A prominent German newspaper was accused of spreading anti-Semitic propaganda after it published a cartoon depicting Facebook CEO and cofounder Mark Zuckerberg as an octopus.
The image was included in last Friday’s edition of the Süddeutsche Zeitung – the largest German-language daily newspaper – after the social media giant announced it was going to buy a rapidly-growing mobile-messaging startup WhatsApp for $19 billion.
The sketch drawn by cartoonist Burkhard Mohr, was entitled “Krake Facebook,” German for "Facebook Octopus".
It showed Zuckerberg taking over the world by spreading his tentacles over a globe.
However, the features of the entrepreneur’s face - a hooked-nose, a smile, and curly hair under a hat –were ‘starkly reminiscent’ of anti-Semitic Nazi era cartoons, according to The Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human rights organization.
In a bid to spread propaganda against Jews in Germany, the Nazis in 1930s used to distribute a lot of anti-Semitic published material. That included a cartoon of an octopus with a Star of David over its head that had its tentacles encompassing a globe.
Mohr was surprised to know that his creation hurt the sentiments of an entire community. He later apologized and re-published a second image, this time without the face of the cofounder:
Cartoonists often use the same depiction to portray the increasing control of a global power over the world:
The following image dates back to 1888:
In early 1990s, a similar caricature was used to illustrate the growing influence of Microsoft Corp. over the world. You can view it here.
Do you think the cartoon in the Süddeutsche Zeitung was anti-Semitic? You can share your answers in the comments section below.