The Munich newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung published on Tuesday a fierce anti-Israel cartoon with anti-Semitic characteristics. The sketch depicts a sick, hungry monster, symbolizing Israel, which, according to accompanying explanation, is fed by German weapons. The caption reads: "Germany presents: Israel received weapons for decades, sometimes for free. Israel's enemies believe it is a hungry moloch."
The cartoon was published in the newspaper's literary section, next to a review of books dealing with Israel, one of which is Jewish-American author Peter Beinart's The Crisis of Zionism, which caused a lively debate in the Jewish community in the U.S.
Beinart is prominent representative of Jewish American liberalism, and a vehement critic of Israel's government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
As expected, the leaders of the German Jewish community denounced the newspaper for the publication of the cartoon. Dieter Graumann, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany said it was "almost in the level of Der Stürmer," the infamous Nazi party mouthpiece.
The paper reacted by publishing a statement in its website asking "Is a hungry monster anti-Semitism?" The paper added that the cartoon had "nothing to do with anti-Semitism," but agreed that since the cartoon "caused misunderstanding, it would have been better to choose a different one." Last year the paper published an anti-Israeli poem by Gunter Grass' leading to accusations that the German author was anti-Semitic.