German Paper Publishes, in Error, an anti-Semitic Cartoon

Berliner Zeitung mistakenly thought that image was a front page of the Paris satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet
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Berliner Zeitung's front page, in a tribute to Charlie Hebdo.
Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet

The daily Berliner Zeitung in error published an anti-Semitic cartoon on its front page, under the mistaken impression that it was a front page of the satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo.

In a tribute to the French magazine a day after the massacre at its editorial offices, the Berlin daily published several of Charlie Hebdo's past cover pages.

One of them, however, was a fake, showing a cartoon drawn by the anti-Semitic illustrator Joe le Corbeau. The cartoon showed an orthodox Jew, with a caption saying “1 million rebate out of six, for Palestine.” The word “rebate” is a wordplay suggesting rabbis and rebate in German.

People at the Israeli embassy in Berlin noticed the erroneous cartoon and pointed out references that should have alerted the editors at Berliner Zeitung.

These include the fact that the name of the magazine on the cover is Charlo instead of Charlie, and the barcode at the bottom of the cartoon indicates 6,000,000, the number of Jewish Holocaust victims and not a real barcode number.

Embassy officials also noted that the pineapple that appears next to an orange banner in the cartoon is a reference to a song by the anti-Semitic French comedian Dieudonne, labeled “Shoananas.” The singer’s website boasted of posting this fake tribute.

Berliner Zeitung a day later apologized for posting the cartoon.