In a horrifying editorial cartoon published online and in print in The Daily Californian, UC Berkeley’s student-run campus paper, Alan Dershowitz, a Jewish American supporter of Israel, was vilified using classic anti-Semitic tropes and imagery. The cartoon was published in the paper just days after Alan Dershowitz spoke to an audience of students in the Boalt Auditorium on campus.

In response, Aviva Slomich, International Campus Director for CAMERA issued the following statement:

“The editorial cartoon published in The Daily Californian portrays Alan Dershowitz, a Jewish American, as a grotesque, conniving and sinister creature who crushes a person holding a Palestinian flag while hiding his complicity with the Israeli murder of an innocent man.  Such imagery evokes toxic narratives about Jewish malevolence and, by suggesting that non-Israeli Jews are morally responsible for the alleged actions of Israel, arguably falls within the Working Definition of Antisemitism adopted by the US State Department.

We call upon the The Daily Californian to retract the cartoon, immediately issue an apology, and re-evaluate their editorial and professional standards.”

A print version of the cartoon that appeared in The Daily Californian [Photo: Bears for Israel Facebook page].
Responding to the incident, Bears for Israel at UC Berkeley published the following statement on their Facebook page:

“This cartoon was published in the Daily Californian, a few days after Alan Dershowitz spoke to an audience of students in the Boalt Auditorium. It uses classic anti-Semitic tropes and imagery. This rhetoric and imagery is nowhere more common than in Nazi propaganda used by the Third Reich.

We are strong supporters of productive political discourse through campus media, but this is not productive. To a Jewish student on this campus, seeing this cartoon in the DailyCal is a reminder that we are not always welcome in the spaces we call home. It is terrifying that the cartoonist and the editors did not do their due diligence and research to know about the pervasive use of this rhetoric by the Nazi propaganda machine.

The editorial team should ask themselves why they felt it was acceptable to portray a Jewish person – who is not even Israeli – with an arachnoid body. This should have rung some alarm bells in someone’s mind, but it apparently did not. The fact that our campus newspaper printed this cartoon is deeply disturbing, traumatizing, and disrespectful to the Jewish students at this school.

We will be addressing this cartoon in a longer statement and taking steps to work with the administration and the Daily Cal to remedy this.”

CAMERA on Campus staff are working to assist the students on the ground at UC Berkeley.

Update: Co-Presidents and External Outreach Director of CAMERA-supported group Bears for Israel published this Op-Ed in The Daily Californian in response to the cartoon.

Contributed by Lia Lands.

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