Murdoch apologizes for "offensive" Netanyahu cartoon

Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:02pm EST
 

By Tim Castle

LONDON (Reuters) - Rupert Murdoch apologized on Monday for a "grotesque" cartoon in his London-based Sunday Times newspaper depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu building a bloody wall trapping the bodies of Palestinians, after complaints from Jewish groups.

The image, which shows Netanyahu holding a trowel dripping blood, was published on Holocaust Memorial Day and carried the caption "Israeli elections. Will cementing peace continue?"

The Board of Deputies of British Jews said the cartoon was "shockingly reminiscent of the blood libel imagery more usually found in parts of the virulently anti-Semitic Arab press".

The so-called "blood libel" - accusations that Jewish peoples murder children and use their blood in rituals - go back centuries and have led to persecution and attacks.

The wall image by the weekly paper's cartoonist Gerald Scarfe was a reference to the barrier that Israel has been building for a decade on West Bank territory.

The project was launched at the height of a Palestinian uprising and was billed as a way to stop suicide bombers from penetrating the country.

The Sunday Times's acting editor was due to meet Jewish community leaders in Britain on Tuesday to express his regrets over the cartoon, said a spokesman for Murdoch's News International, the paper's publisher.

Murdoch said Scarfe had never reflected the opinions of the Sunday Times. "Nevertheless, we owe major apology for grotesque, offensive cartoon," he said in a Twitter message.   Continued...

 
News Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch gives a speech at the state memorial service for his mother Dame Elisabeth Murdoch in Melbourne December 18, 2012. REUTERS/Alex Coppel/Pool