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Cartoonists in the news: Tony Auth

The Jewish Exponent covered a recent speaking engagement with Tony Auth, the editorial cartoonist for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Tony shared some of his work from his 30 year career with the Inquirer and since he was speaking at a Jewish gathering, he talked about some of the controversies that have been raised due to his cartoons.

The event brought a somewhat controversial figure to a Jewish audience. In 2003, Auth was criticized by several Jewish groups for a cartoon he drew in response to Israel’s plan to build a security barrier separating Jerusalem from the West Bank. It depicted a Star of David made out of a wire fence, with each of the seven sections enclosing groups of huddled Palestinians.

The image prompted outrage from the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, the Anti-Defamation League, the Zionist Organization of America, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Philadelphia and the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, with many saying that the use of a Jewish star and Holocaust imagery crossed the line to anti-Semitism.

Judith Ginsberg, the president of the Philadelphia section of the National Council of Jewish Women, said that the group invited Auth to speak because of his long career addressing national issues, and that she “can’t accept his being anti-Semitic.”

She admitted receiving a few anonymous phone calls telling her that the NCJW was wrong to host the cartoonist. From the lack of tough questions from the audience, she felt those people simply didn’t show up.

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