Israel: Haaretz newspaper stands by '9/11 cartoon'

The Haaretz cartoon Image copyright Amos Biderman/Haaretz
Image caption The cartoon is a comment on US-Israeli relations, according to the newspaper's editor

An Israeli newspaper has defended a controversial cartoon which critics say used the 9/11 terrorist attacks to illustrate US-Israeli relations.

The image, published in Haaretz last week, shows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flying a plane towards a tower similar to the former World Trade Center. Its publication prompted an outcry from some social media users, with Israeli Foreign Ministry official Paul Hirschson describing it as "gutter press".

But Haaretz's editor-in-chief Aluf Benn says people are "misreading" the cartoon, which he describes as "a reaction to the current state of mistrust between Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Obama administration". The cartoonist, Amos Biderman, was criticising Mr Netanyahu's announcements of new settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank and "his insinuations that America is acting against Israel", Mr Benn writes in an editorial in the paper. Haaretz "deeply honours and respects the memory" of those who died in the attacks, he says. "We regret any misreading of Biderman׳s image as disrespectful to those who perished or to survivors of this horrible crime."

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