Cartooning for Peace protests against the Süddeutsche Zeitung’s
dismissal of the German cartoonist Dieter Hanitzsch because of the
following cartoon published in the same newspaper on 15 May
It represents Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an outfit and decorum
referring to Israeli singer Netta Barzilai’s victory at Eurovision 2018. He pronounces
the sentence “Nächstes Jahr in Jerusalem!” (Next year in Jerusalem!), tweeted by the
leader of Israel following the victory.
It is up to each person to make his or her own idea and judgement, according to his
or her experience, opinions and individual knowledge. Dieter Hanitzsch, who says he
made this drawing to criticize current Israeli policy and the exploitation of his
compatriot’s victory, explains its aim in an interview with the newspaper Dresdner
Kurt Kister, the newspaper’s editor, while acknowledging from the outset that in his
view the cartoonist he has known for a long time is neither racist nor anti-Semitic,
reacted to the decision in an article published on the newspaper’s website2.
While he does not consider the cartoon as being anti-Semitic, he shares the many
individual and public criticisms and attacks that detect a series of anti-Semitic
stereotypes and clichés in the cartoon that, even if not knowingly used for this
purpose, would be likely to be understood as anti-Semitic or feed into such discourse.
In this context, the Stürmer is even mentioned, a newspaper pushing the Nazis’ anti-
Semitic obsession to its extremes. As for the newspaper’s second editor, Wolfgang
Krach, like his colleague, maintains that the drawing could be interpreted as anti-
Semitic. He added that this had been the subject of internal and external debate and
that the decision to dismiss would be motivated not only by the design but also by
subsequent exchanges with its author. He apologized on behalf of the newspaper
and promised to review his editorial procedures to avoid further controversy.
In a nutshell: a cartoonist who, more or less, no one considers anti-Semitic, is
nevertheless dismissed in dishonourable conditions.
Cartooning for Peace deeply regrets the newspaper’s decision to dismiss the
cartoonist for this cartoon as a result of public pressure. Cartooning for Peace also
regrets that the newspaper does not take even greater collective and editorial
responsibility for the newspaper and disassociates itself from its cartoonist once the
storm has started and then proposes to review its editorial approach to the
publication of the cartoons and revise it if necessary. Cartooning for Peace deplores
what amounts to a reduction in freedom of expression, all the more so as this type of
control is likely to become a model.
Cartooning for Peace, which has been fighting against anti-Semitism, Islamophobia
and all forms of racism since its creation, deplores an attack on freedom of
expression and the abusive dismissal of the cartoonist after a long career with the
Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.