The Buffalo News drops its trousers and apologises to the Jewish community over cartoon

The Buffalo News drops its trousers and apologises to the Jewish community over cartoon
Cartoon by Adam Zyglis. The Bufalo News, 26 December 2023

Well, this story, which you can read here, has a denouement and once again comes to a close with a newspaper dropping its trousers.

The Buffalo News has finally bowed to pressure from the Jewish community and apologised to the Chabad Center for Jewish Life and other groups and members of the community for publishing this cartoon by Adam Zyglis, as demanded by the Jewish community.

In his apology, illustrated with a picture of two lit candles on a black background, he highlights something that I find even more ridiculous and twisted; the blood libel.

The blood libel

The newspaper links the cartoon to what is known as the"Blood Libel", an allusion to supposed rituals from the Middle Ages, considering that today they are cited as anti-Semitic allegations and by which Jews are falsely accused of murdering Christian children, or other gentiles, to use their blood in religious rituals.

I suppose this medieval carom has come about because some people who wrote to the media have snooped around and invented a link to the Holocaust, of course, and end up shoehorned it all in.

Now, the criminals insist on presenting themselves as victims while continuing to massacre the Palestinian population. Ethnic cleansing this time is not a so-called "anti-Semitic" legend. Those killed by Israel in Palestine now number more than 30,000, of whom at least 12,000 are children.

The Star of David

Another element that has served to convince the media to bow their heads and kneel is the use of the Star of David. Apparently, they still believe that it is an untouchable symbol that can only be manipulated by Israel to the point of placing it on its very flag. Once again, national symbols and their elevation to sacredness override freedom of expression as in the "best" theocracies.

On this occasion, at least the cartoonist's head has not rolled and his cartoons continue to be published in the newspaper. That's something.

Here is the text of The Buffalo News' apology:

The Editorial Board: An apology

"A political cartoon we published on December 26 has caused deep pain to many Jews in our region and beyond. Today we understand better why that pain exists and we apologise to those we have hurt.

Our failure was due to poor attention to history and nuance, not hostility. To be sure, the intent of the cartoon was controversial. It sought to criticise President Biden for doing too little to contain Israel while civilian deaths in Gaza mounted. But it used images that included skulls, blood and the Star of David. We didn't realise that they would be triggers for many Jews. Now we know and we understand why.

We thought the Star would be understood as a representation of Israel, but we did not sufficiently take into account its broader connotations of culture and ethnicity. In retrospect and after much discussion, we understand that its use in this way could not but cause significant pain. We did not intend to do so, but we did.

Nor did we understand the significance of blood within Judaism or the concept of "blood libel". The image of bloody skulls dripping from a tap struck a deep and terrible memory for many Jews. We did not know the history of the blood libel. And we did not reflect on how the image of the taps would echo the Holocaust.

We have learned a lot in the last few days and we are committed to continue learning. We have had an open and productive meeting with leaders of Buffalo's Jewish community and look forward to more. The Jews of Western New York are an integral part of our region; we value their presence, their contributions and their friendship. We regret that we have caused so much pain.

The Buffalo News drops its trousers and apologises to the Jewish community over cartoon

Humor in trouble, a collection of cases (III)
Cases of cartoonists who have been in trouble of some significance because of their cartoons or satirical illustrations. There are also some stories of other people who, without being cartoonists, have got into trouble for sharing them.

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