The Times’s global edition, which circulates outside the United States, published the cartoon on Thursday. It depicted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a guide dog with a Star of David dangling from his collar as he leads an apparently blind President Trump, wearing a yarmulke, around by a leash.
The image brought widespread condemnation, including from President Trump, for echoing Nazi and white supremacist propaganda about Jews.
Sulzberger, whose family has owned the Times for generations, called the image “offensive and inconsistent with our values” in his staff memo Wednesday.
The Times said an unnamed editor in Hong Kong made the decision to publish the cartoon, which was created by a Portuguese artist, António Moreira Antunes, and first published by Expresso, a newspaper in Lisbon. It was distributed by syndication service called CartoonArts International.
Antunes has said he intended his cartoon to be critical of U.S. and Israeli policy, and was not intended as an attack on Jews or Judaism.
Sulzberger outlined steps to address the incident, including changing the editing process “to ensure adequate oversight” of the international opinion page; banning all syndicated cartoons from the Times; canceling its contract with the syndication service; disciplining the editor involved; and updating employee “unconscious bias” training to focus on anti-Semitism.
“Though I’ve been assured there was no malice involved in this mistake, we fell far short of our standards and values in this case,” he wrote, adding, “We have tried to approach this mistake transparently and to use it as an opportunity to improve.”
He quoted a line from a Times’s editorial that criticized the publication of the cartoon and decried the rise in anti-Semitism: “Apologies are important, but the deeper obligation of The Times is to focus on leading through unblinking journalism and the clear editorial expression of its values.”