A cartoon published Thursday by the left-leaning Israeli daily Haaretz has sparked controversy for its blunt attempt to depict deteriorating relations between conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama.
The cartoon shows Netanyahu flying an airplane aimed at a tall building topped with an American flag, which resembles one of the Twin Towers that were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.
The cartoonist, Amos Biderman, told the Times of Israel that the image was intended to imply that Netanyahu was leading to “a disaster in Israel-U.S. relations on the scale of 9/11.” But it has drawn criticism in the U.S. and in Israel, with Vox writing that “it so breaches the very basics of good taste that it is astounding.”
Relations between Netanyahu and the White House have been notoriously poor, and the Israeli leader moved earlier this week to accelerate planning for new settler homes in East Jerusalem despite the Obama Administration’s opposition. On Tuesday, the Atlantic quoted one unnamed White House official calling Netanyahu “chickens–t.”
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest later said the official’s comment did not “accurately reflect at all” the administration’s view about Israel.