Cartoon Depicts Netanyahu as Nosferatu, Newspaper Apologizes

Yesterday Montreal’s La Presse published an editorial cartoon by Serge Chapleau depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the title character from the 1922 film Nosferatu.

From the Montreal Gazette:

La Presse has apologized after a cartoon depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a vampire sparked outrage.

The depiction, by veteran editorial cartoonist Serge Chapleau, was widely denounced, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau describing it as antisemitic and “distasteful.”

“The drawing was intended to be a criticism of Mr. Netanyahu’s policies. It targeted the Israeli government, not the Jewish people,” Stéphanie Grammond, La Presse’s chief editorialist, said Wednesday in a post on the newspaper’s website.

The Gazette carries many disgusted reactions to the cartoon.

The CBC reports:

In the cartoon, Netanyahu stands on a ship above an inscription that reads “Nosfenyahou, en route to Rafah.”

Politicians, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Jewish leaders criticized the cartoon, calling it antisemitic and reminiscent of Nazi propaganda against Jews.

Serge Chapleau, the cartoonist who drew it, dismissed the criticism in an interview with CBC and said he did not believe it was antisemitic. Nonetheless, by late morning, the cartoon no longer appeared on the La Presse website and the newspaper issued an apology.

Chapleau, who has drawn political cartoons for La Presse since 1996, said people are overthinking the meaning of the cartoon.

“It’s a caricature based on an old character Nosferatu, an old vampire who goes and invades another country,” Chapleau said in French. “That’s all, it’s not worse than that. If you look up cartoons of Netanyahu, you’ll see much worse.

“It’s not antisemitic, it’s not that at all.”

The apology from La Presse notes that:

It was unfortunate to depict the Prime Minister as Nosferatu the vampire, since this cinema character was used in Nazi propaganda during the Second World War, as readers pointed out to us after publication. [via Google Translate]

Not to mention centuries of Christian blood libel accusations.

How willfully blind does a cartoonist and an editor have to be to depict a Jew as a vampire?

The Algemeiner Journal ‘s story includes a statement from Honest Reporting Canada:

At best, Serge Chapleau’s cartoon is the result of profound and incomprehensible ignorance, borrowing from antisemitic imagery to depict a Jew, and which, incredibly, was allowed to be published by La Presse, which, at best, shares in the same total ignorance about antisemitic propaganda. At worst, the cartoon reflects something much darker, not just at the hands of the cartoonist, but of the publication that evidently saw no problem whatsoever with its printing it in the first place, until there was public opprobrium which led to the cartoon no longer being featured on La Presse’s website.

2 thoughts on “Cartoon Depicts Netanyahu as Nosferatu, Newspaper Apologizes

  1. Nosferatu also brought plague with him on that ship.

    Steve Brodner’s cartoon today uses a Nosferatu reference, doubtless in response to Serge Chapleau’s. Brodner does it better.

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