A German newspaper has apologised after publishing an “anti-Semitic” cartoon in which a Jewish tech billionaire appears as an octopus tentacles across the globe.
The SimonWiesenthalCenter criticised the depiction of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in Süddeutsche Zeitung last Friday, saying it was “starkly reminiscent” of cartoons produced by anti-Semite Julius Streicher in the Nazi-era “Der Stuermer” title.
“If anyone doubts the anti-Semitic dimension of this cartoon, look at Zuckerberg’s very prominent nose, which is not the case in real life,” said Efraim Zuroff from the Simon Wiesenthal Centre. “It is absolutely disgusting.”
In the drawing, the 29-year-old Facebook chief executive, whose company recently announced a major acquisition, is portrayed as an octopus with a hooked nose, fleshy lips and curly hair. In Nazi-era propaganda Jews were commonly depicted as octopuses, spiders, vampires and devils.
“The nefarious Jew/octopus was a caricature deployed by Nazis as a staple in their hateful campaign against the Jews,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre. “The exaggerated nose removes any question that this was unconscious anti-Semitism.”
Cartoonist Burkhard Mohr this week apologised for any offence caused by his drawing and issued an updated version, replacing Zuckerberg’s face with a blank rectangular hole.
“Anti-Semitism and racism are ideologies which are totally foreign to me, the last thing I would do,” he said. The newspaper also apologised via Twitter.