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German paper under fire for ‘anti-Semitic’ Netanyahu Eurovision cartoon

Journal national allemand Süddeutsche Zeitung
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A German newspaper apologized on Wednesday for publishing a caricature of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dressed as Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai and holding a rock with a Star of David on it.

“It can be seen as anti-Semitic,” the editor of Süddeutsche Zeitung acknowledged Wednesday after evoking outrage.

The Munich-based newspaper, one of Germany’s top dailies with a circulation of 1.1 million readers, printed the cartoon Tuesday, as Israel was being scorned worldwide for its handling of the protests on the Gaza border.

The cartoon that appeared in the opinion section, by veteran caricaturist Dieter Hanitzsch, portrayed Netanyahu with oversized ears, nose and lips and in the Eurovision logo the ‘v’ was replaced with a Star of David. “Next year in Jerusalem,” the figure is saying.

Jewish organizations, as well as publicists and activists, took to social media to protest the caricature.

One critic, Malca Goldstein Wolf, accused the newspaper and the 85-year-old cartoonist of crossing a line. “Can Israel enjoy its successful participation in a music competition without being demonized?” she wrote in an open later published on Facebook.

Netanyahu’s reaction to Netta’s win was no different from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s personal congratulations of Germany’s 2010 Eurovision winner Lena, she wrote, but his comments were depicted as political exploitation. “This is the kind of manipulative, malicious reporting that stirs up hatred of Jews.”

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In a statement published Wednesday, Wolfgang Krach, editor in chief of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, stressed that the image was the subject of many discussions within and outside the editorial team.

“The cartoonist Dieter Hanitzsch says that with his depiction he only want to hint to the fact that the next Eurovision final 2019 should take place in Jerusalem.

“Despite the caricaturist’s intention, one can also understand the drawing differently and take it as anti-Semitic,” he added. “Its publication was therefore a mistake, for which we apologize.”

The apology, however, did little to curb the criticism. Many pointed out that the cartoonist himself refused to retract the drawing.

“That the editorial apologized is their business. I do not apologize,” Hanitzsch told the Jewish newspaper Jüdische Allgemeine. Also that some view the image as anti-Semitic “does not affect me. I did not mean it that way. I would like to be able to criticize Netanyahu’s policy, even as a German.”

“Of course Israel may be criticized, but always: Consider the how and the effect,” stressed German-Jewish historian Michael Wolffsohn in an op-ed published Wednesday in the daily Bild. “This cartoon could have also been published in the Nazi-era propaganda tabloid Der Sturmer,” he noted.

“The dangers faced by Jews in Germany, Europe and, yes, Israel are being systematically downplayed by ‘liberals,’ leftists and ‘progressives,’ as well as the media. However, this must not lead to understatement of who is the perpetrator and who is the victim. This is inexcusable when it uses evil anti-Jewish images or words.”

In 2013, the Süddeutsche Zeitung had to pull another cartoon that was used as illustration for a review on two books on Israel, titled ‘the downfall of liberal Zionism.’ The drawing depicted Israel as the ancient god Moloch, being served breakfast in bed. The caption under the cartoon read: “Germany is serving. Israel has been given weapons for decades and partly free of charge. Israel's enemies think it is a ravenous Moloch.”

The year later, another caricature published by the newspaper was accused of being tainted by anti-Semitism: Chiding Facebook's $19 billion acquisition of Whatsapp, it portrayed founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg as a hook-nosed octopus striving to control all computers.

The newspaper then promptly apologized on Twitter and the artist -- who claimed his source of inspiration was the kraken from the film Pirates of the Caribbean -- replaced Zuckberg’s face with a blank rectangular hole.

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Germany will never stop been a racist nation. They hide their wickedness and anti semitism but still display it. shame on them

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