Letter to the Editor: Why Economist's Sly anti-Semitic Cartoon Must Be Protested

It's exactly the 'subtlety' of the cartoon which made the magazine's editors think they could get away with it.

Abraham Foxman
Abraham Foxman
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Abraham Foxman
Abraham Foxman

To the Editor, In response to “Making a cartoon out of support for Israel,” Anshel Pfeffer, opinion, January 22:

Anshel Pfeffer would like his readers to believe that if the anti-Semitic content of the Peter Schrank cartoon in the Economist was subtle, its anti-Semitic effect was negligible – even to the point of not being worthy of critical comment.

We obviously saw it quite differently. It is precisely that “subtleness” which greatly disturbs us. Had the anti-Semitic imagery of the cartoonist been more grotesque, it is doubtful the Economist’s editors would have published it. It was the slyness of the image and its placement which enabled the editors to believe they could get away with it. That’s why it called for a strong reaction.

The cartoon’s unmistakable theme echoes anti-Semitic accusations of Jewish control over international governments which routinely appear in cartoons throughout the Arab and Muslim press. And while cartoons like the Economist’s rarely appear in mainstream Western publications, it important that we speak out when they do.

It is unfortunate that Mr. Pfeffer is unable or unwilling to acknowledge and understand the cartoon’s intent. And while we may respectfully disagree, we do not call his analysis “stupid, wrong and counterproductive.”


Abraham H. Foxman

National Director, Anti-Defamation League

The Economist cartoon called 'anti-Semitic' by the Anti-Defamation League

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