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Exclusive: Over 20 Tory MPs call for full apology from Sunday Times over 'blood libel' cartoon

Over 20 Conservative Members of the British Parliament have written to The Sunday Times expressing their concern and disgust over the blood libel cartoon published on Sunday

by The Commentator on 28 January 2013 17:39

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Twenty-five Conservative Members of Parliament have written to the Sunday Times Acting Editor Martin Ivens today, following on from The Commentator's report on a 'deplorable' blood libel cartoon published last Sunday.

Described by The Commentator's Executive Editor Raheem Kassam as a 'modern blood libel', a phrase which the Anti-Defamation League also invoked, the cartoon depicted a big-nosed, Quasimodo-esque Benjamin Netanyahu, building a concrete wall using the blood of Palestinians.

Numerous news outlets and commentators have reflected on the nature of the cartoon, which was shared over 4,000 times from The Commentator's site yesterday, and reached an audience of hundreds of thousands around the world. Today, the Sunday Times released a statement from then editor, stating, "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."

Now, 25 Conservative Members of Parliament, have expressed their 'shock and disappointment' towards the Sunday Times, stating that the cartoon does indeed 'echo the blood libel' used against Jews. The letter states that the cartoon alone is objectionable, but the printing of it on Holocaust Memorial Day in particular displayed 'uncharacteristically poor judgement'. The 25 MPs have asked for an official apology to be printed in next week's Sunday Times.

THE FULL LETTER STATES:

"We were shocked and very disappointed to see the cartoon by Gerald Scarfe, published in the 27th January edition of the Sunday Times.

In a statement, a Sunday Times spokesperson stated that the cartoon was not intended to be anti-Semitic and was aimed at Mr Netanyahu and his policies. However, the way Netanyahu is physically caricatured and the concept of Israel using Palestinian blood, echoing the ‘blood libel’, are anti-Semitic tropes reminiscent of those commonly used in the 1930’s. The conflation of Israel with these historic depictions of Jews is very offensive.

The printing of the cartoon alone is objectionable enough but made even more so that you would see fit to print such an image on Holocaust Memorial Day. It should be a time to remember the horrors of the Second World War and the six million Jewish people who perished at the hands of the Nazi regime.

The Sunday Times has shown uncharacteristically poor judgement in printing this cartoon. Refusal to acknowledge the upset this has caused in the Jewish community and beyond is further evidence of this conclusion. We hope that you will see fit to print an apology in the next edition."

SIGNED BY:

1. Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP

2. David Burrowes MP

3. Rebecca Harris MP

4. Jack LoPresti MP

5. Bob Blackman MP

6. Guto Bebb MP

7. Neil Parish MP

8. Gordon Henderson MP

9. Graham Evans MP

10. James Morris MP

11. Robert Halfon MP

12. Philip Hollobone MP

13. Priti Patel MP

14. Heather Wheeler MP

15. Harriet Baldwin MP

16. Mike Freer MP

17. Angela Watkinson MP

18. Bob Neill MP

19. Paul Maynard MP

20. Nadhim Zahawi MP

21. Matthew Offord MP

22. Angie Bray MP

23. Pauline Latham MP

24. Andrew Percy MP

25. Bernard Jenkin MP

Read more on: martin ovens, blood libel, sunday times, The Sunday Times, and conservative party
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