The Chancellor of UC Berkeley has apologised after student newspaper the Daily Californian published an antisemitic cartoon depicting pro-Israel activist and celebrated lawyer Alan Dershowitz.
Dershowitz, a liberal supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, spoke at the College, answering questions from a large audience.
The cartoon depicts Dershowitz grinning, with his head showing through a hole in a wall with an Israeli flag and images of happy children. The words “the liberal case for Israel”, the title of Dershowitz’s talk, are written on the wall. Behind the wall, he is depicted as trampling on a Palestinian man and holding up an Israeli soldier depicted as carrying out what is essentially an execution of an unarmed boy who lies in a pool of blood.
According to the Definition of Antisemitism, “Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g. claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterise Israel or Israelis” is antisemitic. The image unequivocally invokes blood libel in the implication that Israel, and perhaps Dershowitz personally, is responsible for cold-blooded killing, without any balance being provided. The image also presents Dershowitz as duplicitous and dishonest, as he attempts to influence political thinking, ideas which are often applied to Jews as a manifestation of antisemitism.
Reportedly, posters for the event were also vandalized with Swastikas. According to the Definition of Antisemitism, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is Antisemitic.
The publication’s editors apologised, saying that they “have seen with sharp clarity the pain and anger caused… The criticism we have received reaffirms for us a need for a more critical editing eye, and a stronger understanding of the violent history and contemporary manifestations of antisemitism”.