Sunday Times editor explains 'blood libel' cartoon publication

The acting editor of the Sunday Times has clarified the paper's decision to feature a cartoon demonising Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the edition published on Holocaust Memorial Day.

Gerald Scarfe's image, showing a grotesque Mr Netanyahu looming over a wall with Palestinians caught between blood-splattered bricks, has been condemned as reminiscent of a blood libel by media monitor Honest Reporting.

Martin Ivens, the newspaper's acting editor, said the last thing he or "anyone connected with the Sunday Times would countenance would be insulting the memory of the Shoah or invoking the blood libel".

He is to meet representatives of the Jewish community this week to discuss the controversy.

Mr Ivens pointed to the paper's record – and his own as a columnist - of having "written strongly in defence of Israel and its security concerns".

He added: "We are however reminded of the sensitivities in this area by the reaction to the cartoon.

"I will of course bear them very carefully in mind in future."

Last updated: 3:25pm, January 28 2013