A major German newspaper on Wednesday published a caricature which was deemed by some as anti-Israeli, likening Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to an evil character from a folk song. The cartoon raised serious concerns among Jews in Germany and beyond, who have demanded that the paper apologize.
In Wednesday’s Stuttgarter Zeitung, Netanyahu is seen sitting on a park bench, pouring poison from a bottle labeled “settlement construction” over a piece of bread which he apparently intends to feed to a peace dove. The cartoon caption references a song by the Jewish Austrian-American composer and performer Georg Kreisler called “Pigeon Poisoner.”
The American Jewish Committee issued a stark condemnation of the caricature, saying it conveys a damaging message and attempts to over simplify a complex situation.
“Defaming the memory of a Holocaust survivor to attack Israel is a new low in Israel-bashing,” said Deidre Berger, Director of AJC Berlin, in reference to Kreisler, who fled Vienna in 1938.
“Such perfidious simplifications and one-sided judgments of Israel poison public opinion and have the opposite effect of what is intended,” Berger said. “Whipping up strong animosity toward Israel damages Israeli attitudes toward Europe and ultimately harms the peace process.”
Kreisler’s daughter, Sandra Kreisler, demand that the newspaper publish an explanation of Kreisler’s Israel-friendly views and that the cartoonist apologize for using her father’s song in a false context.
Writing on her Facebook page, Kreisler deemed the caricature “anti-Semitic and wrong in content,” and said that her father never would have supported the view of the cartoonist.
Last month, German daily Sueddeutscher Zeitung published a cartoon that depicted Israel as a monster with Germany as its handmaiden.
The AJC filed a complaint with the German Press Council regarding the offensive caricature.