Political cartoonist Steve Bell 'sacked' by The Guardian after Netanyahu cartoon rejected

The newspaper has cut ties with Bell after the cartoonist showcased his take on the Hamas terror attack online


The Guardian has cut ties with one of its longstanding political cartoonists, Steve Bell, following accusations that his work was antisemitic.

A spokesman for the newspaper confirmed that the business had chosen not to renew Bell's contract following a string of posts the illustrator published online last week.

The Guardian spokesman said: “The decision has been made not to renew Steve Bell’s contract.

“Steve Bell’s cartoons have been an important part of the Guardian over the past 40 years – we thank him and wish him all the best.”

Last week, Bell tweeted about a cartoon related to the Hamas terror attack, which he alleged was rejected by Guardian editors.

The cartoon depicted Benjamin Netanyahu wearing boxing gloves and holding a scalpel over a map showing the Gaza Strip. The cartoon carried a quote reading, "Residents of Gaza, get out now." 

Bell, who has worked for the paper for four decades, said he filed the cartoon on Monday morning to The Guardian. Four hours later, he claimed, it was rejected by senior editors.

Explaining the meaning behind the cartoon, Bell later told the JC: "The cartoon is specifically about Benjamin Netanyahu’s disastrous policy failure which has led directly to the hideous recent atrocities around Gaza, and about his proposed response that he had announced, using his actual words addressing the citizens of Gaza. 

The Guardian declined to comment on the reasons behind not publishing the cartoon.

The piece was produced just as the Israeli Air Force stepped up bombardments of the Gaza Strip on Sunday. Hamas terrorists launched an assault on Israel in the early hours of Saturday. 

The artist said the paper’s decision not to renew his contract had come as “a bit of a shock”.

He said: "The Guardian has every right not to publish my cartoon if it so chooses, but it should not do so using entirely contrived and false reasons.

"All that does is inhibit discussion of a dreadful but important subject."

However, Dave Rich, policy director at the Community Security Trust (CST), said: “The Guardian should be applauded for refusing to publish this appalling cartoon.

"It's good to see that lessons have been learned.”

Bell's complaint comes weeks after The Guardian cartoonist behind the “antisemitic” image of former BBC chairman Richard Sharp apologised.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive