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Emad is FREE

Updated 12:00pm 8/30/20: Cagle Cartoonist Emad Hajjaj was freed last night. His case was downgraded from terrorism and the military court to the Amman prosecutor, but he still faces trial and up to two years in prison for “slander and libel” according to an article in the Times of Israel

Emad’s home newspaper Al-Araby has an article about Emad’s release and Human Rights Watch director, Joe Stork, “Calling a satirical cartoon a terrorism offence only confirms that Jordan intends to muzzle citizens who speak freely,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at the New York-based watchdog. “This arrest sends the message that Jordanian authorities would rather abuse the rights of their own citizens than risk offending a gulf leader’s feelings,” he added.

Emad’s cartoonist brother, Osama Hajjaj, who we also syndicate, sent me these photos of Emad just after his release.

Quoting from the Times of Israel article: “The decision to release Hajjaj came after the state security court prosecutor decided to change the accusation against him to slander and libel, and his case has been sent back to the Amman state prosecutor,” the judicial source said.

Rakan Saaydeh, the head of the country’s journalists’ union, confirmed the release and the new charges as (they) took custody of Hajjaj from the Balqa jail just northwest of Amman on Sunday.

“He will now appear before the Amman prosecution,” not the state security court, a military tribunal that deals with terrorism-related cases, Saaydeh told reporters.

It was not clear when his trial would begin.”

I’ll post more when I get more. Read more about Emad’s cartoon that got him thrown into prison on my blog.

 


Our reader supported site, Cagle.com, still needs you!  Journalism is threatened with the pandemic that has shuttered newspaper advertisers. Some pundits predict that a large percentage of newspapers won’t survive the pandemic economic slump, and as newspapers sink, so do editorial cartoonists who depend on newspapers, and along with them, our Cagle.com site, that our small, sinking syndicate largely supports, along with our fans.

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Cagle Cartoonist Emad Hajjaj Arrested, Faces 5 Years in Prison

Update 8/30/20: Emad is freed. He still faces trial and a possible two years in prison for his cartoon. Read more here.

My friend and longtime CagleCartoonist Emad Hajjaj was arrested Wednesday in his home country of Jordan. He is charged with the “cybercrime” of “insulting an Arab country” and faces up to five years in prison for drawing an “offensive” cartoon criticizing Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates. Emad was arrested five hours after posting the cartoon to his newspaper site.

CagleCartoons.com has syndicated Emad’s work to newspapers in America and around the world for the past fifteen years. He is a dear friend of mine and of many of the CagleCartoonists who have partied with Emad on our annual trips to the cartoon festival in St Just le Martel, France.  Emad is the president of the Jordanian Cartoonists Association and cartoonists in Jordan have been protesting Emad’s arrest.

Emad was arrested just five hours after posting the cartoon to his newspaper’s Web site. Emad draws for the Al- Araby newspaper in London which has posted an article about his arrest. (Al-Araby is a longtime subscriber to CagleCartoons.com.)

Emad’s brother Osama Hajjaj, who is also an editorial cartoonist that CagleCartoons.com syndicates, sent me a photo of Emad’s arrest.

Emad’s cartoon depicts UAE leader, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, commonly called “MBZ”, holding an Israeli dove that has spit on his face, with the spittle in the shape of a US F-35 fighter jet and labeled “spit 35” in Arabic. The US recently brokered a treaty between Israel and the UAE, and in a separate but possibly related deal the US agreed to sell advanced F-35 jets to the UAE. Israel is opposing the sale, arguing that Israel’s defense advantage in the region would be compromised if UAE gets the jets. Emad’s drawing shows that Israel has embarrassed MBZ by blocking the sale after UAE agreed to the peace deal

Al-Araby writes that Emad was referred to the “notorious State Security Court” by Amman’s Attorney General. “The SSC – whose judges are appointed by the prime minister – has jurisdiction over crimes including drugs, explosives, weapons, espionage and high treason, however it has increasingly been used to try peaceful protesters and government critics.”

“The country’s infamous 2015 cybercrimes law was widely criticized by rights groups, who say it is a pretext to crack down on any individual who criticizes the government. Amendments added to the law in 2018 also made the distribution of articles considered slanderous punishable with a prison sentence.”

Emad is being held in jail for up to fourteen days, pending the conclusion of an investigation, after that Emad may face charges and a possible five year prison sentence.

UPDATED 8/27/20 1:00pm PDT:  According to a Committee to Protect Journalists article quoting the Center for Defending the Freedom of Journalists director, Nidal Mansour, Emad was brought to the prosecutor’s office today and charged with “disturbing relations with a sister country” under the country’s counter-terrorism law,” “If convicted, Hajjaj could face a minimum of 10 years hard labor, according to 2014 amendments to the counter-terrorism law.” “The public prosecutor’s office ordered Hajjaj to be detained for 14 days and transferred him to Salt Prison, northwest of Amman.”

Read CagleCartoonist David Fitzsimmons’ column about his friend Emad.

The Times of Israel has an excellent article about Emad’s arrest.

This Washington Post article outlines the history hypocrisy of Jordan’s claims to have a free press as they jailed Emad.

Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI) has posted an alert on Emad’s arrest.

In the group photo below, Emad is at the right, I’m second from the right and Emad’s cartoonist brother Osama is second from the left. We’re pictured with Mexican cartoonists at CartónClub’s La Linea del Fuego exhibition at the El Universal newspaper in Mexico City a couple of years ago. Emad is friends with cartoonists around the globe and we’ve had a great time traveling together to exotic, cartooning destinations. Since Emad is everyone’s friend in our tight-knit, global community of editorial cartoonists, his arrest comes as a quite a shock in our small world.


Our reader supported site, Cagle.com, still needs you!  Journalism is threatened with the pandemic that has shuttered newspaper advertisers. Some pundits predict that a large percentage of newspapers won’t survive the pandemic economic slump, and as newspapers sink, so do editorial cartoonists who depend on newspapers, and along with them, our Cagle.com site, that our small, sinking syndicate largely supports, along with our fans.

The world needs political cartoonists more now than ever. Please consider supporting Cagle.com and visit Cagle.com/heroes.  We need you! Don’t let the cartoons die!


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Another Anti-Semitic Trope Controversy

There is a new anti-semitic cartoon controversy, this time from The Guardian’s cartoonist Steve Bell. Buzzfeed’s media critic Mark Di Stefano first tweeted the cartoon and email that Bell sent to all of The Guardian’s staff journalists.

Bell’s cartoon depicting Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was killed, prompting Bell’s mass email. The cartoon depicts British Labour Party deputy secretary, Tom Watson as an “antisemite finder general” calling Netanyahu an “antisemitic trope.”

The Jewish Chronicle reports:

“Last June, (Bell) emailed all journalists to say he felt “unfairly traduced and censored” after the paper would not run his cartoon of Theresa May meeting Benjamin Netanyahu while Palestinian Razan al-Najjar, who had been shot and killed by an Israeli soldier, burned in the fireplace behind.”

‘He accused Guardian editor Kath Viner of not speaking to him because she “did not really have an argument” for spiking the cartoon.”

“In November 2012, his cartoon that depicted Mr Netanyahu as a puppeteer prompted many complaints to the press regulator.”

In his mass email, Bell Writes:

“I suspect the real cause is it contravenes some mysterious editorial line that has been drawn around the subject of antisemitism and the infernal subject of antisemitic tropes.”

“In some ways this is even more worrying than the specious charges of antisemitism. Does the Guardian no longer tolerate content that runs counter to its editorial line?”

“In November 2012, (Bell’s) cartoon that depicted Mr Netanyahu as a puppeteer prompted many complaints to the press regulator.”

Here is the complete text of the letter that Bell wrote to The Guardian’s “Head of Features” Kira Cochrane, and forwarded as a mass email to all of The Guardian’s staff journalists:

Dear Kira

After our bizarre telephone conversation yesterday, I feared you might not publish today’s strip, but still cannot understand why the attached should be more liable to legal challenge from Tom Watson than either of the previous two strips that you have already published. You said the ‘lawyers were concerned’, but what about? It’s not antisemitic, nor is it libellous, even though it includes a caricature of Binyamin Netanyahu. If Watson chose to object he would make himself look far sillier than he does in the cartoon.

I suspect that the real problem is that it contravenes some mysterious editorial line that has been drawn around the subject of antisemitism and the infernal subject of ‘antisemitic tropes’. In some ways this is even more worrying for me than specious charges of antisemitism. Does the Guardian no longer tolerate content that counters its editorial line?

Why in today’s paper has the Guardian published a highly partisan and personally insulting (to the leader of the Labour Party) advert on page 20 that uses the Labour Party logo, but is clearly not a Labour Party approved advert? I would have thought that there would be far more reason to expect a legal challenge on that than on my my cartoon. Or is it that you don’t want to offend poor Tom but are quite happy to offend poor Jeremy?

Why on earth did the Guardian publish, then unpublish, a letter in support of Chris Williamson signed by 100 persons identifying themselves as Jewish, including Noam Chomsky? Were they the wrong kind of Jews. The paper’s contortions on this subject do not do it any credit. If there is a reasoned position on this highly contentious issue, then I would dearly love to see it laid out clearly so we all know where we stand. Or are there some subjects that we just can’t touch?

Best wishes
Steve Bell

 

 

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Peace in Gaza

The “peaceful” protests in Gaza have been quite dramatic, with both sides blaming each other for the violence. I thought it would be interesting to draw the peaceful protesters as doves of peace. Those are olive branches in their mouths.

My personal view is that there is no solution to the Israel/Palestinian issue. Someday soon we may look back on these ugly times as the good old days. If I could play God and impose my own peace plan, it would be to force everyone to give up their religion.

When I started this I thought I would draw all of the doves with no pants, Donald Duck style, with bird legs and feet. The problem is that birds have knees that go backwards and it was difficult to put them into the action poses without suffering some strange compromises, so I went with a different compromise: human knees, feet, pants and shoes, and birdie hands on the ends of their wings.

Cartoons about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict often invite angry email. I’ve drawn militant doves before –here’s one that got me lots of angry email …


The angry mail for this one came from Israel supporters who thought the cartoon was anti-semitic because they thought the helmet on the Israeli soldier looked like a German Nazi helmet; they also objected to the Star of David on the helmet, arguing that it signified Jews rather than the complete Israeli flag with stripes, signifying Israel.

Cartoons about the conflict don’t please anybody and are among the least reprinted cartoons –but cartoonists don’t get to choose the news.

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The Inside Story on Obama’s Meeting with Netanyahu Today

It is no secret that Obama and Netanyahu don’t like each other, and it is amusing to watch them act like they are buddies – therefore today’s cartoon …

And here’s the rough sketch …

sketch700

I don’t draw Netanyahu very often, so I had to do Google Images to see what he looks like, and I erased his face two or three times before I thought I got close enough. Notice that the final Netanyahu face is much better than the sketch – that always happens with me. I stare at the Google Images Netanyahu faces as I’m tracing the final line art and it gets closer to the right caricature with another step. I went in a different direction with his big nose than I see other cartoonists do – I’m still not sure about that.

Notice that when I’m free-handing something like this, I don’t get it right. Obama is too high and Netanyahu too low for their eyes to meet, so I noted that Netanyahu needed to stretch up to make eye contact and I made the correction as I was tracing it. I never just trace, I’m always redrawing, which can be frustrating, because my natural inclination would be to continue redrawing forever. Rough sketch Obama was looking pretty lousy here too – that’s why artists don’t like to show their rough sketches – rough sketches are lousy!

There you have it, the inside story on the meeting of Obama and Netanyahu today!

 

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Palestinian Daggar Eyes

In old time comics there was a great thing where, when a character gives a dirty look the cartoonist would draw knives, or daggers, coming out of their eyes, pointing at where they are looking. Urbandictionary.com defines it this way:

When someone who tries to intimidate another person, they will flinch quickly towards that person, and exercise a quick widening of the eyes, in effort to scare away the supposed moron who tried to intimidate them in the first place. Usually, the kid who gives the dagger eyes is much more adapted to survive through mockery, and this action helps to scare off possible douche bags who try to scare the dagger eyed kid.
In Hawaii they call it “stink-eye”. With all the stabbings, “dagger eyes” worked for me.
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Cartoons

Iran Deal

Iran Deal © Daryl Cagle,CagleCartoons.com,Iran, Barack Obama, Supreme Leader, nuclear weapons, bomb, uranium enrichment, handshake, hand shake, negotiations, israel, jews, kill the jews, Ali Khamenei,John Kerry

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Iran Deal

The latest deadline for the nuclear deal with Iran is fast approaching, with both side optimistic that a deal will be made, and both side describing the deal very differently.

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Netanyahu Gives Obama a Wedgie

Netanyahu Gives Obama a Wedgie © Daryl Cagle,CagleCartoons.com,Benjamin,Netanyahu,Bibi,Israel,President,barack Obama,joint session of congress,Iran,nuclear talks,wedgie,underwear,elephant,GOP, republicans

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This Land Is Mine

Thanks to Jonatan Krovitsky for posting this animation as a comment on my Facebook page.  The clever, editorial cartoon video is by longtime animation stalwart, Nina Paley, and since, in the credits, it urges people to copy and post, I’ll do just that.

This Land Is Mine from Nina Paley on Vimeo.

 

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Israel Cartoons That Gave Me Some Trouble

I’ve been occasionally accused of anti-Semitism in my cartoons criticizing Israel, here are a couple of examples.  I drew this cartoon below during the last Israel/Hamas battle a few years ago.

1217-IsraelHamasDogC

My critics claimed that the helmet on the soldier resembled a Nazi soldier’s helmet, because of the jag at the base that covers the top of the soldier’s ear.  I did a Google search at the time, to see what Israeli helmets look like, and they had the ear jag – still, Nazi helmets have a strong visual image.  I also got complaints about the nose on the soldier being too big.

The second complaint was that I put the Star of David on the Israeli soldier’s helmet, rather than the Israeli flag, which is a rectangle with the Star of David with a blue stripe above and below.  Putting the Star on the helmet implied that he was any Jew, rather than an Israeli soldier.  I guess I would have done the whole flag on his helmet, if I had it to do over again.

Later, when a bunch of ships tried to break the blockade of Gaza and were attacked by Israel, I drew this related cartoon and didn’t get so much criticism – maybe because I softened the shape of the helmet over the ear (his nose is a little smaller, too).

1600B-Israel_Doves_C

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Gaza Missile Defense System

I recently drew this cartoon about the “Gaza Missile Defense System” which got 3,044 shares on my Facebook page – that’s a lot of shares for one of my cartoons.  I guess it struck a nerve.

GazaMissileDefense
In general, American cartoons are supportive of the Israeli side and international cartoons are supportive of the Palestinian side in the conflict, with some of the foreign cartoons getting pretty anti-Semitic.  The theme of Hamas hiding behind babies has been popular among the American cartoonists, with a grand Yahtzee of babies tied to missiles and babies as suicide belts.  Here’s one by Randy Bish.

bish.jpg

Here’s one I drew years ago when Israel was fighting Hezbollah in Lebanon …

1000-HezbollahBabies

07162014 - GAZA COL 1(My color was pretty lousy in those days, I know.)  The baby-belt theme has been big.

I thought this anti-Israel cartoon (right) by Malcolm Evans in New Zealand was powerful – it brings up the “Jews Killing Babies” anti-Semitic theme in cartoons that has a rich history so it is something that I would have stayed away from, that said, the current circumstances are bringing out a lot of classic, anti-semetic cartoon themes with the international cartoonists.

Among the anti-Israel international cartoons, I thought this David and Goliath cartoon by Mexican cartoonist Dario Castillejos, was a nice, fresh take.

Dario2
The theme of a ruined Gaza declaring victory over Israel is another Yahtzee.  Here’s one by my buddy Bruce Plante

Hamas strategery
And here’s a stylish match from Arend Van Dam

Arend2-

I like how the debris is arranged to have little, equi-distant margins around each little piece.

I can see the reader fatigue about Israel vs the Palestinians.  Most readers prefer celebrity cartoons.  When the news turns to international events, most of the cartoon fans turn off – frustrating for the cartoonists who want to draw about “important issues.” I can tell our traffic will be up with the news is about entertainment or sports.  The more turmoil we have in the Middle East, the worse our traffic gets.  Oy.  But don’t miss our great, and little seen, collection of cartoons about the latest Israel/Palestinian flare-up.