anti-Israel sentiment has paved the way for the spread of anti-Semitism within the mainstream progressive movement.
“Even if unintentional, the left has normalized anti-semitism under the guise of criticizing U.S.-Israel foreign policy. It is radicalizing people,” tweeted Rep. Dan Crenshaw, Texas Republican. “NYT was latest example along with their weak-at-best apology.”
The Democratic Party’s struggles with allegations of anti-Semitism have intensified with the election last year of Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, who have been accused of promoting anti-Semitic stereotypes.
The two are the first Muslim women in Congress as well as the first to support the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Their backers include leftist groups like the Women’s March, whose leadership has wrestled with its own anti-Semitism allegations. Three of the four co-chairs have appeared with Nation of Islam head Louis Farrakhan, described by the Anti-Defamation League as the nation’s leading anti-Semite.
Mr. Farrakhan has also met and appeared with Democratic members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who have at various times condemned his statements without denouncing him personally.
The New York Times editor’s note was described by some as an apology, although the message did not actually apologize for running the cartoon.
“Apology not accepted,” said the American Jewish Committee in a statement on Twitter. “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?”
After the Federalist’s Erielle Davidson tweeted that the newspaper’s editors “don’t care about anti-Semitism. They condone it.”
Rabbi Josh Yuter countered that they do recognize it when it comes from the right. “It’s not that they don’t care about anti-Semitism, it’s that they’ve embraced politicizing anti-Semitism,” he tweeted. “In other words, they only see it when it comes from certain people, not from others.”