The Israeli embassy in Norway condemned the Scandinavian country’s third-largest paper for publishing a cartoon that calls Israel a nation of “murderers” comparable to Nazi Germany and North Korea.
Dagbladet on Thursday ran the comic strip, which shows a woman at an organic supermarket unsuccessfully searching for ethically made food products.
“Organic food, huh?” the text in the first panel reads, according to a translation on Hebrew news site Ynet. “But what’s the point if the food is produced unethically?”
The next panel shows the woman holding up an orange saying: “These oranges are from Israel. You are supporting murderers.”
Next, she picks up a box of pasta to examine its label. “This macaroni was manufactured in North Korea? How did you even get this?” she asks.
In the last panel, the woman holds a box of frozen pizza marked with a swastika bearing a “Made in Nazi Germany” label and incorporating the logo of the Nazi SS organization. She says: “And this pizza is from N… What is this store, anyway?”
The Israeli embassy called the comparison “inappropriate,” and “offensive because it implies that purchasing Israeli products is unethical, making consumers feel as if they are supporting murderers.”
The embassy filed a complaint with Dagbladet, warning that the comic could trigger violence.
“There is a fine line between freedom of speech and hate speech, and this cartoon crossed that line,” the embassy wrote in its complaint to the paper.
According to Ynet, Dagbladet’s editor dismissed the Israeli response as disproportionate and declined to apologize for the comic, saying the drawing was “only a cartoon.”
The newspaper has encountered criticisms of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias over its comics in recent years.
A November 2011 cartoon published by the paper controversially equated the Holocaust with the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. Then, in 2013, the paper published a gory cartoon in opposition to the Jewish ritual of circumcising baby boys.
In that cartoon, the mother of a Jewish child is seen holding a blood-soaked Torah while saying, “Mistreating? No this is tradition, an important part of our belief!” At the other end of the child, who is sprawled on the table, a Jewish man — either the boy’s father or a rabbi — is in the midst of stabbing the boy in the forehead with a three-pronged devil’s pitchfork while cutting off his toes.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center at the time denounced the “blood libel cartoon” as “so virulently anti-Semitic it would make Hitler and Himmler weep tears of joy.”