Steve Bell, a cartoonist for The Guardian, was fired after his caricature of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was published. In the cartoon, Netanyahu is wearing boxing gloves and preparing to perform abdominal surgery on himself, with the Gaza Strip drawn in the background and the text “Residents of Gaza, get out now.”
The Guardian declined to renew Steve Bell’s contract because he alleged that his portrayal of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was suppressed. A spokeswoman for Guardian News and Media announced the decision on Monday, expressing gratitude for Bell’s services to the newspaper over the previous four decades and wishing him well.
Bell stated that the cartoon had been “censored” in a series of social media posts. Following his initial submission of the comic, he received a mysterious message referencing a “pound of flesh” during a phone discussion with Guardian officials. The cartoon’s intention appeared to be open to interpretation, and Bell believed it was self-evident, but it aroused debate.