Editorial Cartoonist David Cohen Gets a Letter

Like most of us in the world of journalism, Citizen Times cartoonist David Cohen has developed a pretty thick skin over the years.

More like a hide, you could call it. When you skewer politicians, public officials and other prominent folks in your editorial cartoons for 17 years, you’re going to ruffle some feathers, irritate some folks and generate some occasional hate mail…

So when Cohen got a letter mailed to him — anonymously, of course, because that’s the coward’s way — he wasn’t expecting a fairly potent dose of antisemitism. As he notes himself, he’s got about the most Jewish last name out there, so it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out his heritage.

But in 17 years of drawing for us, and 25 years of political cartooning overall, Cohen hasn’t been hit with this garbage before.

In this case, someone cut out a cartoon Cohen had drawn depicting defeated arch-conservative congressman Madison Cawthorn heading into the sunset and drew what’s supposed to be a caricature of Cohen, but with a large hooked nose and a Star of David pendant.

The figure is also apparently picking his nose with the left hand, while the right, looking more like a claw, is wrapped around a pencil. The dialog bubble reads, “Let’s see — with no more Cawthorn, who can I scribble and smear about? Oy!”

Asheville Citizen Times columnist James Boyle writes of the rising levels of anti-Semitic incidents, the dangers faced by journalists from fanatics, and talks to David Cohen about this and other experiences.

Initially, Cohen said, it made him laugh a little.

After a lot of feedback on his Facebook page and elsewhere, though, Cohen did decide to report it to the FBI and the Anti-Defamation League.