Guardian cartoonist sacked after Netanyahu sketch


The Guardian has not renewed its cartoonist’s contract after he claimed his artwork depicting the Israeli prime minister was “spiked”.

Steve Bell’s cartoon showed Benjamin Netanyahu preparing to operate on his own stomach wearing boxing gloves, where an outline of the Gaza Strip could be seen with the caption “residents of Gaza, get out now”.

A spokesperson for Guardian News and Media said on Monday: “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.”

Mr Bell confirmed his cartoon had been “spiked” last week.

He published a series of posts on X, formerly Twitter, last week saying he had received a “strangely cryptic message” during a phone call with Guardian staff referencing a “pound of flesh” after he first submitted the cartoon.

The artist said he had responded saying: “I’m sorry, I don’t understand, I said and received this even more mysterious reply: ‘Jewish bloke; pound of flesh; antisemitic trope’. Clearly it was self-evident, anybody could see it…”

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“It is getting pretty nigh impossible to draw this subject for the Guardian now without being accused of deploying ‘antisemitic tropes’,” Mr Bell previously said on X.

His final cartoon for The Guardian showed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s “decision to scrap HS2 leg” on 4 October.

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