This past Sunday the London Times published a political cartoon authored and Illustrated by Gerald Scarfe which was defaming, insulting, offensive, and disrespectful of Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu specifically and Israel and Jews in general. The caricature of a Jewish Leader performing the vile act and inference of abuse of power to act out hatreds was reminiscent of the cartoons from the Nazi era newspapers in Germany and the rest of the Third Reich and other anti-Semitic cartoons over the centuries. Depicting Jews building or benefiting from the pain and suffering of others is exactly the depiction of the greedy Jewish banker or money lenders that permeates throughout European history. This cartoon was so far beyond the pale that it should have set off alarms throughout the entirety of the long and winding path it needed to travel from the artist’s first sketch to the printer’s setting of the type and picture for the actual printing that somebody had to have at least thought to challenge whether such an insult was or should be worth printing. The fact that nobody along the way found the cartoon worth objecting and at least asking the question as to whether the London Times would wish to put their name and reputation by approving and printing this cartoon is simply astonishing. And to print this on International Holocaust Remembrance Day is just another knife in the back under the cover of night to the Jewish people, citizens of Israel, and all people of principle and moral upbringing. The fact that a number of people attached to the London Times have come out and apologized begs another question, where were they when this horrid cartoon was approved for publication and on International Holocaust Remembrance Day at that.
The acting editor of the Sunday Times newspaper, Martin Ivens, met with members of the Jewish community in Britain on Tuesday and apologized after they had filed a complaint with media regulators. Mr. Ivens stated, “The last thing I or anyone connected with the Sunday Times would countenance would be insulting the memory of the Shoah or invoking the blood libel. The paper has long written strongly in defense of Israel and its security concerns, as have I as a columnist. We are however reminded of the sensitivities in this area by the reaction to the cartoon and I will of course bear them very carefully in mind in future.” One would think that the acting editor would have had to approve any cartoon to be printed on the editorial page in order to perform his duties or they should be released for incompetence. So, we can likely assume that Mr. Ivens must have seen the cartoon in question (you should go back and look at it if you have not yet done so) and not seen any reason not to publish the offensive image on what has to be possibly the worst timing in history as the rest of the world is remembering and honoring the victims of one of the worst atrocities ever committed by human beings on their fellow human beings. Mr. Ivens protestations seem quite incredulous with his comments of his history of articles supporting the Jewish people and citizens of Israel which makes this beyond logic or reason unless Mr. Ivens was in full agreement with the cartoon and found it perfectly presentable. His might have given, though I cannot say definitively as I do not know Mr. Ivens, the emptiest apology ever if he actually approved the printing of the cartoon in question as one should have observed the pure anti-Semitic hatred that had to be present for such a hateful imagery to be authored and one would think also present to authorize its publication.
Rupert Murdoch’s apology, which he posted on Twitter, “Gerald Scarfe has never reflected the opinions of the Sunday Times. Nevertheless, we owe major apology for grotesque, offensive cartoon.” Still, even this apology begs a few questions such as if, as Mr. Murdoch posted, “Gerald Scarfe has never reflected the opinions of the Sunday Times.” Why his cartoon was even accepted for consideration? One might also want to know if Gerald Scarfe has ever had other of his editorial cartoons posted on the Times and even if not, why was this particular cartoon not vetted with an even more critical eye since his work was not consistent with the Sunday Times opinions. Also, is this the new way of making apologies, posting a blurb on Twitter? One would also have hoped that Mr. Murdoch would have written a more lengthy and heartfelt apology, if not on the front page of the next issue of the Times, at least on the editorial page where this insult first appeared. Perhaps Mr. Murdoch might place an apology in this week’s Sunday Times. How about it, Mr. Murdoch?
There is a line we will draw on whose apologies we will not accept as there is no possible reason on Earth that an apology from Gerald Scarfe, the author of this insult could possibly be sincere and thus worth even the time it would take to hear it. Nothing Scarfe could ever say would mitigate the senselessness and cruel hatred displayed by this editorial cartoon. The evident malice, vindictiveness, and vile cruelty towards the Israeli Prime Minister and through the degrading, insulting and offensive anti-Semitic motif of this cartoon to all Israelis and Jews is so beyond acceptable that it is doubtful anyone who took insult from this cartoon could accept any manner of apology or repentance by its author. Anything Gerald Scarfe would offer in an effort to mitigate the insult would be seen as empty and contrived, and as such, unacceptable. Should his career of writing editorial cartoons come to an abrupt end due to this cartoon, that would be a minimal result but likely the only one acceptable to our polite society. It is due to this polite society that this cartoon takes on an even more offensive stench. By the way, did I mention that I am greatly disturbed by this cartoon and its author, Gerald Scarfe?
Beyond the Cusp