The New York Times has been forced to apologise for publishing a cartoon drawn by a Portuguese cartoonist that was lambasted for being “anti-Semitic”.
The controversial cartoon depicts Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a guide dog for a blind US President Donald Trump and appeared in the opinion section of the international print edition of the paper on April 25.
It had initially been published in Portugal’s Expresso newspaper before being picked up by the US publication.
Negative reactions to the cartoon started almost immediately and eventually Donald Trump took to his Twitter page to demand an apology.
“The New York Times has apologized for the terrible Anti-Semitic Cartoon, but they haven’t apologized to me for this or all of the Fake and Corrupt (sic) news they print on a daily basis. They have reached the lowest level of “journalism,” and certainly a low point in @nytimes history,” the American president wrote.
The newspaper’s first statement about the controversy described the decision to publish the “offensive” cartoon as an “error of judgement”, but the outrage that followed forced the publication to launch a stronger statement shortly after.
It said: “We are deeply sorry for the publication of an anti-Semitic political cartoon last Thursday in the print edition of The New York Times that circulates outside of the United States, and we are committed to making sure nothing like this happens again.
“Such imagery is always dangerous, and at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise worldwide, it’s all the more unacceptable,” it continued.
The cartoonist, described only as António, has defended himself saying that the cartoon is not anti-Semitic and is instead a criticism of Israel’s “criminal” stance towards Palestine and Donald Trump’s “blind” support.