A satirical cartoon of recent UC Berkeley campus speaker, the attorney Alan Dershowitz, that many saw as having anti-Semitic overtones has been retracted by the Daily Californian, and the editor of the student-run paper has published a formal apology.
"We apologize to our readers and members of our staff who were hurt by the cartoon," writes Daily Cal editor Karim Doumar. "We especially apologize to Alan Dershowitz for the ways it negatively impacted him both personally and professionally."
Doumar continues, "As is clear in the outpouring of criticisms and condemnations by community members both in Berkeley and beyond, the cartoon was unacceptable... 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."
The editorial cartoon by Joel Mayorga depicted Dershowitz, who had come to campus to give a talk called "The Liberal Case For Israel," crouched on a stage with his head sticking out of a cardboard cutout labeled “The Liberal Case for Israel.” But hehind the cutout he has twisted limbs, with one foot crushing a Palestinian person, and in his palm is an IDF soldier next to a bloodied person the soldier had shot. Many felt that the image recalled ancient anti-Semitic myths about "blood libel."
Several Jewish students on campus wrote in to the paper about other imagery that the cartoon evoked, like that of a hook-nosed Jew with contorted limbs like a spider.
Dershowitz himself wrote a letter to the editor, which was published Thursday, in which he says, "This sequence of events by hard-left students who originally protested my right to speak at UC Berkeley confirmed what I’ve long believed: that there is very little difference between the Nazis of the hard right and the anti-Semites of the hard left. There is little doubt that this abhorrent cartoon was a hard-left Neo-Nazi expression." He also balked at the fact that such reactions from students would come after he gave a speech in which he supported the idea of a Palestinian state and opposed Israeli settlement policies.
He added, "Those who condemn hate speech when it comes from the right should also speak up when hate speech comes from the left. The silence from those on the left is seeped in hypocrisy."