An article in The Economist examining the Iranian nuclear deal barely mentions Israel. So what was the magazine thinking when it published this cartoon to accompany the article?
The cartoon is clearly meant to imply that both U.S. President Obama and Iranian President Rohani are being constrained in their efforts to reach out to each other. In the case of Obama, the U.S. Congress is portrayed as the proverbial ball and chain.
But take a closer look. Two Stars of David appear, one in the outer rim and the other located directly over the eagle symbol.
Note that this is not an Israeli flag but a Jewish symbol. Is the cartoonist implying that Congress is under Jewish control?
Jewish control over governments, the media and the international financial system is a classic feature of anti-Semitism and the cartoon is, wittingly or unwittingly, promoting this trope.
This falls firmly under the working definitions of anti-Semitism from both the U.S. State Department and the EU, which specifically include:
Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
Perhaps this never occurred to the cartoonist or the staff of The Economist. It should have.
Within hours of publication of this post, The Economist removed the offensive cartoon from the article and added the following:
Editor’s note: The print edition of this story had a cartoon which inadvertently caused offence to some readers, so we have replaced it with a photograph.
More coverage in The Times of Israel.
However, the cartoon still appears on The Economist’s Middle East page.
The image on the Middle East page has now been replaced.