Let’s start with what The Guardian got wrong – the Steve Bell cartoon was anti-Bibi, not antisemitic.
The solution to Israeli’s problem, if there is one, will require a deft and diplomatic negotiator. Netanyahu is not that man, he is a warrior not known for finesse. Steve Bell shows that by picturing Netanyahu attempting a delicate operation while being hampered with his soldier attitude (boxing gloves).
© Steve Bell
The Guardian editor(s) saw the image evoking “a pound of flesh” trope and rejected the submission. Bell objected publicly. Days later The Guardian wished Steve well and ended the contract between the paper and the cartoonist.
Then came the headlines:
Guardian cartoonist fired over accusation of anti-Semitism.
Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell axed over ‘antisemitic’ drawing of Netanyahu.
Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell ‘sacked’ for ‘antisemitic’ drawing.
The Guardian fires longtime cartoonist after allegations of antisemitic imagery.
The Guardian fires cartoonist over Netanyahu depiction.
Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell and editor-in-chief Katharine Viner.
Pictures: Youtube/The Cartoon Museum (left), David Levene/The Guardian (right)
But it wasn’t the cartoon that got Bell fired, it was Bell taking his objection with the paper’s action to the public on social media. Steve Bell has admitted to increasingly strained relations with the paper his cartoons had appeared in for forty years. He decided that this one was the hill he would die on, admitting it was him bringing his spat with The Guardian into the open, not his cartoon, that led to his dismissal:
Bell told Press Gazette he had been “asking for trouble” by posting last week’s Netanyahu cartoon on Twitter: “I should have known better, really.”
He added: “The Guardian don’t like having their editorial processes discussed in the open.”
The Guardian has refused comment. Steve Bell, on the other hand, consented to a Press Gazette interview.
The post What the Consensus Got Wrong About The Guardian Firing of Cartoonist Steve Bell first appeared on The Daily Cartoonist.