Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

German Newspaper Accused of Anti-Semitism For Creating Large-Nosed Mark Zuckerberg Octopus Cartoon

In the cartoon Zuckerberg, depicted as the world hungry octopus with the Facebook logo on his head, holds the Whatsapp logo in one of his tentacles, ready to be eaten.

By: Ashley Ramnarain

Published: February 25th, 2014 in Culture » Society » News

German Newspaper Accused of Anti-Semitism For Creating Large-Nosed Mark Zuckerberg Octopus Cartoon

German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung takes the heat after a cartoon featuring Mark Zuckerberg is accused of being anti-Semitic. The cartoon, published last Friday after the news of Facebook’s successful purchase of Whatsapp, depicts Zuckerberg as a world-dominating octopus. However, while some might consider the features of the octopus to resemble those of Zuckerberg, many find them very similar to the derogatory representation of Jewish people found in Nazi cartoons.

“If anyone has any doubts about the anti-Semitic dimension of the cartoon, we can point to Mark Zuckerberg’s very prominent nose, which is not the case in real life,” Efraim Zuroff from the Simon Wiesenthal Centre told the Jerusalem Post.

In the cartoon Zuckerberg, depicted as the world hungry octopus with the Facebook logo on his head, holds the Whatsapp logo in one of his tentacles, ready to be eaten. Of course, this cartoon is relaying the news of Facebook’s $19 billion dollar purchase of the instant messaging service announced last week.

During the Nazi-era, Jews were commonly depicted in cartoons as octopuses, spiders and even vampires and devils. Although Zuckerberg is a self-proclaimed atheist, the fact that he was raised Jewish adds fuel to this depiction.

“The nefarious Jew/octopus was a caricature deployed by Nazis. That was used pretty much as a staple by the Nazis in terms of their hateful campaign against the Jews in the 1930s. [An] exaggerated Jewish nose removes any question if this was unconscious anti-Semitism,’ Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre explained to Algemeiner, “Mark Zuckerberg is fair game for the media, including German media, but no German should deploy such caricatures.”

The newspaper has since apologized via Twitter, with a simple, “We apologize for the cartoon” and has released an alternate, less anti-Semitic version of the cartoon this week. The newer version doesn’t feature Zuckerberg at all, but an open mouthed, blank faced octopus bearing the Facebook logo holding the Whatsapp logo one of its tentacles.

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