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Israeli artist under fire for ‘9/11’ Netanyahu hijacker cartoon
Published time: October 31, 2014 17:41
Edited time: October 31, 2014 18:41

A political cartoonist for the left-leaning Israeli daily Haaretz has come under fire for likening Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to one of the 9/11 hijackers. The artist said the cartoon was intended to show the Israeli PM’s misguided US policy.

The image depicts Prime Minister Netanyahu in a plane labeled “Israel” barreling into a skyscraper flying a US flag on top. The cartoon is reminiscent of September 11, 2001 Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, when nearly 3,000 people died.

Critics have widely slammed Haaretz newspaper for publishing the cartoon.

With the ensuing backlash, the cartoonist, Amos Biderman, tweeted in Hebrew that the message behind the drawing is that “Bibi is arrogantly and wantonly destroying Israel’s ties with the US and is leading us to a disaster on the scale of 9/11,” Haaretz reports.

Speaking to the newspaper on Thursday, Biderman tried to explain that he was “mocking” the Israeli PM.

“He’s been acting like a bull in a china shop with the United States, which is Israel’s most important strategic asset,” Biderman said.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has said that the newspaper needs to publically apologize and “retract this grossly offensive cartoon.”

“Not only does it completely misrepresent any tensions which may current exist between the US government and Mr. Netanyahu, it disrespects the memories of thousands of innocent Americans and others who tragically perished on 9/11, and the deep pain and trauma caused by the horrific attacks,” a statement by Abraham Foxman, National Director for the ADL, said.

Foxman said he was “shocked and outraged” that Haaretz allowed for the image to be published because the cartoon was particularly “jarring and incredibly irresponsible.”

“As anti-Semitic conspiracy theories charging that Israel and/or Jews were behind the attacks are still believed by large swaths of the Muslim world, it is particularly jarring and incredibility irresponsible that an Israeli newspaper, especially one whose journalistic standards are widely respected, would resort to publishing such a highly offensive stereotype in the name of political satire,” he said.

The cartoon was also roundly panned on social media, where it was called “garbage”, “pretty provocative” and “the most disgracefully” anti-Israel cartoon.

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