Rutgers’ president wants apology for Holocaust cartoon

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.—The student editors of an alternative Rutgers campus newspaper should immediately apologize for publishing a cartoon that mocked the Holocaust, the university’s president said.

Richard L. McCormick said the full-page drawing on the cover of Wednesday’s issue of the Medium, a student-funded weekly publication, was “outrageous in its cruelty.” It shows a man throwing a ball at another man sitting on an oven at the campus’ spring fair. The text reads, “Knock a Jew in the oven! Three throws for one dollar! Really! No, REALLY!”

Ned Berke, 19, the editor who selected the cartoon, said he made a last-minute decision to use it as a substitute for another cover that was not working.

“I appreciated that (the cartoon) was clever. It took a serious situation and made it ridiculous,” Berke, who is Jewish, told The Star-Ledger of Newark.

Responding to critics who have called on the school to shut down the publication, Berke said he had relatives who died in the Holocaust.

“Humor is a way of honoring them and trying to get over it and to laugh,” the sophomore journalism major said. “The Holocaust has been taboo for years.”

Berke edited this week’s edition because Michael Stanley, the Medium’s editor in chief, was out sick. Stanley said he probably would have passed on the cartoon if he had overseen the issue.

“I understand the satire in the cover, but it is not something I would have done,” Stanley said. “I certainly understand why people are offended by it.”

Berke and Stanley could not be reached for comment Friday on whether an apology would be issued. Numerous messages left at the newspaper’s office were not returned.

Jewish organizations expressed outrage over the publication of the Holocaust material.

“There must be zero tolerance for finding humor in the Nazi genocidal murder of six million Jews,” the New York-based American Jewish Committee said in a statement.

This is not the first time the Rutgers community has lashed out against the Medium, which is published 13 times each semester and receives nearly $10,000 through the Rutgers College and Livingston College student governing associations. Campus rallies were staged last semester after it published personal ads with slurs against blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Jews, Christians, women and homosexuals.


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