Leading Jewish organisation demands urgent meeting with The Guardian’s editor after newspaper is engulfed by anti-Semitism storm over ‘sickening’ cartoon of ex-BBC chairman
- The Board of Deputies of British Jews requested a ‘meeting’ with Katherine Viner
- It comes after The Observer published Diane Abbott’s ‘racist’ letter last week
The editor of The Guardian is facing calls to resign after the newspaper was accused of publishing a ‘sickening’ anti-Semitic cartoon.
MPs last night told Katharine Viner to consider her position after the Left-wing paper published an offensive cartoon of ex-BBC chairman Richard Sharp featuring Jewish stereotypes, before making what was dubbed a ‘half-hearted’ apology.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews requested an ‘urgent meeting’ with Ms Viner over the ‘shocking’ cartoon, saying it was ‘far from the first time the paper has crossed the line’.
The controversial image by Martin Rowson showed a caricature of Mr Sharp, who is Jewish, with what experts described as a string of anti-Semitic tropes.
Mr Sharp dramatically quit as BBC chairman on Friday after a report found he broke the rules by failing to disclose his role in helping former prime minister Boris Johnson secure an £800,000 loan.
The editor of The Guardian is facing calls to resign after the newspaper was accused of publishing a ‘sickening’ anti-Semitic cartoon (pictured)
MPs last night told Katharine Viner (pictured) to consider her position after the Left-wing paper published an offensive cartoon of ex-BBC chairman Richard Sharp featuring Jewish stereotypes, before making what was dubbed a ‘half-hearted’ apology
The cartoon, published on Saturday, depicted the ex-Goldman Sachs banker carrying a box from the bank stuffed with a squid and what appeared to be gold coins.
It came after The Observer, also owned by Guardian Media Group plc (GMG), published a letter by Labour MP Diane Abbott which suggested that only black people can face racism.
She said Jews, travellers and Irish people may face discrimination, but that is due to ‘prejudice… not racism’.
Ms Abbott, who has since been suspended by the Labour Party, also likened the prejudice suffered by Jews to that faced by ginger-haired people.
Tory MP Andrew Percy, who is Jewish and vice-chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on anti-Semitism, said: ‘The cartoon was disgusting. What’s irritating about it is that they’re all pious at The Guardian about abuse of anybody on their side of politics, and yet they’ve got a history of pretty vile, racist abuse in cartoons.
The cartoon, published on Saturday, depicted the ex-Goldman Sachs banker (pictured) carrying a box from the bank stuffed with a squid and what appeared to be gold coins
‘They’ve obviously got a cultural problem. It’s Trumpian really. They clearly have a blind spot on anti-Semitism. Anybody should have looked at that Diane Abbott letter and thought ‘we can’t print this, this is clearly racist’, and they should have looked at this cartoon and also thought ‘this is clearly racist’.
I assume these things have to be signed off. That’s the shocking thing about it. More than one person probably looked at that cartoon, looked at the grotesque tropes that are in it and thought ‘this is OK to print’.’
Asked if Ms Viner should consider her position, Mr Percy said: ‘Yes.’ He added: ‘If this had been a cartoon of anything else, any other form of racism, I have no doubt that people would be resigning.’
Fellow Tory MP Peter Bone said: ‘It was sickening. It says a lot about the people running The Guardian.
‘Apparently nobody looked at it and thought there was anything wrong with it. There should be a full inquiry because there’s serious questions for The Guardian to answer and obviously the editor is the one who’s overall in charge of what is published.’
Speaking to the BBC, Lord Soames of Fletching – Sir Winston Churchill’s grandson – described the cartoon as ‘utterly contemptible and vile’.
While the squid in the cartoon seemed to be a reference to Goldman Sachs – once described by Rolling Stone magazine as ‘a great vampire squid’ – it is also a ‘common anti-Semitic motif’ used to depict a supposed Jewish conspiracy, according to Dave Rich, an author who specialises in anti-Semitism.
Critics also highlighted that the cartoon appeared to feature a bloodied pig’s head and Rishi Sunak portrayed as a puppet.
Jewish Chronicle editor Jake Wallis Simons said the cartoon displayed ‘that blend of patrician liberalism and far-Right bigotry that is The Guardian’.
Mr Rowson said he knew Mr Sharp was Jewish because they both attended the fee-paying Merchant Taylors’ School in north London, but insisted that fact ‘never crossed my mind as I drew him’.
A Guardian spokesman said: ‘The Guardian apologises to Mr Sharp, to the Jewish community and to anyone offended.
‘We have received a small number of complaints about the cartoon. The Guardian’s independent readers’ editor is considering these and will respond in due course.’
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