OAN’s Stephanie Stahl
12:11 PM – Saturday, November 11, 2023
The Washington Post yielded to criticism from readers and removed an editorial cartoon following complaints that it was perceived as “racist” and dehumanizing towards Palestinians.
On Wednesday, the cartoon entitled “Human Shields,” was taken down after receiving backlash.
The cartoon shows a Hamas spokesperson is depicted saying, “How dare Israel attack civilians,” while a frightened woman and four small children are shown bound with rope to his body.
Owen Jones, a columnist for The Guardian, wrote, “This racist dehumanization is always a precondition for mass murder of the sort currently taking place in Gaza.”
David Shipley, the editorial page editor of The Washington Post, chose to remove the cartoon after it “was seen by many readers as racist.”
“This was not my intent,” Shipley wrote, before apologizing.
“I saw the drawing as a caricature of a specific individual, the Hamas spokesperson who celebrated the attacks on unarmed civilians in Israel. However, the reaction to the image convinced me that I had missed something profound, and divisive, and I regret that. Our section is aimed at finding commonalities, understanding the bonds that hold us together, even in the darkest times,” he wrote.
The newspaper relayed feedback from readers, who criticized it for allegedly perpetuating “racial stereotypes” and expressed discontent that the cartoon seemed to attribute the deaths of Palestinian civilians to Hamas rather than Israel.
“The caricatures employ racial stereotypes that were offensive and disturbing. Depicting Arabs with exaggerated features and portraying women in derogatory, stereotypical roles perpetuates racism and gender bias, which is wholly unacceptable,” one reader from Fairfax, Virginia, wrote in a letter to the Post.
“I am a scholar of religion and media; I recognize a deeply racist depiction of the ‘heathen’ and his barbarous cruelty toward women and children when I see it again in Michael Ramirez’s Nov. 8 editorial cartoon. It is in no way informative, helpful or thought-provoking to look at this conflict through the glasses of 19th-century colonialists,” Suzanne van Geuns, a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University, criticized.
Others on social media had a different reaction to the cartoon, saying there is “nothing wrong” with it.
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