New cartoonist: Ahmad Qaddura
New cartoonist: Fethi Gurcan Mermertas

Editorial: cartoon controversy, banned books and banned satire

Political satire and Israel remains a complex issue for cartoonists and for editors alike. Following Human rights Watch, Amnesty International has labeled Israel's treatment of Palestinians apartheid. Obviously, this has been a topic our cartoonists have drawn about, and we put some of these cartoons together in a collection.

To promote the collection on our social media, we chose this cartoon by Emad Hajjaj, knowing it would probably lead to some sharp reactions:


And we weren't wrong. We have received numerous comments accusing the cartoon and us of antisemitism. We also received an official notification from Twitter that someone had lodged a complaint. However, after review, Twitter found no legitimate reason to remove the tweet.

Som was this cartoon too sharp? As an editor, I like the cartoons that step close to the line without crossing it. This cartoon clearly makes the link to the apartheid regime in South Africa. It has no mention or reference to the Holocaust (we try to avoid those), but it does target Jews as a people instead of the state of Israel. However, that's needed in this cartoon for the analogy to work. Our decision to run this cartoon was based on the severeness of the issue; it deserves razor-sharp satire. But we also know some people will disagree.

We find other cartoon-related news involving the Jewish people on the other side of the pond, where a school board in Tennessee banned the revered graphic novel Maus by Art Spiegelman because it contained too much nudity and violence. Michael Cavna of the Washington Post has collected some great responses by US cartoonists, which you can see here.

This week also saw the 1-year anniversary of the military coup in Myanmar. The people of Myanmar continue to fight for democracy and cartoonist continue to draw protest cartoons as well. One cartoonist is drawing anonymously on our platform under the name Robin Hood. Check out his work here.


Tjeerd Royaards
Cartoon Movement editor


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