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Message About LA Times Cartoon Outdated

ADL has received complaints about an editorial cartoon, "Worshipping Their God" by Michael Ramirez of the Los Angeles Times, which portrayed two men worshipping at a wall labeled "hate." The complaints are based on an e-mail message that has recently circulated on the Internet. This e-mail message contains information long outdated.

This Ramirez cartoon appeared in the Times and in other newspapers in October of 2000. The cartoon depicted a Jew and an Arab (not two Jews) praying before a wall labeled "Hate." The wall was not intended to be the Western Wall, though many in the Jewish community assumed it was.

Although the subject of controversy at the time, the matter has long since been put to rest.

Shortly after the cartoon appeared, ADL produced a survey of editorial cartoons, which explained the incident as follows:

The Ramirez cartoon, "Worshipping Their God," which appeared in the Los Angeles Times on Oct. 6, 2000 after surfacing on the Times Internet site three days earlier, was syndicated to newspapers across the country and also widely disseminated across the Internet. After a barrage of complaints, including from major Arab and Jewish organizations, that the cartoon was unfair and insensitive, the cartoonist himself issued a public response: "There seems to be a misperception by some that my cartoon depicts the Western Wall and that I blamed the Israelis solely for the hatred and violence in the Middle East. Actually, the metaphor depicts BOTH Israelis AND Palestinians worshipping "hate."

The Los Angeles Times published a letter from ADL criticizing the cartoon the following day. This was followed on October 15 by a lengthy commentary by the newspaper’s ombudsman, Times Associate Editor Narda Zacchino, who described the public outcry as "unprecedented." She stated: "Obviously, the cartoon failed to communicate his (Ramirez’s) message. In addition, virtually no one saw the image as anything but the Western Wall, the use of which in the cartoon was careless and insensitive."

 
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