Dear Mr. Oliphant:
We were deeply disturbed by the imagery in your July 30 cartoon, "Diplomacy 101," in which the state of Israel is represented as a bearded ultra-Orthodox Jew clad in long black coat and black hat.
This image of the Jew in ultra-Orthodox garb, when used in a political context, conveys a universally recognized anti-Semitic stereotype and is an inappropriate representation of the state of Israel. It is a representation of Jews. Although Israel is the national homeland of the Jewish people, clearly not all Jews are Israelis. Moreover, the overwhelming majority of Israeli Jews are not ultra-Orthodox. Compounding the offense, the stereotypical Jew is shown standing in a commanding posture over an identifiably Arab – and presumably Palestinian – man, telling him to "shaddup, already!" reinforcing the hateful notion of Jews as evil oppressors of Palestinians. No matter what views one may reasonably have regarding Israeli policies, imagery attributing those policies to all Jews extends beyond commentary into the realm of anti-Semitic tropes.
The stereotypical ultra-Orthodox Jew is a recurring theme in newspaper cartoons across the Muslim and Arab world that routinely engage in anti-Semitic depictions of the Jewish state. We understand that was not your intent.
While we generally give great latitude to editorial cartoonists on these issues and understand that the exaggeration of facial and other features is one of the tools of your trade, there are many other less offensive images you could have used as a substitute to depict the state of Israel, as you did with the images for Britain and Poland.
The Anti-Defamation League