New York Times to Cease Political Cartoons After 'anti-Semitic' Depiction of Netanyahu

The Times will end contracts of two of its leading cartoonists, who were not responsible for the Netanyahu caricature. 'Maybe we should start worrying,' one cartoonist says

The New York Times caricature

The New York Times announced on Monday that it will cease publishing political cartoons, weeks after the newspaper came under fire for publishing a cartoon that was slammed because it had been deemed blatantly anti-Semitic. 

The cartoon, which sparked controversy worldwide, showed U.S. President Donald Trump wearing a skullcap and being led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was depicted as a guide dog wearing a necklace with a Star of David. 

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The Times issued an apology in April for the "anti-Semitic cartoon," and called its publication "an error in judgement." It also dropped the syndication service that provided the illustration. 

Editorial page editor James Bennet spoke out on Monday, saying that "for well over a year we have bringing that edition into line with the domestic paper by ending daily political cartoons."

He added that the newspaper terminated its contracts with two cartoonists and that the decision will come into effect on July 1.

Patrick Chappatte, one of the Times' cartoonists, wrote on his website that the publication's decision was directly related to the Netanyahu cartoon. "I’m putting down my pen, with a sigh," Chappatte wrote. "That’s a lot of years of work undone by a single cartoon – not even mine."

Chappatte condemned the publication of the cartoon but expressed concern that media outlets are increasingly under pressure by "moralistic mobs" that "gather on social media."

"I’m afraid this is not just about cartoons, but about journalism and opinion in general," Chappatte wrote. "Over the last years, some of the very best cartoonists… lost their positions because their publishers found their work too critical of Trump. Maybe we should start worrying. And pushing back. Political cartoons were born with democracy. And they are challenged when freedom is."