Washington Post takes down editorial cartoon after criticism

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The Washington Post unpublished an editorial cartoon this week that drew criticism for racist imagery.

In a note to readers on Wednesday, Opinion Editor David Shipley said the cartoon in question “was seen by many readers as racist.”

“This was not my intent,” Shipley wrote. “I saw the drawing as a caricature of a specific individual, the Hamas spokesperson who celebrated the attacks on unarmed civilians in Israel.”

The cartoon, by artist Michael Ramierez, portrayed a Hamas leader with innocent civilians tied to him with a rope and express outrage that Israel was attacking him.

“However, the reaction to the image convinced me that I had missed something profound, and divisive, and I regret that,” he wrote. “Our section is aimed at finding commonalities, understanding the bonds that hold us together, even in the darkest times.”

As part of the editor’s note, the Post shared a number of letters from readers blasting the cartoon’s publication as insensitive and dehumanizing to Palestinians.

“The caricatures employ racial stereotypes that were offensive and disturbing,” Hind Kamal, a reader in Fairfax, Va., wrote. “Depicting Arabs with exaggerated features and portraying women in derogatory, stereotypical roles perpetuates racism and gender bias, which is wholly unacceptable.”

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