Switzerland regrets using cartoon of birds defecating on Netanyahu


(JTA) — Switzerland apologized for its ambassador to Iran displaying a cartoon in which two doves defecate on the head of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In a statement Friday, the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs said it “regrets the use of this cartoon and considers it tasteless,” Reuters reported.

Ambassador Giulio Haas displayed the image on a large screen Thursday while speaking before hundreds of Swiss and Iranian businesspeople at a Zurich event promoting trade between the two countries.

In his speech, Haas described Iran as a “pole of stability in a very, very unsafe region,” according to Reuters.

“Ambassador Haas did not intend to insult anybody with the cartoon,” the foreign affairs department statement said. “If that is the case, however, he regrets it and seeks the pardon of everyone who could have felt insulted.”

The cartoon, in which doves with Iranian and American flags on their chests relieve themselves atop Netanyahu’s head, appears to reference the Iran nuclear deal, which Israel opposes.

The deal, which lifts sanctions on Iran in exchange for it curbing its nuclear program, was finalized between Iran and six world powers, including the United States, last month. Congress will vote on the deal in September, and President Barack Obama has promised to veto any rejection.

Switzerland began lifting some sanctions on Iran this month, according to Reuters.

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