The editor-in-chief of the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” made an announcement in May 2018: The “internal editorial procedures for the publication of caricatures will be reviewed and changed if necessary,” the newspaper said. At that time, the “SZ” had ended its collaboration with its longtime cartoonist Dieter Hanitzsch after it published an anti-Semitic cartoon by Hanitzsch that reinterpreted the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) as an event of Israeli war propaganda and the ESC winner Netta Barzilai with the face of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the time, with large, protruding ears and a Star of David rocket in his hand.

A cartoon appeared in the “SZ” on Wednesday, which raises serious doubts as to whether the announced review of the editorial processes involved in the publication of cartoons was successful.

The drawing by Pepsch Gottscheber shows the Jewish President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. He is sitting, oversized and overpowering, in front of the World Economic Forum that was just taking place in Davos.

Selenskyj had called for tougher sanctions against Russia there. Not only is the depiction of the Ukrainian president more reminiscent of anti-Semitic imagery than of his actual appearance. The drawing transports several anti-Semitic topoi at the same time. The criticism of the drawing was correspondingly heavy.

In the anti-Semitic worldview, Jews are ascribed global power in politics and business. They are hallucinated as being behind the legal system, as insidious pullers of strings, as controllers of political and economic events, as profiteers from crises and as prolonging the war.

These attributions are also reproduced in Gottscheber’s drawing. The participants of the World Economic Forum – top politicians, managers, scientists – are so small compared to Zelenskyy that they appear as pawns that can be easily controlled by the powerful handlebar.

In 2013, Israel, the only Jewish state in the world, was portrayed in the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” as a greedy, gluttonous and bloodthirsty monster. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was drawn in 2014 as an octopus with sidelocks and a hooked nose.

At the latest after the Hanitzsch controversy four years ago, the responsible opinion department should have made it clear: If Jews are caricatured, the drawing should be checked for anti-Semitic imagery. It is more than embarrassing that this was not done in this case, or that nobody noticed the figure of the Jewish string puller.

The “SZ” responded to criticism on Thursday and explained that the caricature was drawing from Monday’s television pictures. There Selenskyj could be seen in XXL format on a video screen. While that makes sense, the cartoon was of course printed without that context. This also does not explain the anti-Semitic imagery. The newspaper should therefore deal with the content of the criticism.