The New York Times has withdrawn a cartoon published last week on the opinion page of its international edition that was flagrantly anti-Semitic. It showed President Trump wearing sunglasses and a yarmulke being pulled by a dachshund with the face of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (he is shown wearing a Star of David collar).
The Times has since apologized, and columnist Bret Stephens tried to put the issue to rest in a critical article on the subject today. However, this is not the first time the Times has been embroiled in a controversy over cartoons.
In March 2002, the Times published an editorial cartoon, “Terror Widows,” that mocked widows of those who died on 9/11 for receiving money from the government and charities; one panel showed a widow lamenting her husband’s death. After an outcry, led by widows and relatives who lost a loved one that day, the cartoon was pulled from the website of the newspaper.
Four years later, the New York Times showed how protective it is of Muslim sensibilities when it refused to publish the Danish cartoons. Muslims objected to an inoffensive depiction of Muhammad. That was enough for the Times to declare that it is wrong to publish “gratuitous assaults on religious symbols.”
Then, in what will be remembered as one of the most revealing statements the Times has ever made about its treatment of Muslims vis-a-vis Catholics, art critic Michael Kimmelman wrote an article recalling how the Catholic League protested the 1999 “Sensation” exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. His interpretation of what happened was not the issue: the accompanying photo was.
Kimmelman favorably compared the Catholic League’s free speech response
to the photo of Our Blessed Mother—the one smeared with elephant dung,
surrounded with porn cut-outs—to the violent reaction of Muslims angry
with the Danish Cartoons. Incredibly, on the same page that the Times decried the cartoons that upset Muslims, it reprinted the offensive photo of the Virgin Mary!
The bottom line is this: When it comes to publishing cartoons or photos that are anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic or anti-Muslim, the New York Times has one standard for Jews and Catholics and another for Muslims.