Adam Zyglis Cartoon Riles Jewish Community

Controversy is surrounding an Adam Zyglis cartoon.

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) – Leadership in Buffalo’s Jewish community says it’s upset over Tuesday’s Buffalo News cartoon by Adam Zyglis. They say the cartoon is anti-Semitic rather than a critique of Israel.

From WBEN:

Rabbi Mendy Labkowski of Chabad Center For Jewish Life tells WBEN the cartoon, featuring a bathroom sink with Stars of David faucets and bloody skeletons emerging from the spout, has elicited profound distress within the Buffalo Jewish Community. “The use of the Star of David, a symbol of Judaism, transforms this depiction into an anti-semitic attack rather than a critique of the Jewish State of Israel,” says Labkowski.

While neither Adam Zyglis nor The Buffalo News are speaking on the record about the cartoon for the moment WGRZ did get hold of a response from The News to a local letter writer:

We understand the sensitive nature of this issue and are committed to publishing a variety of thoughtful viewpoints on this topic. Political cartoons make their point by exaggerating the issues involvedTuesday’s cartoon is largely a criticism of President Biden … In the cartoon, President Biden is depicted as uncertain or inattentive as the death toll rises in Gaza. We understand many people will disagree with that point of view … [Adam] has commented on the loss of innocent lives in Gaza and also confronted antisemitism. In addition, our own editorials have dealt with the serious issue of rising antisemitism and our syndicated columns have largely defended Israel … We will keep your thoughts in mind as we continue to comment on this conflict.

The Buffalo News is calling for the public to comment on the cartoon:

Response to editorial cartoon is overwhelming. We want to hear more.

We recognize a responsibility to hear what our readers have to say about Adam Zyglis’ Yuesday cartoon, as well as the attack on Israel and that country’s response and will devote Sunday’s letters page to the responses. They can be emailed at

20 thoughts on “Adam Zyglis Cartoon Riles Jewish Community

  1. Adam Zyglis, an incompetent cartoonist is employed by a company that could not sustain a marketable newspaper in Buffalo And yet they work in Cleveland but still call it the Buffalo News. Maybe it should be called the Antisemitism news of Cleveland. The only subscribers to this paper are the senile old Democrats who think their going to lose their social security if a Republican gets into office.

  2. And what image is prominently displayed in the middle of the Israeli flag?

    Criticism of Israeli policy and actions is not antisemitism. This is an old tactic to deflect criticism they can’t defend.

    1. Criticism of Israel may not be antisemitism, but in this case it is.
      I wear a Star of David because I am Jewish. I do NOT wear a flag of Israel, because I am not Israeli.
      If the cartoon was directed only at Israel, why didn’t it use the Israeli flag? Instead it used a symbol that represents JEWS!
      How is that not antisemitic?

      1. I see the point of the criticism. I think the challenge for the cartoonist is that the Magen David makes a convenient faucet handle where an Israeli flag does not. Disentangling Jewish symbolism from Israeli symbolism is tricky and in this case the artist chose poorly.

      2. Because Israel is using being Jewish as a cover for Zionistic/Nazi policies. I feel betrayed because I used to believe in the Jewish state.

      3. The star of Israel is the symbol of the state of Israel as displayed prominently on its flag. The cartoonist should not be prohibited from using Israeli symbols to criticize its policies merely because its symbols are also associated with the Jewish community. If anyone is to blame here it is Israel itself by adopting a national symbol so closely associated with Judaism, in effect inviting the world to identify it with the Jewish people. Of course that was in fact the founders of Israel’s intent. But the natural consequence of that decision is that the Jewish community does, in some minds, end up blamed for perceived Israeli misdeeds. But the responsibility here lies with those who chose to identify Israel with Judaism, and not those who use Israel’s chosen symbols to criticize it.

  3. If a nation puts its religious symbol on their flag, that is the symbol cartoonists will use to represent the nation. A cartoon critical of the British government by using the Union Jack is not anti-Christian. Likewise with any of the Scandinavian nations’, Greek or Serbian flags.

  4. I’m exhausted from this but honestly, the NYT is leading with a story about the sexual violence Hamas engaged in on 10/7. All of this blood is on the head of Yaha Sinwar. All he had to do was NOT kill, rape, and kidnap Israelis and all of those people would still be alive.

    1. Beat, starve, and imprison people on their own land and you don’t expect to be bit? We punished people for doing this to animals… OH! Right, Israel thinks of Palestinians, and many other ethnicities as animals, because they are Gods chosen people.

      1. If it is justifiable to murder innocent Israeli citizens for the perceived crimes of the Israeli authorities, then presumably you also agree that it is justifiable to murder innocent Gazans for the alleged crimes of Hamas.

  5. Perspective, folks: If a reader focuses on the right-hand panel portion his / her eye will be drawn to the two large Stars of David, and understandably the reader might therefore interpret the ‘toon as expressing the antisemiticism that Jews are steady murderers; viewing the whole panel, however, with the U.S. President shown, hopefully would reveal the sociopolitical theme the cartoonist intended, not a racioreligious one.
    This poorly-thought-out ‘toon is unfortunate. One of several better renderings would have had standard faucet handles drawn but with one labeled “HAMAS” and the other “IDF”.

    1. I agree. At least the version you propose would identify the combatants accurately, and not conflate either side with any larger religious group.

  6. Hamas attacked, and is an evil terrorist organization that committed atrocities, which caused me to strongly side with Israel. But Israel seems to be TRYING to destroy the support they got in the wake of the attack.

    And this isn’t antisemitic. How ELSE would you represent Israel in something like a cartoon? Maybe show the whole flag? But some people would call it antisemitic if they DID show the whole flag. And Biden is just as much the target.

    1. Israel is trying to prevent its citizens from being massacred again by eliminating the organization which perpetuated the murders just as the U.S. effectively destroyed Al Qaeda after September 11 for the same reasons. Unfortunately, it is impossible to do this without killing civilians in the process, And a lot more Afghan and Iraqi civilians have been killed by the U.S. then Gazans have been killed by Israel.

  7. I don’t see how this is antisemitic.

    It is a picture portraying the truth about our incapable, zionist president as he stands by and blindly supports an apartheid regime in its genocide of the innocent Palestinian people.

    The Star of David is displayed on the Israeli flag and so its use in this case is proper.

    It’s unfortunate that the Jewish community has become so fearful of this but it’s not directed at them. Instead of wanting it removed they should willfully educate the population on the difference between a good Jewish person and a zionist. Just like Arabs/Muslims have had to educate people for decades on the difference between extremists and true Muslims.

  8. As cartoonists, we often use symbols and icons in our work. Drawing cartoons about Israel is tricky in this regard because while the Star of David is on the country’s flag, it’s not a symbol of the country – it’s the symbol of Judaism.

    So looking at a cartoon like this at face value, it’s easy to see how people – Jewish or otherwise – could consider it antisemitic, even though it obviously wasn’t Adam’s intention.

  9. blah blah blah….listen to the noise of >people< trying to convince you that calling out the gov. of Israel is antisemitic.

    1. Joe’s message above has been edited to be more friendly. I will take some name calling on myself (some), but debasing others commenting here will not be allowed.

  10. Try changing the message of the cartoon – aim it at Hamas, Hezbollah, Isis terrorism – and see how long that cartoonist lives?

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