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UC Berkeley Student Paper Retracts Anti-Semitic Alan Dershowitz Cartoon

Alan Dershowitz
Alan Dershowitz / Getty Images
• October 27, 2017 12:19 pm

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The University of California-Berkeley student newspaper has retracted its cartoon of Alan Dershowitz widely condemned as anti-Semitic.

The Daily Californian‘s editor-in-chief, Karim Doumar, announced Oct. 27 that the cartoon depicting Dershowitz "should not have been published, and we sincerely apologize that it was."

The action follows a wave of criticism from Dershowitz, Berkeley chancellor Carol Christ, and leaders in the Jewish community for the publication of the drawing that showed Dershowitz abusing Palestinian activists, one squashed underneath his foot, the other bleeding in his hand, shot by an Israeli soldier.

Drawn by student Joel Mayorga, Dershowitz was depicted with his contorted body hidden behind a cutout touting the "liberal case for Israel," a subject the Harvard Law School professor often discusses.

"As is clear in the outpouring of criticisms and condemnations by community members both in Berkeley and beyond, the cartoon was unacceptable," wrote Doumar.

"Covering a community means listening to that community and reflecting its beliefs, feelings, fears and opinions. As part of our ongoing education, we will be meeting with local religious leaders and experts to improve our understanding of the historical context behind these types of images and contemporary manifestations of anti-Semitism," continued Doumar.

The editor apologized to Dershowitz, its readers, and Daily Cal staff members, and promised "that a detailed knowledge of the history of harmful visual propaganda becomes an integral part of how we train our staff."

"We understand and take responsibility for the harm we have caused," wrote Doumar.

The retraction comes after a Wednesday statement from Doumar explaining "the artist's intent."

The cartoonist meant "to argue that the contents of civil liberties lawyer and professor emeritus at Harvard Law School Alan Dershowitz's recent lecture at UC Berkeley were hypocritical," wrote the editor. "We regret that the artistic rendering distracted from the discussion the artist was trying to start."

The cartoon was published after Dershowitz gave a speech at Berkeley about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Chancellor Christ called the image "offensive, appalling, and deeply disappointing" and said it was reminiscent of "the centuries-old ‘blood libel' that falsely accused Jews of engaging in ritual murder."

Dershowitz has called for the Daily Cal to fire the cartoonist.