New York Times to cease political cartoons after anti-Semitism row

The New York Times had planned for a year to cease running political cartoons in the international print version.
The New York Times had planned for a year to cease running political cartoons in the international print version.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - The New York Times has announced that it will no longer include daily political cartoons in its international edition, weeks after apologising for publishing a caricature of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu deemed anti-Semitic.

The cartoon, published in April, depicted Mr Netanyahu as a guide dog wearing a Star of David collar and leading a blind US President Donald Trump - who was wearing a kippah, or a Jewish skullcap.

It prompted an uproar within the Jewish community, with Israel's ambassador to the United Nations likening the drawing to the content of Nazi propaganda tabloid Der Sturmer.

Editor James Bennet said the paper had planned for a year to cease running political cartoons in the international print version of the Times, in line with the US edition.

The decision will come into effect on July 1, Mr Bennet said in a Monday (June 10) statement.

Mr Patrick Chappatte, one of the paper's leading cartoonists, said the decision was directly related to the Netanyahu cartoon.

He condemned the publication of the caricature at the centre of the controversy but said he was concerned that media outlets were increasingly buckling under political pressure and criticism from "moralistic mobs" on social media.

"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," Mr Chappatte wrote on his personal website.

Mr Bennet said the newspaper hoped to keep working with Mr Chappatte and fellow contributor Heng Kim Song on other projects.

New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger had announced in May that the editor who published the cartoon would be disciplined.