Following uproar: British newspaper apologizes for antisemitic cartoon

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The Guardian apologizes after publishing offensive caricature of outgoing Jewish BBC boss.

The British daily The Guardian apologized on Saturday after it published a caricature of an outgoing BBC boss which caused an uproar and accusations of trafficking in antisemitic stereotypes.

Richard Sharp announced his resignation as BBC chairman on Friday after his involvement in a loan for then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson raised questions about the broadcaster’s impartiality.

The drawing by Martin Rowson featured a grinning caricature of Sharp, who is Jewish, with an enlarged hooked nose. Sharp is seen carrying a Goldman Sachs office box, where he used to work, stuffed with gold and big-nosed squids.

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The cartoon sparked widespread outrage. Author David Rich said, according to The Jewish News website, “The depiction of Richard Sharp in today’s Guardian cartoon falls squarely into an antisemitic tradition of depicting Jews with outsized, grotesque features, often in conjunction with money and power. It’s appalling.”

He added: “The problem is that a squid or octopus is also a common antisemitic motif, used to depict a supposed Jewish conspiracy with its tentacles wrapped around whatever parts of society the Jews supposedly control. Especially money. Are those gold coins in the box with Sharp’s squid?”

“You might argue that outsized facial features and tentacles are common to other topics too, so it’s just a cartoon thing. Except where something has a long and familiar antisemitic history, it takes on a different meaning when you apply it to Jews,” said Rich.

Lord Austin of Dudley, who was a Labour MP before he quit the party over what he called a “culture of extremism, antisemitism and intolerance” in 2019, described the cartoon as having “antisemitic imagery” and said the newspaper should be “ashamed”.

Former chancellor and health secretary Sajid Javid also wrote on Twitter, “Disappointed to see these tropes in today’s Guardian. Disturbing theme – or at best, lessons not learned?”

The Guardian later issued an apology and removed Rowson’s drawing from its website as it “did not meet our editorial standards.”

Rowson also issued an apology, saying he “screwed up pretty badly.”

“I know Richard Sharp is Jewish; actually, while we’re collecting networks of cronyism, I was at school with him, though I doubt he remembers me,” he said.

“His Jewishness never crossed my mind as I drew him as it’s wholly irrelevant to the story or his actions, and it played no conscious role in how I twisted his features according to the standard cartooning playbook.”

“The cartoon was a failure and on many levels: I offended the wrong people, Sharp wasn’t the main target of the satire, I rushed at something without allowing enough time to consider things with the depth and care they require, and thereby letting slip in stupid ambiguities that have ended up appearing to be something I never intended,” Rowson acknowledged.

Source: Arutz 7


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