Text size

The editor of the New Statesman has apologized for a front cover featuring a Star of David standing on a Union Jack above the headline `A Kosher Conspiracy.'

Peter Wilby's apology follows widespread criticism of the British weekly's January 14 issue, which featured two articles investigating the influence of the British media's pro-Israel lobby.

Numerous articles debating a rise in British anti-Semitism have been published in recent weeks, many referencing the New Statesman cover illustration as an example of growing anti-Semitism. "We, or, more precisely, I got it wrong," writes Wilby in the leader of this week's edition of the journal.

"The cover was not intended to be anti-Semitic; the New Statesman is vigorously opposed to racism in all its forms. But it used images and words in such a way as to create unwittingly the impression that the New Statesman was following an anti-Semitic tradition that sees Jews as a conspiracy piercing the heart of the nation."

However, Wilby vigorously defends the articles highlighted by the controversial cover, describing one as "fair and balanced" and the other, by Australian journalist John Pilger, as "more contentious, but not anti- Semitic."

The New Statesman, he continued, remains opposed to the policies of the Israeli government and would continue to highlight those policies and "discuss the activities of lobbies in Britain and America that support them." But he added: "We shall try to present our views with greater sensitivity."

Protest about the magazine cover and its contents came from both Jewish and non-Jewish academics and politicians, as well as the leadership of Anglo Jewry. Last week, four Jewish activists, under the banner "Action Against Anti-Semitism," entered the journal's offices, demanding an apology be printed.