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Santa Monica Assemblyman Condemns 'Anti-Semitic' UCLA Newspaper Cartoon
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By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

February 15, 2017 -- A cartoon published in UCLA’s student newspaper on Monday that many people said crossed the supposedly intended line of anti-Israel into anti-Semitism has been widely condemned, including by Santa Monica Assemblyman and former mayor Richard Bloom.

The cartoon shows two stone tablets with two of the 10 Commandments listed.

“Thou shalt not steal” is listed with the word “not” crossed out. “Thou shalt not kill” is also listed, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands next to the line shrugging and saying “#7 is next.”

In the upper left of the cartoon is the statement “Israel passes law legalizing seizing any Palestinian land,” referring to a recently passed complex measure by Israel’s Knesset (or parliament) that is widely expected to be nixed by that nation’s supreme court.

“I am deeply disturbed that the editors at the Daily Bruin permitted an offensive and anti-Semitic cartoon to be printed in [the] paper,” Bloom wrote.

He continued, “Criticizing a governmental action, in this particular case, Israeli settlement policies, is responsible journalism. However, calling into question Jewish religious tenets is reckless, immature and blatantly discriminatory.”

Bloom added, “Furthermore, the cartoon in the Daily Bruin further fans the flames at UCLA where Jewish students have been targeted and discriminated against.”

Among those who joined Bloom in condemning the cartoon was the Daily Bruin’s editor, who called its publication “a mistake.”

Various organizations also criticized the cartoon, including Jewish organizations and even the UCLA chapter of the anti-Israel group Students for Justice in Palestine.

The cartoonist Felipe Bris Abejon defended his work, telling the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “I apologize to anyone who has been offended, but I still stand behind what this cartoon says politically.”

Bloom, who is Jewish, has been involved in Jewish activism for many years. This has included being a vocal defender of Israel.

Last year, Bloom was behind a bill signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown that prohibits California from doing business with contractors that boycott Israel (“Governor Signs Santa Monica Lawmaker’s Bill Against Israel Boycotts,” September 26, 2016).

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