Cartoon promotes Jewish stereotypes

I was deeply disturbed by the Adam Zyglis editorial cartoon printed in The News on Dec. 14, 2013. In the cartoon, Pope Francis is seen on the cover of Time magazine (as Time’s Man of the Year,) drawing horns on an apparently wealthy businessman on the cover of Fortune magazine, which ponders the question: “Is greed still good?” The “wealthy businessman” as drawn in the cartoon, although probably inadvertently, appears as a stereotypical Jew complete with a long nose, burning cash to light his cigar, and dollar signs on his luxe tie, with horns added by the pope.

The stereotype of the Jew with horns as well as moneyed is one of the worst and most widely perpetrated elements in anti-Semitic imagery. Its historical prejudice is vile and insulting. The News’ cartoon reminded me of those that appeared in Nazi Germany in the years prior to World War II when anti-Semitism became accepted and state-sponsored, leading to genocide, the Holocaust and unimaginable tragedy.

We would hope that this stereotype of Jews as evil, wealthy, unethical and responsible for capitalistic inequalities will not continue. The portrayal of the pope is equally insulting to the Catholic community. This man is a great leader in the world today who has developed a wonderful relationship with the Jewish community during his career, and who has fought against anti-Semitism and other forms of prejudice.

I hope this letter will serve as an impetus for our community’s newspaper of record to work to shatter stereotypes rather than spread them.

Michael D. Wise

Executive Director/CEO

Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo