The Board of Deputies has complained to a Catholic newspaper that published an antisemitic picture above a letter which complained about another instance of antisemitism in the publication.
Anthony Silkoff, the Board’s Interfaith and Social Action officer, wrote to the Catholic Times about a reader’s letter which had complained about “a dramatic increase in Jewish voices on the radio”, as well as a “Jewish comedian” using sexual slang.
Mr Silkoff described the original letter as “racist drivel”.
The Manchester-based Catholic Times published Mr Silkoff’s letter a fortnight ago, along with a message from Kevin Flaherty, its editor, saying the paper “takes the issue of antisemitism very seriously and apologises for any unintended offence to the Jewish community”.
But on the same page, in connection with a letter about the “dangers lurking in the masonic system of philosophy”, the paper published a picture showing “a masonic candidate ready for initiation”.
The man, blindfolded with his trouser leg rolled up, was standing in front of a door with two Stars of David above it.
Freemasonry involves a significant number of symbols, including the Star of David.
However, as Mr Silkoff highlighted, the picture of the man was taken from a Nazi-era antisemitic pamphlet about Jews using Freemasonry for subversion.
In a second letter to the Catholic Times, Mr Silkoff wrote: “At best, this is an incredibly grave mistake for you to use this Nazi image, and especially to use it on the same page where you had to print an apology for antisemitism.
“Where did you find this Nazi image and how did it end up in your paper?”
Mr Silkoff told the JC: “This episode has caused such concern because the Board really values the strong relationship we have with Catholics in Britain.
“We cooperate on lots of issues, particularly education and faith schools.
Our many friends in the Catholic church will be just as surprised as us to see this happen twice.”
Mr Flaherty said: “I had no idea the photograph was an antisemitic image.”
He said he had found the image on Google and not checked its source.