German Press Council Validates AJC Berlin Complaint About Anti-Semitic Cartoon

September 13, 2013 -- Berlin -- AJC Berlin welcomed the German Press Council’s ruling that a July 2 cartoon in the Sueddeutscher Zeitung (SZ) is a violation of the press code.

In its formal complaint, AJC called on the press council to censure the prestigious German daily for publishing the caricature, which showed a young woman serving food to a monster with horns sitting at a table and holding up a carving knife. The caption stated that Germany for decades has provided weapons to Israel, which has allegedly provoked tremendous animosity toward Israel.

“This German Press Council ruling is a needed wake-up call for the media to exercise greater caution in depictions of Israel, which can all too easily slide into overt anti-Semitism,” said AJC Berlin Director Deidre Berger.

The press council agreed with AJC that the caricature reproduces numerous anti-Semitic stereotypes. “The ruling reinforces the message that artistic freedom cannot be used as a cloak to disguise anti-Semitism,” Berger added.

While the press council determined that publication of the cartoon violated the press code’s policy regarding discrimination, it did not censure the newspaper due to “its self-critical confrontation and apology by management” soon after the caricature’s publication.

“Despite the extensive internal discussion at the newspaper regarding the incident, it is important that the case not be filed away and forgotten,” said Berger. “On the contrary, we hope this ruling will prompt the newspaper to delve more deeply into the problem of anti-Semitism, as well as the almost reflexive anti-Israel animus that often prevails in the media.”