Sunday Times acting editor to apologise to Jewish leaders over Netanyahu cartoon

A bad start to his new job for acting editor of the Sunday Times, Martin Ivens. He is to apologise personally to the Board of the Deputies of British Jews after publishing a cartoon that has been branded antisemitic and been disowned by Rupert Murdoch, according to the Guardian.

The cartoon, by renowned cartoonist Gerald Scarfe, depicted Israeli leader Binyamin Netanyahu paving a wall with the blood and bodies of muslims. It was published this past Sunday, which was holocaust memorial day.

Scarfe has also apologised saying it was not intended to be an attack on the Jewish people and that he was “stupidly completely unaware that it would be printed on Holocaust day, and I apologise for the very unfortunate timing”.

On Sunday night the Sunday Times issued a statement saying it was “a typically robust cartoon by Gerald Scarfe” that was “aimed squarely at Netanyahu and his policies” and not at Israel or the Jewish people.

Ivens issued a statement saying “the last thing I or anyone connected with the Sunday Times would countenance would be insulting the memory of the Shoah or invoking the blood libel. The paper has long written strongly in defence of Israel and its security concerns, as have I as a columnist. We are, however, reminded of the sensitivities in this area by the reaction to the cartoon and I will of course bear them very carefully in mind in future.”

However, the situation escalated after proprietor Murdoch branded it grotesque and offensive. He tweeted: “Gerald Scarfe has never reflected the opinions of the Sunday Times. Nevertheless, we owe major apology for grotesque, offensive cartoon.”

The Guardian quotes a News International insider on the Ivens apology. He was only confirmed as the acting editor on January 21 as his boss and former Sunday Times editor, John Witherow, was appointed acting editor of The Times.