independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Rupert Murdoch apologises for 'grotesque' cartoon after Sunday Times image sparks claims of anti-semitism

RUPERT Murdoch has offered a "major apology" for a "grotesque" cartoon in the Sunday Times that has sparked claims of anti-semitism.

The media mogul took to Twitter to comment on the Gerald Scarfe image, which appears to show Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu paving a wall with the blood and limbs of Palestinians.



Mr Murdoch said in his tweet: "Gerald Scarfe has never reflected the opinions of the Sunday Times.



"Nevertheless, we owe major apology for grotesque, offensive cartoon."



The political cartoon, which was published on Holocaust Memorial Day, shows Mr Netanyahu holding a trowel and carries the lines: "Israeli elections. Will cementing peace continue?"



Jewish community leaders said they were disturbed by parallels they saw between the red-tinged drawing and historical anti-Semitic propaganda.



The Board of Deputies of British Jews said it had lodged a complaint with the Press Complaints Commission.



The deputies said in a statement that the depiction of a Jewish leader using blood for mortar "is shockingly reminiscent of the blood libel imagery more usually found in parts of the virulently anti-Semitic Arab press".



In a statement, the paper's acting editor Martin Ivens said that insulting the memory of Holocaust victims or invoking blood libel was "the last thing I or anyone connected with the Sunday Times would countenance".



"The paper has long written strongly in defence of Israel and its security concerns, as have I as a columnist," he said.



"We are, however, reminded of the sensitivities in this area by the reaction to the cartoon, and I will, of course, bear them very carefully in mind in future."

Press Association

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