A new cartoon showing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was behind the 9/11 attacks has heightened the recent tensions between the United States and Israel.
Israeli artist Amos Biderman drew the cartoon that shows Netanyahu was the pilot of an airplane that hit the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001.
Israel’s newspaper Haaretz published the controversial cartoon on Thursday.
“The message is that Bibi [Netanyahu] is arrogantly and want only destroying Israel’s ties with the US and leading us to a disaster on the scale of 9/11,” Biderman said in a tweet in Hebrew.
“It was certainly not my intention to insult or upset anyone,” he told Haaretz. “I wasn’t sufficiently aware of the great sensitivity that 9/11 holds for Americans.”
The publication of the cartoon came a few days after a senior Obama administration official described Netanyahu as a “chickenshit.”
“The thing about Bibi [Netanyahu] is, he’s a chickenshit,” the unnamed official told the Atlantic when asked about the foreign leader who seems to frustrate President Barack Obama the most.
In a strong reaction to the cartoon, National Director of the pro-Israeli Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Abraham Foxman said it was offensive on many levels.
“Not only does it completely misrepresent any tensions which may current exist between the US government and Mr. Netanyahu, it disrespects the memories of thousands of innocent Americans and others who tragically perished on 9/11,” he said in a statement.
Foxman also argued that the cartoon feeds conspiracy theories about the 9/11 attacks.
“Furthermore, as anti-Semitic conspiracy theories charging that Israel and/or Jews were behind the attacks are still believed by large swaths of the Muslim world, it is particularly jarring and incredibility irresponsible that an Israeli newspaper, especially one whose journalistic standards are widely respected, would resort to publishing such a highly offensive stereotype in the name of political satire,” he said.