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Firing of Israeli Cartoonist Avi Katz – Correction

A week ago I reported that Avi Katz had been fired from his regular Jerusalem Report assignment because he posted an offensive cartoon on his Facebook page. At the time I could find no sure report that the Jerusalem Report had printed the political cartoon. That has changed.

Since that time it has been established that the cartoon was published in the print edition of The Jerusalem Report.

Indeed the cartoon and the cartoonist have become such international news that The Jerusalem Report, as of this writing, showcases the cartoon at the top of its homepage. Offense be damned, clicks matter!

 

 

The Jerusalem Post, owner and overseer of The Jerusalem Report, explained in an editorial why they felt the need to dismiss cartoonist Avi.

On the one hand, we believe firmly in freedom of speech – and especially the right of our opinion writers and cartoonists to express themselves without pressure or intimidation from external forces. On the other hand, all freedoms, including that of expression, have their limits…

But while we uphold these principles, we also have ethical and editorial standards that we believe Katz’s depiction of those same politicians as pigs, in reference to George Orwell’s Animal Farm, blatantly crossed.

The Jerusalem Post, as seen in the screenshot above, is not so abhorred by the cartoon as to divorce its name from the site’s homepage or force it off the page.

 

Eetta Prince-Gibson was, before she was fired, editor of The Jerusalem Report from 2005 – 2011 and was the editor that originally approved Avi’s regular page of comment. Eetta takes The Report and The Post to task in an opinion piece.

At the time of writing, the public still does not know the reasons for Katz’s dismissal. An unidentified source was quoted in local media as saying that the dismissal was based on “editorial considerations.”

And the editor-in-chief, Steve Linde, who is presumably responsible for “editorial considerations” and presumably approved the publication of the cartoon, has not responded to this writer’s requests for comment. Apparently, the heads of the Report do not feel the need to explain the dismissal of a talented, award-winning, veteran illustrator and cartoonist.
Yes, the editor that approved the cartoon still has his job!

Katz was dismissed over a single cartoon. Other journalists have been dismissed, warned or censured in similar ways in other media outlets.

This is another way that management tries to keep journalists docile and vulnerable — with regard to our salaries and job security and with regard to our voice and professional commitments.

Sadly, it isn’t Katz’s cartoon that’s offensive. It’s the reality that it reveals.

 

 

 

Community Comments

#1 Jerry Zucker
August/1/2018
@ 8:14 am

There are too many firings for a single offense and it’s not just in the USA. There are too many apologies too. This is hardly an offensive cartoon. The thin skin of the editorial board is sad and there doesn’t seem to be any room for divergent opinions, the mark of a free society.

Anyway the cartoon, which is based on a recent photograph, omitted perhaps the most offensive aspect, which is the man in the crowd taking the picture, who has his underwear showing.

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