Washington Post removes cartoon highlighting Hamas use of human shields after internal pushback

The Washington Post removed from its website a cartoon that highlighted Hamas’s use of human shields after the caricature sparked pushback within the newsroom and from readers, including claims that the depiction of the Hamas figure was “racist,” Fox News reports.

The cartoon was titled “Human shields” and depicted a Hamas spokesperson saying, “How dare Israel attack civilians,” while a frightened woman and four small children are bound with rope to his body.

The cartoon made it into the print edition on Wednesday before it was wiped from the news site.

“Given the many deep concerns and conversations today in our newsroom, I wanted to ensure everyone saw the notes sent out tonight by The Post’s opinions editor, David Shipley, to Post readers and to his staff in opinions,” Washington Post executive editor Sally Buzbee wrote in an email to staffers earlier this week, which has been leaked to Fox News.

“As editor of the opinion section, I am responsible for what appears in its pages and on its screens. The section depends on my judgment. A cartoon published by Michael Ramirez on the war in Gaza, a cartoon whose publication I approved, was seen by many readers as racist. This was not my intent. I saw the drawing as a caricature of a specific individual, the Hamas spokesperson, who celebrated the attacks on unarmed civilians in Israel,” Shipley writes.

“However, the reaction to the image convinced me that I had missed something profound, and divisive, and I regret that. Our section is aimed at finding commonalities, understanding the bonds that hold us together, even in the darkest times. In this spirit, we have taken down the drawing. We are also pushing a selection of responses to the caricature. And we will continue to make the section home to a range of views and perspectives, including ones that challenge readers. This is the spirit of opinion journalism, to move imperfectly toward a constructive exchange of ideas at all possible speed, listening and learning along the way,” he adds.

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