Editor’s note: Retraction and apology for anti-Semitic editorial cartoon


The editorial cartoon that ran in our opinion page Oct. 13 failed to meet our editorial standards and has been retracted.

The cartoon hearkened to clearly anti-Semitic tropes. It should not have been published, and we sincerely apologize that it was.

The cartoon depicted Alan Dershowitz presenting as he crouched on a stage, with his body behind a cardboard cutout labeled “The Liberal Case for Israel.” Dershowitz was drawn with twisted limbs. His foot was crushing a Palestinian person; placed in his hand was a depiction of an IDF soldier next to someone the soldier had shot.

We apologize to our readers and members of our staff who were hurt by the cartoon. We especially apologize to Alan Dershowitz for the ways it negatively impacted him both personally and professionally.

As is clear in the outpouring of criticisms and condemnations by community members both in Berkeley and beyond, the cartoon was unacceptable. The thoughts of several community members have since been published in the form of letters to the editor.

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.

Additionally, we are ensuring that a detailed knowledge of the history of harmful visual propaganda becomes an integral part of how we train our staff.

We understand and take responsibility for the harm we have caused our readers and our staff. We hear you, we accept your criticism, and we will learn from our errors.

Karim Doumar is the editor in chief. Contact the opinion desk at [email protected]

Please keep our community civil. Comments should remain on topic and be respectful.
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  • Sanych

    I am really surprised by the criticism of the cartoon form Mr. Dershowitz and other prominent persons. Their complaints had been focusing only on the imagery – specifically, on the presentation of Mr. Dershowitz and other defenders of the state of Israel as some sort of a cruel inhuman objects. Comparisons were made with similar cartoons in “Der Sturmer”.

    However, one has to go further. The message in “Der Sturmer” cartoons was that the Jews control the world and usurp the product of other nations. This message and not the cartoons what led to the Holocaust.

    The message in the DailyFeCal was that Israel murders Palestinians just for their national inspiration. This is the message that comes not just from the cartoons, but from all coverage of Israel in the ultra-left “progressive” publications. And we all know that this message is false.

    It is astonishing that Mr. Dershowitz and others who protested the cartoon did not even bother to protest this anti-Israel propaganda. Thus, indirectly, they had accepted it.

    As far as editors’ apology – these are just empty words. A better – truthful – coverage of Israel is needed.

  • Happy Fella

    The staff of this newspaper should close it down. They should then go to their homes or to a library, open a history book, and see if they can learn something. These are college students?

  • TheMule61

    The fact that you would publish this without any internal alarms going off in the heads of the editors shows just how utterly brainwashed the UC system has become at the hands of Jew-hating leftist scum.

  • Albert

    As a Holocaust survivor I found your despicable act very disturbing. I lost my 18 months old sister, my grandparents in the concentration camp of Bershad, Ukraine. How in the name of decency could you commit such a heinous act?

  • Loog Moog

    Everyone-Jews, Arabs, Californians, and everyone else- must admit to being a sinner and ask Jesus for forgiveness. Then start over anew. If you do, I will see you in Heaven ! Do it SOON, PLEASE.

  • Edward Devotion

    That you were too blind to see is more a problem. It will likely happen again in another context. Burst your progressive bubble and get in tune with liberal values.

  • HowdyNSA

    Hi Karim! I stopped by to wonder when we will hear the real story of why you were forced to retract the cartoon and grovel for an apology? Did they threaten to throw you out of school or threaten a lawsuit?

    There is no way that cartoon fits the definition of what people call “Anti Semitism”.

    If that exact same cartoon showed someone who supported Burma’s actions against the Rohinga Muslims, nobody would say anything.

    If that exact cartoon showed someone who supported China’s treatment of the people of Tibet, nobody would say anything about it.

    Only Israelis can get away with mistreating an entire group of people, and then claim they are the victims when others point out their mistreatment of that group of people. And they usually get away with it by threatening lawsuits, which is why I wonder if they threatened you or Berkeley with one.

    Don’t let people control you Karim. You had every right to print that cartoon which depicts reality as the world knows it.

    • Edward Devotion

      Ignorant comment. Perhaps hit the history books.

  • even I can smell a half hearted apology from here

  • Larry Edelstein

    This is your third try at an apology for this vile cartoon, isn’t it? I’m dismayed at living in the same zip code as you.

  • Killer Marmot

    Covering a community means listening to that community and reflecting its beliefs, feelings, fears and opinions.

    If you do that, you may well end just up as an amplifier of that community’s errors and bigotries. Instead you need individual integrity to guide you when everyone around you has lost their moral bearings. You need a sense of right and wrong that does not bend to the fads of the day or the whims of the majority.

  • Jon R.

    Mr. Doumar,

    As a member of Berkeley Jewish community, I appreciate what seems to be your genuine contrition for your role in publishing what was an objectively anti-Semitic cartoon. But what is was missing from this apology, as is missing in most apologies, is the “how” of the entire ordeal. How could have this been drawn in good faith? Did the artist or any of the editors really not know the stereotypes of the scheming Jew? Or the blood-thirsty Jew? Have none of them heard of the blood libel, or seen how it’s depicted in the 21st century? Or have these tropes just become normalized on college campuses when discussing Israel?

    The artist, Mr. Mayorga, has yet to show any contrition, or make any public statement at all. So in all likelihood these questions will never be answered. Yours was a full-throated apology, which usually signals the end of any discussion of a misdeed. But if you are all really at Berkeley to learn about yourselves and others, maybe it’s time for some introspection. Maybe ask yourselves why you purportedly stand against bigotry of all forms, yet seem to have blindspots for bigotry against certain groups. Is it because you perceive us not as the oppressed, but as the powerful, who don’t need or deserve allyship as much as other groups? Maybe ask yourselves why, in the age of “Jews will not replace us”, do you publish work which aligns you with the chanters.

    As painful as this episode was, I hope this isn’t the end of it. I truly hope to hear the “how” of this ordeal. And I hope to hear if you’ve learned anything about yourselves from it. Because that’s what college is supposed to be about, isn’t it?


    Jon Rapaporto

    • lspanker

      The artist, Mr. Mayorga, has yet to show any contrition, or make any public statement at all.

      I’m certainly not expecting one from him, but not because I believe he’s necessarily a foaming anti-Semite. Anyone who has seen his cartoons and scratched their heads over what message he is trying to get across has probably come to the conclusion that he’s not a very bright guy who tries to grasp at concepts he fully doesn’t understand in his various and sundry unsuccessful attempts to be humorous.

  • lurker

    So, what you’re saying is that anti-Semitism is actually OK, you just shouldn’t have expressed your own anti-Semitic views in a cartoon?

    • Thorn A. Fusco

      if this is what you come up with when you try to comment, maybe stick to lurking

  • Tod_Zuckerman57

    You need to post my response to Rab (no reason to censor it) . In a word, it is a huge mistake for Jews to immediately accept apologies from Jew haters. Jews need to learn from their history

    • rab

      I’m well aware of our history. Arguing with me is a distraction. Focus on the issue here: antisemitic things were published, people protested, the editors became informed over time, they apologize, and now it’s time to consider what happens next. Critics can continue to beat them over the head, or provide advice and guidance to ensure they are more careful and better informed in the future. I choose the latter, in large part because the former presumes they are activists who did this cynically and knowingly. They aren’t, or at least most of them aren’t. They are young students on a campus where anti-Israel activism is a common activity in certain circles. If you expose them to other lines of thinking and information, and propose they become more discriminating in coming to conclusions about a complex topic and conflict, they will naturally arrive at different conclusions.

      That is preferable to continuing to attack them. People should be allowed to make mistakes. If they repeat them, that’s a different matter. But right now, we are talking about one instance.

      • Tod_Zuckerman57

        Rab: You are better than me – I will grant you that. However, I beg to differ – we are way to quick to accept apologies from those who hate us. Finally, would you be so forgiving if the Daily Cal published an anti-African American/Latin American/Muslim American cartoon? I think not – you might even be demanding a mass resignation.of the Daily Cal staff. Too many Jews do not stick up for themselves. That, again, is our history.

        • rab

          I think you’re right overall, but ultimately not in your approach. That’s why I’m pointing out that in their campus environment, anti-Israel activism – which often is anti-Semitic or slides into anti-Semitism in some way – is common and provides “cover” in that it’s supposedly political. But this is a sophisticated distinction to make in many cases, often obscured by intelligent and articulate faculty who know precisely what they’re doing. That’s precisely why these editors may not have been cognizant of the implication of their actions. That’s precisely why they need a break from the Hatem Bazians and the JSPs and JVPs and have the opportunity to talk to others, to start reading different resources, and to stop buying into the demonization of Israel and supporters.

          “Sticking up for ourselves” takes many forms, and I think informing others is a pretty good one, mostly because I’m fairly confident that when people know the facts, even if they remain critical of Israel, the discussion about it becomes a reasonable and fair one.

  • lspanker

    While the retraction is a step forward, I don’t think many of the readers are convinced that the Cutural Marxist tendency of categorizing groups as either “oppressors” or “victims”, with the latter given wide latitude to behave in a manner that would be instantly condemned if done by the former, has received the critical examination it desperately needs. Some additional self-reflection should be considered…

    Fareed Zakaria: Liberals think they’re tolerant, but they’re not

  • rab

    Thank you for the apology and sincere letter.
    Some will continue to criticize you, and that’s fair, but this apology is meaningful and demonstrates a genuine learning curve on the part of the editors.

    Here’s an interesting idea for your writers and editors to consider as you try to understand how you stepped into this pile of dung. Try to research and write about the process, a large part of which has been influenced at your university (with people such as Hatem Bazian), by the way, in which criticism of Israel at universities has become a process that mines and relies upon old anti-Semitic tropes. The murderous Jew. The Jew who kills children. The Jew who manipulates governments. The Jew who controls what you know. In other words, look at that cartoon you posted and seek to understand how you ended up there.

    Try to figure out why countries with far, far worse human rights records are given a pass on campuses while one country (and its defenders) is attacked although, for all its flaws, it is a democracy and a safe space for million of Jewish refugees and their descendants, and has been willing to compromise on the land (including multiple peace offers to the Palestinians) going as far back as 1937 but has been forced into wars over and over.

    Ask yourselves how it is that, just as an example, Iran, a thuggish theocracy which murders over 500 political and cultural opponents in its jails every year (Israel kills zero prisoners) doesn’t receive the same type of criticism on campuses (or the media, or the UN). Ask yourselves how it is you never hear about Turkey’s illegal occupation of Cyprus since 1974 although Turkey is a NATO member and an ally on whose territory the USA keeps nuclear weapons that constantly attacks its own Kurdish citizens, has shuttered universities and has arrested tens of thousands of innocent people including students and faculty in recent months. Ask yourselves how it is the UN has been hijacked by undemocratic regimes so that only one country is targeted by this body (more resolutions against Israel at the UNGA and UNHRC than all the rest of the world’s countries combined).

    Come on, smart young men and women of Berkeley, stop being so intellectually lazy and easily manipulated. Stop listening to the propaganda. Ask yourselves how a tiny country, smaller than Los Angeles, forged in a war that was imposed upon it, has become the focus of so much hostility and hatred while larger, more influential, more dangerous, undemocratic, vicious, murderous regimes remain off your campus’s (and others’) radar screens.

    Thanks again for your apology. I’m sure it’s been a hard week for all of you.

  • Tod_Zuckerman57

    This “apology” is even more sickening than the Nazi-style cartoon. the cartoon, no doubt, gave Doumar got a warm, fuzzy feeling . Now, he is playing CYA . Finally, anti-Zionism is a code word for Jew hatred. Doumar and his gang at the Daily Cal just made it even more obvious.

  • Todd

    Thank you.

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