Haaretz Published a Cartoon 38 Years Ago Depicting Israeli Leaders as Pigs. Nobody Got Fired

The Jerusalem Post fired cartoonist Avi Katz over a caricature depicting Netanyahu and other politicians as pigs. But as Katz noted, Haaretz published a similar cartoon in 1980

new-hdc-logo
Haaretz
Arik's Animal Farm
Zeev's cartoon published May 15, 1980 by Haaretz, also used Animal Farm symbolism.
new-hdc-logo
Haaretz

The controversy following cartoonist Avi Katz's dismissal from a sister publication of The Jerusalem Post over his cartoon depicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and political allies as pigs picked up steam Thursday, with veteran columnist Haim Watzman submitting his resignation in protest.

The Israel Press Council responded with a statement demanding that "the owners and editors of the newspaper clarify forthwith the reasons for the cartoonist's dismissal and whether it had anything to do with the publication of the cartoon."

Avi Katz's Facebook post.

Katz posted on Facebook that a similar caricature published over 30 years ago did not stir the same sort of scandal. That caricature was the work of Israel Prize laureate Yisrael Zeev and was published by Haaretz in May 1980 under the headline "Arik's Animal Farm."

Avi Katz's cartoon

Zeev's cartoon depicted senior cabinet ministers, former Prime Minister Menachem Begin and then-Defense Minister Arik Sharon as pigs, and opposition leaders such as Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres as horses and donkeys. Zeev did not lose his job.

In response to Katz's firing, the Jerusalem Post told Haaretz that "Katz is a freelance cartoonist at the Jerusalem Post, and based on editorial considerations, it was decided not to continue the relationship with him."

Despite the clear homage to George Orwell's "Animal Farm", including the use of the well-known quote "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others," many people on social media were quick to compare it to anti-Semitic caricatures.

Alongside the criticism, some defended Katz and said freedom of speech is supposed to permit such cartoons. After his firing was announced, a campaign was launched on behalf of the cartoonist, which has raised more than 11,000 shekels ($3,000).

The Union of Journalists in Israel said that it "takes seriously the decision to fire cartoonist Katz from The Jerusalem Post because of his critical cartoon. Causing harm to a journalist because he expressed an opinion, lte alone when it was approved by his editors, is a dangerous step that must not be accepted. We call on Katz's editors to retract this unacceptable step."

As a result of the firing, Tel Aviv's upcoming Animix Festival, which celebrates animation, comic books, and cartoons, will feature an exhibit on freedom of speech.

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

נתניהו עם כיפה שחורה על הראש נשען בשתי ידיו על הכותל

Israel Is Heading for Its Most 'Jewish' Election Ever

An El Al jet sits on the tarmac at John C. Munro International Airport in Hamilton, Thursday, in 2003.

El Al to Stop Flying to Toronto, Warsaw and Brussels

FILE PHOTO: A Star of David hangs from a fence outside the dormant landmark Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood in 2021.

American Judaism Is in Decline. That's Great News for American Jews

Crowds at Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport, in April.

U.S. Official: West Bank Entry for Palestinian Americans Unrelated to Israeli Visa Waivers

Haaretz spoke with several people who said they had fled Ukraine, arrived in Israel,  and were asked to undergo DNA tests in order to establish paternity.

'My Jewish Grandmother Has a Number on Her Arm, Why Does Israel Greet Me This Way?'

People taking part in the annual "March of the Living" to commemorate the Holocaust, between the former death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland, four years ago.

It’s Not Just the Holocaust. Israel Is Failing to Teach the History of the Jews