The Philadelphia Inquirer apologized for publishing an editorial cartoon that pushed “antisemitic tropes” this week.
The editorial board for the big city paper put out a piece expressing regret for posting cartoonist Monte Wolverton’s illustration on Tuesday. The cartoon criticized Israel’s response to Hamas’ murder of around 1300 people in the Jewish state.
“It is clear this cartoon was highly insensitive, particularly at the current moment when antisemitism is on the rise. We hear the outcry and apologize for the pain it caused,” the editorial declared.
The image created by the Cagle Cartoons-syndicated artist depicted a massive black military boot emblazoned with a Star of David about to step on a crowd of Palestinians that contained multiple Hamas militants scattered throughout.
A speech bubble attributed to the boot wearer – a representation of the Jewish state about to crush its enemy – stated, “Distance yourselves!” The crowd of Palestinians and Hamas militants was drawn scattering under the approaching boot, which appeared poised to crush most of the people depicted.
Wolverton had shared the drawing to social media platform X, where many users rebuked the image. One posted, “This cartoon is shameful,” another claimed, “Monte supports baby killers,” and someone else stated, “Nice moral relativism, you antisemitic piece of trash.”
The Wednesday editorial stated, “The Inquirer Editorial Board regrets the publication of an editorial cartoon by Monte Wolverton of the Cagle Cartoons syndicate that appeared in Tuesday’s editions.”
The board admitted, “In hindsight, the cartoon depicting an oversized Israeli military boot stepping on Hamas terrorists hiding among civilians in response to the Oct. 7 attack should not have been published.”
It also claimed, “Regardless of the interpretation, the illustration reinforces pernicious antisemitic tropes about Israeli aggression.”
The piece then linked to an earlier editorial to prove that the board condemned Hamas’ “heinous attacks days after they occurred, and has expressed its unequivocal belief that Israel has the right to defend itself from Hamas’ aggression.”
That piece said, “The horror and outrage of the surprise attacks on Israel by Palestinian militants in Gaza are being compared with the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, in America and the bombing of Pearl Harbor.”
It added, “Hundreds were killed and several thousand were injured. The scenes captured on video were heartbreaking and hideous: An Israeli child was executed in front of her siblings and parents. Hamas fighters paraded the semi-naked body of a woman through the streets on the back of a pickup truck.”
The board’s condemnation of the cartoon included a pledge that it will better vet cartoons for the outlet so as to “to prevent failures like this one from occurring again.”