Australian Press Council: Anti-Israel cartoon breached standards


(JTA) — A cartoon published in the Sydney Morning Herald violated press standards by linking symbols of the Jewish faith to criticism of Israel, an Australian press organization said.

The adjudication issued Jan. 17 by the Australian Press Council concerned a cartoon drawn by Glen Le Lievre, whose work has appeared in international publications, and published July 26 in the midst of the most recent Gaza conflict. It depicted an elderly man with a sizable nose wearing glasses and a yarmulke reclining in a chair emblazoned with a Star of David and holding a remote control. He is watching from a hilltop as a city, which by implication is Gaza, explodes.

“A linkage with Israeli nationality might have been justifiable in the public interest, despite being likely to cause offense,” the press council wrote. “But the same cannot be said of the implied linkage with the Jewish faith that arose from inclusion of the kippah and the Star of David.”

In response to the adjudication, the Morning Herald republished an apology from Aug. 3, one week after the cartoon ran. The apology regretted the use of the religious symbols of the yarmulke and Star of David, although it noted that Le Lievre’s work commonly depicts people with large noses, regardless of race or ethnicity, and that the image was inspired by news photographs of Israelis watching the bombardment of Gaza from the hilltops of Sderot.

The press council’s statement praised the apology and noted that the Morning Herald’s editor in chief and news director had attended “seminars facilitated by the Jewish Board of Deputies to raise awareness about imagery that could be construed as anti-Semitic.”

Le Lievre’s cartoons have appeared in publications including The New Yorker, Reader’s Digest and Mad magazine.

Recommended from JTA