Buffalo Antisimetic Cartoon 2023

Buffalo Antisimetic Cartoon 2023. Rabbi Mendy Labkowski of Chabad Center For Jewish Life calls on the Buffalo News to appoligeis to the jewish community for the antisimetic cartoon published. Included is an interview with WGRZ Channel 2 News (Edited), as well with 930am-WBEN Radio News.

Channel 2 News WGRZ news piece (edited)
Rabbi Mendy Labkowski of Chabad Center For Jewish Life of Buffalo interview with 930AM-WBEN over Adam Zyglis cartoon published in the Buffalo News

Buffalo Rabbi Calls for Swift Action in Response to Antisemitic Cartoon Publication

Buffalo, NY — The Buffalo Jewish Community is deeply offended by the recent publication of an antisemitic cartoon in the December 26, 2023 edition of the Buffalo News by Mr. Adam Zyglis. Buffalo Rabbi and community leader Rabbi Mendy Labkowski of Chabad Center For Jewish Life is urgently addressing this matter to advocate for immediate and appropriate action.

The cartoon, featuring a bathroom sink with Stars of David faucets and bloody skeletons emerging from the spout, has elicited profound distress within the Buffalo Jewish Community. The use of the Star of David, a symbol of Judaism, transforms this depiction into an antisemitic attack rather than a critique of the Jewish State of Israel.

This incident is not isolated, as Mr. Zyglis has a history of publishing antisemitic and anti-Israel cartoons. The Jewish Community perceives today’s cartoon as a continuation of that trend but also reminiscent of historical propaganda from the 1930s.

In response to these concerns, Rabbi Mendy Labkowski, on behalf of the Jewish Community, is advocating for the following actions:

  1. Formal Apology: We demand The Buffalo News issue a formal apology, prominently featured in the newspaper, acknowledging the hurt caused by the cartoon.
  • Editorial Assessment: Conduct a comprehensive review of editorial and creative processes to prevent the publication of antisemitic cartoons like this one.

Rabbi Mendy Labkowski emphasizes gravity of this matter, trusting that The Buffalo News will give it the seriousness it deserves.

Update #2

Buffalo Jewish Community Unites fostering a firm conviction that the cartoon was undeniably antisemitic and Demands a Formal Apology from The Buffalo News in Sunday’s Printed Edition

Radio Interview

Buffalo, NY — Three days have passed since the publication of an antisemitic cartoon that has ignited shockwaves within the Buffalo Jewish community. Ironically, this disturbing artwork has galvanized the Buffalo Jewish community, fostering a firm conviction that it was undeniably antisemitic.

The Cartoonist used Stars of David, implicating all Jews, including Buffalonian and accusing them of being implicated in the tragic events in Gaza.

The Buffalo News, despite its acknowledgment in the December 27, 2023 edition that “Many of the readers who responded saw the cartoon as an antisemitic attack,” there remains a troubling reluctance to issue an apology to the Jewish community.

Rabbi Mendy Labkowski, Spiritual leader and Director of the Chabad Center For Jewish Life, remarked, “The Buffalo News has had three days to demonstrate empathy for the Jewish community’s distress, regardless of the cartoonist intent or the newspaper’s interpretation, by promptly issuing an apology. Instead, they downplayed the incident with statements like ‘cartoons have a sharp edge’ and ‘we think it is important to encourage conversation about the cartoon and the issues that prompted it’ implying a questionable acceptance of publishing antisemitic content under the guise of promoting discussion.”

The Buffalo Jewish community demands that The Buffalo News immediately cease exacerbating the controversy and remove the offensive cartoon from its website. Furthermore, the newspaper must issue a robust and formal apology to be prominently featured in the upcoming Sunday’s printed edition. 

This demand is not merely an expression of disappointment but a firm assertion of the community’s right to acknowledgment, redress, and a commitment to fostering an environment free from hate and discrimination.

We urge The Buffalo News to align its actions with the values of respect, understanding, and sensitivity that should be inherent in responsible journalism and community engagement.

Update #3:

An apology

A political cartoon we ran on Dec. 26 has caused deep pain to many Jews in our region and beyond. We understand better today why that pain exists and to those we injured, we apologize.

Buffalo Antisemitic Cartoon 2023

Our failure grew from a deficient attention to history and nuance, not hostility. To be sure, the intended point of the cartoon was controversial. It attempted to criticize President Biden for doing too little to restrain Israel as civilian deaths mounted in Gaza. But it used images including skulls, blood and the Star of David to make those points. We didn’t realize they would be triggers for many Jews. We do now and we understand why.

We thought the Star would be understood as representing Israel, but gave insufficient consideration to its broader connotations of culture and ethnicity. In retrospect and after many conversations, we understand that its use in that way could not help but cause significant pain. We didn’t mean to do that, but we did.

We also failed to understand the significance of blood within Judaism as well as the concept of “blood libel.” The image of bloody skulls dripping from a faucet struck a deep and terrible memory for many Jews. We were unfamiliar with the history of blood libel. And we didn’t reflect on how the image of the faucets would echo the Holocaust.

We have learned much in the past several days and commit to continue learning. We had an open and productive meeting with leaders in Buffalo’s Jewish community and expect to have more. Western New York’s Jews are integral to our region; we value their presence, their contributions and their friendship. We are sorry to have caused so much pain.

The Cartoon

In the news