Cartoonist Steve Bell denies using anti-Semitic tropes saying in a couple e-mails to the paper:
“I cannot for the life of me begin to understand criticism of the cartoon that begins by dragging in ‘wood-burning stoves’, ‘ovens’, ‘holocaust’, or any other nazi-related nonsense. That was the last thing on my mind when I drew it, I had no intention of conflating the issues of the mass murder of European Jews and Gaza.
“The cartoon is sensitive, not tasteless, not disrespectful, and certainly contains no anti-Semitic tropes. It should have been published as it stands, but if you are still obdurate that it should remain unpublished, then I feel a duty to my subject to try and salvage something from this fiasco.”
The Huffington Post UK article includes the entirety of both Steve Bell e-mails to The Guardian.
The Jewish Chronicle, reporting on the situation, shows the Benjamin Netanyahu/Theresa May photo op the cartoon’s scene is based on, and gives some more background.
[Steve Bell] said his cartoon depicted a Downing Street fireplace, in front of which Mrs May and Mr Netanyahu were photographed when they met on Wednesday.
He added his drawing of Ms al-Najjar was based on “a widely known photograph of her, becoming iconic across the Arab world and the burning is of course symbolic”.
BuzzFeed ‘s article about the rejection includes a link to an earlier BuzzFeed article about the recent death of Razan al-Najjar.
The Guardian has not, as yet, responded to any of the above sites’ inquiries.