The Guardian must sack Richard Sharp cartoonist, says Rabbi Leo Dee

Bereaved rabbi rejects Martin Rowson’s apology for his ‘odious’ caricature of Jewish ex-BBC chairman


Rabbi Leo Dee, whose wife and daughters were shot dead by terrorists in the West Bank last month, has demanded the Guardian fire the cartoonist accused of fostering antisemitism with his caricature of the departing BBC Chairman, Richard Sharp.

Withdrawing the offending image, which depicted Sharp with a long nose and hooded eyes, carrying a box marked 'Gold Sac' [an abbreviated Goldman Sachs] containing an octopus, was not enough, Rabbi Dee said.

Dee refused to accept the cartoonist Martin Rowson’s apology, and called for the Guardian to fire him.

Rabbi Dee’s wife, Lucy, and his daughters Rina, 15, and Maia, 20, were shot dead as they travelled by car from their home in Efrat for a family holiday in the Galilee. Before making aliyah in 2014, Dee had served as a rabbi in Radlett and Hendon. The murders – whose perpetrators have not been caught – touched communities in both Britain and Israel deeply, and thousands attended the victims’ funerals.

Rabbi Dee made his call to sack Rowson in an open letter to the Guardian distributed early on Wednesday to journalists who have covered the shooting. He asked that it be shared widely. 

“Two and a half weeks ago I lost my beloved wife and two of our daughters to the vile evil of antisemitic Palestinian Arab terror funded by the terror state of Iran,” his message begins.

“Today’s terror is rooted in such gratuitous antisemitic tropes as yesterday’s hateful media characterisation and cartoons of Jewish people of which Streicher and the Nazis would be proud.”

There could be no excuses for publishing such material, Rabbi Dee said. His message goes on:  “Just as the FA in England have embraced a zero-tolerance ‘kick it out’ stance to racism so do you and others need to act. It is not enough for the Guardian to have ‘withdrawn’ the odious and overtly antisemitic recent cartoon of recently resigned BBC chair Richard Sharp, nor for your cartoonist to have apologised -- he needs to be sacked.

“For too long we have been oppressed by a pernicious strain of antisemitism in the media."

The JC has approached the Guardian for comment.

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