The Guardian editor Katherine Viner must resign following the newspaper’s publication of an antisemitic cartoon
Campaign Against Antisemitism is calling upon Katherine Viner, editor-in-chief at The Guardian, to resign after the newspaper published an antisemitic cartoon on Friday night.
The now-deleted cartoon, drawn by Martin Rowson, depicted Richard Sharp, who last week resigned as Chairman of the BBC, and evoked several antisemitic tropes.
Mr Sharp, who is Jewish, is portrayed with a large nose and swarthy, gruesome features, like those commonly seen in Nazi propaganda about Jews.
Mr Sharp is seen to be carrying a box containing, among other items, a puppet of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Nazi, Soviet and other antisemitic propaganda has consistently portrayed Jews as puppet masters, secretly pulling the strings and manipulating politics.
The box Mr Sharp is holding in the cartoon appears to read “Goldman Sachs” and contains a squid. He formerly worked at Goldman Sachs, which was once described in a Rolling Stone article as a “vampire squid”.
However, one must ask, why is that foregrounded in a cartoon about his resignation from the BBC? Nazi and Soviet propaganda portrayed Jews as tentacled monsters, controlling and sucking the life from society, and since medieval times, Jews have been cast as miserly moneymen exploiting workers to enrich themselves.
Also featured in the grotesque cartoon is a pig vomiting blood. In antisemitic images, pigs often refer to the ‘otherness’ of Jews for not eating pork, whilst blood can be a reference to the medieval ‘blood libel’ which accused Jews of drinking the blood of non-Jewish children, leading to massacres of Jews.
Mr Rowson has since apologised for the cartoon, stating: “Satirists, even though largely licenced to speak the unspeakable in liberal democracies, are no more immune to f***ing things up than anyone else, which is what I did here…I know Richard Sharp is Jewish; actually, while we’re collecting networks of cronyism, I was at school with him, though I doubt he remembers me. His Jewishness never crossed my mind as I drew him as it’s wholly irrelevant to the story or his actions, and it played no conscious role in how I twisted his features according to the standard cartooning playbook.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Guardian said: “We understand the concerns that have been raised. This cartoon does not meet our editorial standards, and we have decided to remove it from our website. The Guardian apologises to Mr Sharp, to the Jewish community and to anyone offended.”
This is not the first instance of The Guardian publishing an inflammatory cartoon. In 2020, the newspaper published a cartoon that featured Labour Party Leader Sir Keir Starmer presenting the head of former Leader Jeremy Corbyn on a platter in a pose deliberately reminiscent of the Caravaggio painting “Salome with the Head of Saint John the Baptist”, a depiction of the New Testament event of King Herod having Jesus’ mentor, John the Baptist, beheaded at the request of his Jewish stepdaughter Salome.
Gideon Falter, Chief Executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “Today, whilst Jews observed the Sabbath and were unable to respond, The Guardian saw fit to publish a depiction of a Jew that would not have looked out of place on the pages of Der Stürmer.
“Though the cartoon has now been deleted, and the cartoonist has apologetically declared that the catalogue of anti-Jewish imagery — from bags of gold and a reference to banking, to a tentacled animal, to an outsized nose, and a pig apparently vomiting blood — were all a mistake, it was waved through by editors.
“This is surely a resignation offence for editor Katherine Viner whose newspaper has become known in the Jewish community for its platforming of antisemitism deniers, incitement during the Corbyn years, and occasional relapses into raw medieval anti-Jewish imagery of the kind published today. Under her editorship, The Guardian has given a veneer of genteel legitimacy to antisemitism and helped to fuel hatred against Jews.”
Photo Credits: The Guardian