Israeli newspaper’s political cartoon sparks outrage over 9/11 imagery

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Transportation Minister Miri Regev tour Ben-Gurion Airport and are briefed on preparations for the resumption of flights, 20 km (12 mi) southeast of Tel Aviv, Israel. (Emil Salman/Haaretz Pool via AP)
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An editorial cartoon in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper is drawing criticism for using Sept. 11 imagery to depict U.S.-Israel relations under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In it, a character resembling Netanyahu is seen flying a small plane into a building that resembles a World Trade Center tower. An American flag flies atop the skyscraper.

The cartoon, which appeared Thursday, comes after the Israeli leader was reportedly criticized by an Obama administration official as being a "chickensh—."

The paper, and its political cartoonist Amos Biderman, faced widespread criticism on Twitter.

Biderman defended his work in a tweet: "The message is that Bibi is arrogantly and wantonly destroying Israel's ties with the U.S. and leading us to a disaster on the scale of 9/11.”

Biderman later told Haaretz that he “wasn’t sufficiently aware of the great sensitivity that 9/11 holds for Americans."

The cartoon, he added, was a criticism of the controversial right-leaning politician.

"I was mocking Bibi," he said. "He's been acting like a bull in a china shop with the United States, which is Israel's most important strategic asset."