Sunday Times Publishes Apology For Offensive Cartoon

The Gerald Scarfe cartoon published in The Sunday Times on Holocaust Memorial Day provoked a wave of almost unprecedented outrage. HonestReporting weighed in on the issue, joined by many other organizations and concerned individuals and the image, here on the right, was just one response that we produced.

An opinion piece by Managing Editor Simon Plosker was also published by The Algemeiner where we asked the question:

But what would have happened had this same cartoon, portraying a crude caricature of Israeli PM Netanyahu building a wall using blood for mortar while crushing Palestinians, been published on any other day than International Holocaust Remembrance Day?

To its credit The Sunday Times sent emails of apology to everyone who wrote complaints and has published an apology. As it’s behind a pay wall, we are reproducing it in full here:

Last week we published, as we have almost every week since 1967, a cartoon by Gerald Scarfe. His works are brutal and bloody and his opinions are his own, not those of this newspaper. The Sunday Times has always understood and reported the legitimate security concerns of the state of Israel.

It is one thing to attack and caricature a leader — and it is as legitimate to attack Israeli leaders in cartoons as anyone else. But it is another thing to reflect in a caricature, even unintentionally, historical iconography that is persecutory or anti-semitic.

The image we published of Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, which appeared to show him revelling in the blood of Palestinians, crossed a line. The image would have been a mistake on any day but the fact that last Sunday was Holocaust Memorial Day compounded the error.

We realise that we caused grave offence, however unintended, which detracted from a day that marks one of the greatest evils in human history.

The Sunday Times abhors anti-semitism and racism of any type and we would never set out to offend the Jewish people — or indeed any other ethnic or religious group. The publication of last week’s cartoon was a very serious mistake.

We apologise unreservedly.

We certainly hope that lessons have been learned and not only on the part of The Sunday Times and the media at large. This result is incontrovertible proof that when enough people take action, a model promoted by HonestReporting, it can achieve a positive outcome.