US Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt on Monday slammed the The New York Times after it published a caricature that the paper has since acknowledged was anti-Semitic and for which it has apologized.
The cartoon showed a blind, skullcap-sporting US President Donald Trump being led by a dog-like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with a Star of David collar around the latter’s neck.
“The cartoon wasn’t just dangerous — it was despicable,” Greenblatt wrote in a tweet. “NYT owes us a transparent plan of action to ensure this will never happen again & should share results of their investigation.”
On Sunday, the paper said it was “deeply sorry” for printing the cartoon in its international edition last week. It attributed the misstep to a lack of oversight and vowed to revamp its editorial process to ensure “nothing like this happens again.”
It said, “Such imagery is always dangerous, and at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise worldwide, it’s all the more unacceptable.
“We have investigated how this happened and learned that, because of a faulty process, a single editor working without adequate oversight downloaded the syndicated cartoon and made the decision to include it on the Opinion page. The matter remains under review, and we are evaluating our internal processes and training. We anticipate significant changes.”
The newspaper has since said it dropped the syndication service that supplied the cartoon.
“The cartoon that ran in the international print edition of The Times last Thursday was clearly anti-Semitic and indefensible and we apologize for its publication. While we don’t think this [second] cartoon falls into that category, for now, we’ve decided to suspend the future publication of syndicated cartoons,” the newspaper said in a statement to the Daily Beast.
A second cartoon published over the weekend showed Netanyahu dressed as Moses, descending from Mount Sinai with a selfie stick and a tablet inscribed with a Star of David.
“It looked like the Ten Commandments,” ADL chief Jonathan Greenblatt told The Daily Beast. “It might not be as blatantly anti-Semitic as the first cartoon, but it was clearly insensitive and absolutely offensive after the first piece of propaganda.”
ADL’s Greenblatt told The Times of Israel on Saturday that the first cartoon was “anti-Semitic propaganda of the most vile sort.”
Jason Greenblatt also attacked the newspaper for the second cartoon, saying he was “confounded and shocked by another terrible decision by the NYT as our nation is grieving the deadly attack in Poway,” referring to Saturday’s shooting at a California synagogue in which one person was killed and three injured.
Wait…the @nytimes featured ANOTHER Netanyahu cartoon? This one AFTER the Thursday cartoon depicting Netanyahu as a dog? Am I reading this right? Is the Times obsessed with Israel’s prime minister? pic.twitter.com/r1KsSaYWtw
— Dan Senor (@dansenor) April 29, 2019
The New York Times published a column by its own columnist Bret Stephens who called the Netanyahu-Trump cartoon “a textbook illustration” of anti-Semitism and said it “might have been published in the pages of [Nazi propaganda paper] Der Stürmer.”
He acknowledged that the cartoon’s printing was in error, but asserted that such an error could only occur because “torrential criticism of Israel and the mainstreaming of anti-Zionism, including by this paper… has become so common that people have been desensitized to its inherent bigotry.”
Stephens also said the Times “owes the Israeli prime minister an apology,” though he did not say the same of Trump.
Jason Greenblatt posted Stephens’ article on Twitter and took it a step further, saying that in his opinion, the newspaper should apologize to both Netanyahu and Trump.
Israel’s ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, in a speech Monday marking Holocaust Remembrance Day, also attacked the newspaper.
“We have… seen one of the world’s most prestigious newspapers become a cesspool of hostility towards Israel that goes well beyond any legitimate criticism of a fellow, imperfect democracy,” Dermer said.
“The same New York Times that a century ago mostly hid from their readers the Holocaust of the Jewish people has today made its pages a safe-space for those who hate the Jewish state. Through biased coverage, slanderous columns and anti-Semitic cartoons, its editors shamefully choose week after week to cast the Jewish state as a force for evil.”
Trump on Monday lashed the Times as well, though he appeared to be focused chiefly on the newspaper’s attitude toward him.
“The New York Times has apologized for the terrible Anti-Semitic Cartoon, but they haven’t apologized to me for this or all of the Fake and Corrupt news they print on a daily basis.” he tweeted.
“They have reached the lowest level of ‘journalism,’ and certainly a low point in @nytimes history!”
Trump has often singled out the Times as a target for his ire, repeatedly dubbing its reporting on his presidency as “fake news.”
The New York Times has apologized for the terrible Anti-Semitic Cartoon, but they haven’t apologized to me for this or all of the Fake and Corrupt news they print on a daily basis. They have reached the lowest level of “journalism,” and certainly a low point in @nytimes history!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 29, 2019
The cartoon was previously condemned by US Vice President Mike Pence.
Raphael Ahren contributed to this report.