Updated: Edmonton Journal Apologizes for Antisemitic Cartoon

August 8, 2019

Update: August 9, 2019

Today, the Edmonton Journal issued the following apology in an effort to make amends for its having published an antisemitic cartoon by Malcolm Mayes recently:

“Last week, on Aug. 1, the Edmonton Journal ran an editorial cartoon depicting a shadowy figure in a wallet next to the words “Data hacker” in relation to the breach of customer information at Capital One.

It has since been pointed out that the image of the person bears resemblance to anti-Semitic tropes prevalent in some anti-Jewish propaganda. This resemblance was entirely unintentional, but given that association, the Edmonton Journal apologizes for the publication of the cartoon.

We are re-examining the procedures we have in place to vet editorial content to avoid future such occurrences.”

HonestReporting Canada thanks the Journal for promptly and professionally addressing this matter and for taking a concerted effort to address and atone for producing and giving a platform to this hateful and bigoted cartoon.

Presently, we’re concerned about the vetting process at the Journal in light of this cartoon’s publication. We’re appreciative that the Edmonton Journal has agreed to meet with HonestReporting Canada next week to discuss this matter in Edmonton. We look forward to discussing how the Journal can institute strict editorial policies to ensure that only constructive opinions are printed by the publication, and not caricatures that fan the flames of hatred. We look forward to forging a cooperative relationship with the Journal.

Update: August 8, 2019

The Canadian Jewish News (CJN) covered this incident and HRC’s efforts to break this story in an article entitled: “Edmonton newspaper under fire for ‘anti-Semitic cartoon'”.

The CJN’s report stated the following:

“Mike Fegelman, executive director of Honest Reporting Canada, which broke the story on Aug. 8, also confirmed to The CJN that they will be meeting with the newspaper to discuss the cartoon.

Fegelman points to Mayes’s history of drawing anti-Israel cartoons. In October 2010, he depicted an Israeli settler dismantling a wooden peace symbol to build a home in the West Bank. More recently, in May 2018, he drew co-operating hands labelled “Hamas” and “Israel” stuffing Palestinians into a meat grinder.

‘Mayes has a track record of illustrating odious cartoons that have offended the Jewish community and supporters of Israel, and that many felt crossed the line,’ Fegelman says. ‘As a result, we review every cartoon he creates.’”

Original Alert: August 8, 2019

On August 1, the Edmonton Journal published the following cartoon by Malcolm Mayes which has been criticized for being antisemitic:

The cartoon was in reference to the Capital One data breach where as many as six million people in Canada may have had their personal information (social insurance numbers, bank account information, etc.) leaked. Mayes illustration depicted what appears to be a menacing looking old Jewish man with a gratuitous big nose who was the data hacker and who stole people’s money as he sits inside their wallet. Importantly, the Capital One data hacker was identified as a woman, yet Mayes drew an image of an elderly (apparently Jewish) stereotypical man.

The only thing missing from this cartoon is a Star of David and a yarmulke to play off the age-old antisemitic trope and Jewish conspiracy theory.

The Edmonton Jewish Federation described the cartoon as antisemitic and sent a complaint to the Journal and requested a meeting with the Journal. Meanwhile, Edmonton residents Susan & Murray Lieberman and Pierre Morin condemned the publication of this cartoon, their letters were published on August 3 and 5 respectively:

Mayes has a history of anti-Israel caricatures. In May of 2018, Mayes illustrated Israel and Hamas putting innocent Palestinians in a meat grinder:

At the time, Edmonton Jewish Federation President Steven Shafir condemned Mayes’ “very brutal and visceral perspective, and neither reflect the reality on the ground as we have come to understand it.”

In October 2010, HRC flagged an Edmonton Journal cartoon by Mayes entitled “Peace dismantled to build Israeli settlements” depicting an Israeli “settler” taking apart a wooden peace sign and using it to build a “settlement home” in the disputed territories. The cartoon’s message: Jewish settlements are the primary obstacle to peace in the Middle-East.

At the time, Steven Shafir also responded to this vile piece of anti-Israel propaganda by asking Edmonton Journal editors if they would consider running a counter-cartoon showing the peace sign being dismantled by Palestinian terrorists and used to build suicide bombs. Other letters, supportive and against, can be viewed here and here.

HonestReporting Canada has filed a complaint with Edmonton Journal Managing Editor Dave Breakenridge and Opinion Editor Bill Mah and we have asked for an in-person meeting to discuss this matter.

If you’re appalled by this cartoon and if you view it as antisemitic, please express your outrage by sending a letter to the Edmonton Journal at: letters@edmontonjournal.com.


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