Monster Cartoon Violates German Press Council Code

moloch2In July, German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung’s anti-Semitic cartoon portrayed Israel as a ravenous monster, causing outrage. Protests from HonestReporting subscribers and other organizations led to an apology from the newspaper.

The American Jewish Committee’s Berlin office submitted an official complaint to the German Press Council that has now ruled on the issue. The AJC has announced that Süddeutsche Zeitung was in violation of the German Press Council’s code. This from the AJC’s press release:

“This German Press Council ruling is a needed wake-up call for the media to exercise greater caution in depictions of Israel, which can all too easily slide into overt anti-Semitism,” said AJC Berlin Director Deidre Berger.

The press council agreed with AJC that the caricature reproduces numerous anti-Semitic stereotypes. “The ruling reinforces the message that artistic freedom cannot be used as a cloak to disguise anti-Semitism,” Berger added.

While the press council determined that publication of the cartoon violated the press code’s policy regarding discrimination, it did not censure the newspaper due to “its self-critical confrontation and apology by management” soon after the caricature’s publication.

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