On Saturday, the Economist published a cartoon “that many observers criticized as anti-Semitic,” the Washington Free Beacon reports:
The cartoon in questions was published alongside an article focused on the challenges of reaching a final nuclear deal with Tehran.
It featured President Obama in leg shackles towing a ball labeled “U.S. Congress.” Embedded in the image of Congress are two Jewish Stars of David, which observers saw as a reference to the anti-Semitic canard that Jewish people control Congress.
The Economist removed the image on Monday following backlash from readers.
At Honest Reporting.com, Simon Plosker notes:
The cartoon is clearly meant to imply that both U.S. President Obama and Iranian President Rohani are being constrained in their efforts to reach out to each other. In the case of Obama, the U.S. Congress is portrayed as the proverbial ball and chain.
But take a closer look. Two Stars of David appear, one in the outer rim and the other located directly over the eagle symbol.
Note that this is not an Israeli flag but a Jewish symbol. Is the cartoonist implying that Congress is under Jewish control?
Jewish control over governments, the media and the international financial system is a classic feature of anti-Semitism and the cartoon is, wittingly or unwittingly, promoting this trope.
As Plosker goes on to write, “This falls firmly under the working definitions of anti-Semitism from both the U.S. State Department and the EU.” He zoomed in to create a close-up of the image; working from this larger copy of the cartoon, I did the same thing, enlarged slightly, and with a little unsharp mask added to bring out the Star of Davids in the Congressional seal the Economist’s cartoonist drew.
And as the Weekly Standard adds, “The cartoon remains on the Economist‘s Middle East & Africa landing page, where the Iran story is the top featured article.” Here’s a screencap of that page. The Middle East is rife with conspiracy theories; something that the Obama-supporting Economist is well aware of, however, the publication certainly doesn’t seem to mind adding fuel to the fire in that region.