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British News Outlet Apologizes for Running Antisemitic Cartoon

The Guardian apologized on Saturday for an antisemitic cartoon depicting Jewish ex-BBC chairman Richard Sharp that the paper published.

The cartoon was made after Sharp quit as chairman of the BBC when it was revealed that he had failed to disclose that former prime minister Boris Johnson had secured an £800,000 loan with Sharp’s help.

The cartoon features a caricature of Johnson sitting naked atop a mound of garbage with sacks of money, saying “cheer up, matey! I put you down for a peerage in my resignation honours list” to a caricature of Sharp who can be seen carrying a box of belongings and a CV. The box is clearly a Goldman Sachs box and seems to be full of gold coins. Two other objects can be seen in the box – a squid and a head with a massive nose that seems to be wearing a black kippa.

Dave Rich, an author who specializes in antisemitic issues said that squids are a “common antisemitic motif” that relates to antisemitic conspiracy theories that Jews have tentacles wrapped around those they want to control. “You might argue that outsized facial features and tentacles are common to other topics too, so it’s just a cartoon thing,” he said. “Except where something has a long and familiar antisemitic history, it takes on a different meaning when you apply it to Jews.”

The cartoon drew much criticism from the British-Jewish community as well as politicians on both sides of the spectrum. Johnson said on Saturday that Martin Rowson, who drew the cartoon, ought to resign over the image, according to the Daily Mail.

Following the backlash garnered from the cartoon, The Guardian made a statement on Saturday apologizing for it. “We understand the concerns that have been raised,” said a spokesperson for the publication. “This cartoon does not meet our editorial standards, and we have decided to remove it from our website. The Guardian apologizes to Mr. Sharp, to the Jewish community and to anyone offended.”

Rowson later uploaded a statement to his personal website saying that he had not intended for the cartoon to be received in this way but many were not buying his words. Jewish advocacy group StopAntisemitism pointed out a prior antisemitic cartoon of his from 2006.

Any comment regarding your antisemitic 2006 cartoon? pic.twitter.com/eElK5IEVSs— StopAntisemitism (@StopAntisemites) April 30, 2023

Source: https://www.jpost.com/diaspora/antisemitism/article-741646