The Daily Californian, a University of California, Berkeley student newspaper, has retracted and apologized for an anti-Semitic cartoon featuring legal scholar Alan Dershowitz.
The cartoon, as The Daily Wire previously reported, features “Dershowitz sticking his head through a cardboard cutout. On display above him is the title of his recent speech: ‘The Liberal Case for Israel.’ Behind the cardboard wall, Dershowitz is stomping on a Palestinian and holding up an Israeli soldier who is shooting what appears to be an unarmed man.”
On Friday, Editor-in-Chief Karim Doumar released a statement apologizing for the cartoon:
The editorial cartoon that ran in our opinion page Oct. 13 failed to meet our editorial standards and has been retracted. The cartoon hearkened to clearly anti-Semitic tropes. It should not have been published, and we sincerely apologize that it was. …
We apologize to our readers and members of our staff who were hurt by the cartoon. We especially apologize to Alan Dershowitz for the ways it negatively impacted him both personally and professionally.
As is clear in the outpouring of criticisms and condemnations by community members both in Berkeley and beyond, the cartoon was unacceptable. The thoughts of several community members have since been published in the form of letters to the editor.
Covering a community means listening to that community and reflecting its beliefs, feelings, fears and opinions.
As part of our ongoing education, we will be meeting with local religious leaders and experts to improve our understanding of the historical context behind these types of images and contemporary manifestations of anti-Semitism. Additionally, we are ensuring that a detailed knowledge of the history of harmful visual propaganda becomes an integral part of how we train our staff.
We understand and take responsibility for the harm we have caused our readers and our staff. We hear you, we accept your criticism, and we will learn from our errors.
Two things should be noted:
First, on Wednesday, Doumar half-defended the cartoon, writing in part:
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. We regret that the artistic rendering distracted from the discussion the artist was trying to start.
The criticism we have received reaffirms for us a need for a more critical editing eye, and a stronger understanding of the violent history and contemporary manifestations of anti-Semitism. …
Second, Doumar’s apology never explicitly states that the message of the cartoon was anti-Semitic, only that the way it was drawn “hearkened to clearly anti-Semitic tropes.”
Intentional or not, Doumar did not apologize for the idea that the cartoon promoted — that the defense of Israel by Alan Dershowitz is disingenuous, driven primarily by his ethnic heritage — which is a deeply troubling perspective.