NEW YORK (JTA) — Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp. owns the Sunday Times of London through a subsidiary, said the paper should apologize for printing what he called a "grotesque" cartoon of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Murdoch, the founder and CEO of News Corp., made his remarks Monday on Twitter about the cartoon that appeared the previous day. Netanyahu is depicted as building a brick wall with the blood of Palestinians as mortar.
"Gerald Scarfe has never reflected the opinions of the Sunday Times," Murdoch tweeted, referring to the cartoon’s illustrator. "Nevertheless, we owe major apology for grotesque, offensive cartoon."
Murdoch’s statement was made in response to criticism from leaders of the Jewish community in the U.K. who said the drawing was reminiscent of anti-Semitic blood libels.
The Sunday Times defended the cartoon on Monday, saying it was "aimed squarely at Mr. Netanyahu and his policies, not at Israel, let alone at Jewish people."
Also Monday, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, an umbrella organization, filed a complaint with the independent Press Complaints Commission, the Guardian reported, and incoming Sunday Times editor Martin Ivens told The Jerusalem Post that he would meet with leaders of the British Jewish community this week over reaction to the cartoon.
Jon Benjamin, the head of the Board of Deputies, called the cartoon "appalling" and said it was similar to the offensive images of Jews "more usually found in parts of the virulently anti-Semitic Arab press." Benjamin said its appearance in the broadsheet on International Holocaust Remembrance Day added insult to injury.