Steve Bell, the long-serving satirical cartoonist for The Guardian newspaper, has had his contract terminated after an accusation of antisemitism.
Bell, who has labored for the left-leaning newspaper for 40 years, was knowledgeable he was being let go after inner complaints have been made regarding his depiction of the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu within the wake of the warfare between Israel and Hamas.
Bell submitted a cartoon meditating on the warfare, which featured Netanyahu within the midst of performing surgical procedure on his personal abdomen. The operation, through which he holds two scalpels whereas sporting boxing gloves, confirmed a flesh wound that matches the define of the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu is depicted as saying: “Residents of Gaza, get out now.”
The cartoon was not printed however, based on a press release posted by Bell on X (previously Twitter), the administration at The Guardian believed that the drawing was evoking an antisemitic trope regarding the moneylender Shylock, the Jewish character from William Shakespeare’s 1596 play The Service provider of Venice.
Bell launched the picture on X alongside the assertion: “I filed this cartoon round 11am, presumably my earliest ever. 4 hours later, on a prepare to Liverpool, I obtained an ominous cellphone name from the desk with the surprisingly cryptic message ‘pound of flesh…’ I’m sorry, I don’t perceive, I mentioned and obtained this much more mysterious reply: ‘Jewish bloke; pound of flesh; anti-Semitic trope’. Clearly it was self-evident, anyone might see it…”
Shakespeare’s most quoted line of dialogue for Shylock is: “The pound of flesh, which I demand of him, Is dearly purchased; ’tis mine and I’ll have it. Should you deny me, fie upon your regulation!” The road is delivered within the context of Shylock demanding a pound of flesh, reduce from the physique of the service provider Antonio, if a mortgage made to Antonio just isn’t repaid inside three months.
In a press release to the BBC, Bell mentioned that The Guardian’s interpretation “made no sense to me, as there is no such thing as a reference to that play in my cartoon, which reveals Netanyahu, poised to carry out a surgical treatment on himself whereas sporting boxing gloves, the catastrophic penalties of that are but to be seen.
“The picture itself was impressed by the late, nice David Levine’s cartoon of President Lyndon Johnson (LBJ) displaying off his operation scar, which Levine attracts within the form of a map of Vietnam,” Bell mentioned.
A GNM (Guardian Information and Media) spokesperson mentioned to the BBC: “The choice has been made to not renew Steve Bell’s contract. Steve Bell’s cartoons have been an necessary a part of The Guardian over the previous 40 years—we thank him and need him all the most effective.”
Bell has courted controversy all through his profession. Priti Patel, the previous residence secretary, criticised Bell within the Homes of Parliament in March 2020 after she was depicted in The Guardian as a horned bull with a hoop via her nostril. Patel, who has Indian ancestry, accused Bell of racism.
In October 2020, Bell obtained criticism for depicting Labour chief Keir Starmer holding a plate on which former chief Jeremy Corbyn’s severed head was balanced. The picture was printed the day after a terror assault in Good, France, throughout which a sufferer was beheaded.
Bell and The Guardian didn’t reply to a request for remark.