LONDON (AP) — The acting editor of Rupert Murdoch's Sunday Times newspaper apologized "unreservedly" on Tuesday for a cartoon depicting Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu building a wall using blood-red mortar that sparked outrage in the Jewish community.
Jewish leaders have said the cartoon was reminiscent of anti-Semitic propaganda, which is often blood-drenched. Anger was heightened by the timing: The cartoon was published on Holocaust Memorial Day.
Murdoch on Monday said the paper owed a "major apology" for publishing the cartoon by Gerald Scarfe, which shows Netanyahu wielding a long, sharp trowel and depicts agonized Palestinians bricked into the wall's structure.
His newspaper's editor, Mark Ivens, met Tuesday with Jewish community leaders to express regret over the cartoon's publication. He called the cartoon a "terrible mistake" and apologized "unreservedly" for any offense caused, saying the timing was "inexcusable" and the associations "grotesque."
"You will know that the Sunday Times abhors anti-Semitism and would never set out to cause offence to the Jewish people or any other ethnic or religious group," Ivens said. "That was not the intention last Sunday. Everyone knows that Gerald Scarfe is consistently brutal and bloody in his depictions, but last weekend— by his own admission — he crossed a line."
Mick Davis, chair of the Jewish Leadership Council, said his group welcomed the apology from the newspaper.
"I appreciate the urgency and respect with which the Sunday Times have treated Jewish communal concerns and now look forward to constructively moving on from this affair," he said in a statement.