Student editors at The University of California, Berkeley’s newspaper apologized Wednesday for an “anti-Semitic” cartoon featuring lawyer and author Alan Dershowitz, a week after it was first published.
The cartoon depicted people looking at a board displaying “the liberal case for Israel” — referring to an October speech Dershowitz delivered at Berkeley — out of which poked Dershowitz’s head. An Israel Defenses Officer stands with a firearm over a dead body behind the board on what appears to be the author’s hand while Dershowitz’s foot crushes a man bearing the Palestinian flag.
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“It is shocking that this vile depiction was published in Berkeley’s paper of record,” said the former professor in a letter to the editor. “The cartoon resembles the grotesque anti-Semitic blood libel propaganda splashed across Der Stürmer in the 1930s, which depicted Jews drinking the blood of gentile children.”
Dershowitz was not the only critic of the cartoon. Laurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor and former colleague of the author, supported him, as well as Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League.
“I cannot recall anything similar in The Daily Californian, and I call on the paper’s editors to reflect on whether they would sanction a similar assault on other ethnic or religious groups,” said Berkeley chancellor Carol Christ, condemning the cartoon in a letter published by The Daily Wire.
The editors apologized for the cartoon a week after its publication.
“The artist’s intent was to argue that the contents of civil liberties lawyer and professor emeritus at Harvard Law School Alan Dershowitz’s recent lecture at UC Berkeley were hypocritical,” said Karim Doumar, editor-in-chief of The Daily Californian. “We regret that the artistic rendering distracted from the discussion the artist was trying to start.”
Doumar pledged that the paper staff would develop a better understanding of anti-Semitism.
“The best response to bigotry is the opposite of censorship: it is exposure and shaming in the court of public opinion,” said Dershowitz. “It should be widely circulated along with the names prominently displayed of the person who drew it and the bigoted editors who decided to publish it. Every potential employer or admissions officer should ask them to justify their bigotry.”
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