The Israeli embassy has sent a complaint to the newspaper of Egypt's ruling party about a cartoon that linked Israel and Nazis, an unusual step from a mission that tends to ignore its Egyptian media critics.
Al-Watani al-Youm (the National Today) published a cartoon on June 15 showing an aid ship apparently bound for Gaza being grabbed by an octopus carrying an Israeli flag with a Nazi swastika in place of the Star of David symbol.
The weekly is the mouthpiece of President Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party.
"The Israeli Embassy chose to comment on this caricature specifically because of the comparison between Israel and Nazism," spokeswoman Shani Cooper-Zubida told Reuters.
"There are a lot of anti-Semitic comments and caricatures in the Egyptian media that we prefer not to comment on. This one didn't present legitimate opposition to Israeli policy, but defamation," she said in an e-mailed response.
"Using the Nazi swastika symbol in the heart of the cartoon, and even the idea of using it, is an insult to humanity and is tantamount to an anti-Semitic statement," said the letter sent to the newspaper and that was passed to Reuters by the embassy.
Editor Mohamed el-Alfy defended his newspapers position in an editorial saying it was a matter of freedom of expression.