U.S. President Joe Biden lies awake in bed, clad in red-and-white striped pajamas, as he lies awake in bed with his sheets conveniently decorated with “Biden.” The source of his restlessness? A leak in the bathroom sink, in the foreground, in which blood and skulls drip below Star of David-shaped faucet handles.
“This is disgusting, Buffalo News,” wrote Tamar Schwarzbard, head of digital operations at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of a cartoon published in the Buffalo, N.Y. newspaper.
“Is that the Buffalo News or Der Stürmer?” asked Lahav Harkov, of Jewish Insider.
Rabbi Mendy Labkowski of the Chabad Center for Jewish Life of Buffalo Downtown called the drawing “really the next level.”
“You could’ve used the flag of Israel. You could’ve made it—in other cartoons, it’s more Israel-based, and this one really went to the core,” the rabbi told the Buffalo television station WGRZ. “Really took the muck end of it—the Star of David, which everyone knows is a Jewish symbol and symbolizes Jewish people.”
Adam Zyglis, the paper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist who drew the cartoon, posted the drawing and tagged it with “Gaza death toll.” He did not appear to respond to many comments calling the cartoon antisemitic.
“We understand the sensitive nature of this issue and are committed to publishing a variety of thoughtful viewpoints on this topic,” the Buffalo News responded to a complaint from a reader, per WGRZ. “Political cartoons make their point by exaggerating the issues involved. This can make them especially pointed, and this cartoon certainly was that.”
“Tuesday’s cartoon is largely a criticism of President Biden, expressing the viewpoint that the president is doing too little in response to what some consider a disproportionate response by Israel in Gaza,” the paper said. “In the cartoon, President Biden is depicted as uncertain or inattentive as the death toll rises in Gaza. We understand many people will disagree with that point of view.”
“If you’ve been following Adam’s cartoons, you will have seen that he has commented on the loss of innocent lives in Gaza and also confronted antisemitism,” it added. “In addition, our own editorials have dealt with the serious issue of rising antisemitism, and our syndicated columns have largely defended Israel.”
The Buffalo Jewish Federation posted that the entire letters-to-the-editor section of the next Sunday edition will be devoted to the cartoon. The Federation previously posted its outrage about the drawing which it said “casts blame on all Jews.”