January 29, 2013

Murdoch owns Sunday Times and its staff

Rupert Murdoch has managed to undermine both the Sunday Times's acting editor, Martin Ivens, and its cartoonist, Gerald Scarfe, over the latter's cartoon of Netanyahu published on Sunday just gone.  Here's the cartoon from The Commentator website:

Critics - the usual suspects - have said the cartoon involves antisemitic imagery and they made much of the fact that it was published on Holocaust Memorial Day. See this from The Guardian:

The Board of Deputies of British Jews, an elected group representing Jewish people in the UK, said it had complained to the Press Complaints Commission about the cartoon published on Sunday.
In the cartoon, the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, was depicted building a wall using what appeared to be the blood of Palestinians. It carried the strapline: "Will cementing peace continue?"
It was described by Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, as "appalling" and "shockingly reminiscent of the blood libel imagery more usually found in parts of the virulently antisemitic Arab press".
Benjamin said that cartoon was "all the more disgusting" because it was printed on Holocaust Memorial Day, when millions of Jews and others killed in the Holocaust were being remembered in services across the UK.
Scarfe has said that he regrets the timing of the publication of the cartoon.  Here's the Jewish Chronicle:

Cartoonist Gerald Scarfe says that he "very much regrets" the timing of his controversial depiction of Benjamin Netanyahu in this weekend's Sunday Times.
Mr Scarfe, in a message to the JC denying permission to reproduce the cartoon, said that he had not been aware it was Holocaust Memorial Day.

Actually, it's interesting that he didn't know it was HMD on Sunday. I wouldn't know either if it wasn't for the now ritual condemnation of whichever criticism of Israel is being howled about at the same time of year, it seems, every year.

And the Sunday Times denied any antisemitic content to the cartoon:
the Sunday Times denied that the cartoon was antisemitic. In a statement, the News International title described Scarfe's imagery as "typically robust", and added: "It is aimed squarely at Mr Netanyahu and his policies, not at Israel, let alone at Jewish people. It appeared yesterday because Mr Netanyahu won the Israeli election last week.
Well now Rupert Murdoch has tweeted against his acting editor and the cartoonist.
Now Murdoch wasn't always so sensitive to antisemitism.  In fact he did a tweet that was unambiguously antisemitic only a couple of months ago:
He apologised on the same day but didn't understand what he had said that was antisemitic:

So where's this going to go now that the acting editor and the cartoonist have denied any wrong-doing on their part and the owner of the paper has basically denounced both?  I'm guessing the acting editor won't last but that Gerald Scarfe will remain in post but let's see.


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