Greedy 'Moloch' Ogre Depicts Israel in German Cartoon

Newspaper Apologizes for Anti-Semitic Imagery


By JTA

Published July 04, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A cartoon purportedly showing Israel as a greedy “Moloch,” published in a major German daily, has set off a firestorm of protest, despite an apology by the newspaper.

Artist Ernst Kahl said he was shocked to learn that the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily newspaper used his drawing of a greenish, horned monster being served breakfast in bed by a pale, plump maid - originally created for the German gourmet magazine “Der Feinschmecker” - to illustrate a review of two new books on Israel, according to German news reports.

Heiko Flottau’s review, with the headline “The Decline of Liberal Zionism,” dealt with American author Peter Beinart’s book, whose title in German translates to “The American Jews and Israel. What is going wrong,” and German TV journalist Werner Sonne’s book “Raison d’état? Germany’s Liability for Israel’s Security.” The article appeared in the prominent paper’s July 2 edition.

Under the lurid illustration, the caption reads, “Germany at your service. For decades, Israel has been provided with weapons, partly free of charge. Israel’s enemies consider the country to be a voracious Moloch. Peter Beinert regrets that it’s gotten this far.”

One day after the article came out, Editor Franziska Augstein issued a statement that “the publication of the illustration in this context was a mistake.”

Dieter Graumann, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, decried the use of the image. Likewise, Jewish columnist Henryk Broder, in his commentary in German daily newspaper Die Welt, compared the drawing to the infamous “Sturmer” caricatures published by rabid anti-Semite Julius Streicher during the Third Reich. The Simon Wiesenthal Center also has weighed in. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Los Angeles – based organization, blasted the illustration in a comment to the Jerusalem Post.

Deidre Berger, head of the Germany office of American Jewish Committee, lodged a complaint with the German Press Council over the pairing of the article with the drawing, and Israel’s ambassador to Germany, Yakov Hadas-Handelsman protested in a letter to the paper’s editor in chief, Kurt Kister.

Meanwhile, artist Kahl told Germany’s main Jewish weekly, the ”Jüdische Allgemeine,” that his illustration for the gourmet magazine was among his drawings that had been available for use by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung. But he said he wished the Sueddeutsche editors had asked him before using it in this context. “I would have absolutely said ‘no,’” he told the Allgemeine.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.