Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell can’t “spot the difference” between Russia and Israel

Within the growing body of work in the field of Comically Erroneous Political Comparisons, Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell just distinguished himself as a rising star. Here’s a Sept. 1st cartoon by Bell, an artist who clearly doesn’t want his creative expression to be fenced in by stubborn political and geographic realities.

Steve Bell 02.09.2014

We’ll take a wild stab, and work under the assumption that Bell’s cartoon is inspired by the recent row concerning Israel’s announcement that it’s taking control of 1000 acres of land near Gvaot in the Gush Etzion region of the West Bank.

Now, here’s a size comparison between Israel and Russia.  This of course doesn’t include Greater Russia – the boundaries of the country after they took over, by military force, the Georgian provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Crimea and sections of eastern Ukraine. See if you can “spot the difference” between Israel and Russia, or even just spot Israel.


Indeed, Russia’s newly “acquired” territory of Crimea, at just over 10,000 square miles, is, by itself, larger than Israel.

Moreover, while Russia continues to expand its borders, Israel has continued to voluntarily relinquish land for peace (the Sinai, Gaza, Southern Lebanon and much of the West Bank) since their defensive war in 1967.

Shrinking Israel

Bell’s blurring of such obvious and intuitive differences between the recent territorial histories of Israel and Russia is par for the course at the Guardian, where such artful obfuscations over Israel’s clear moral advantages represent one of their signature ideological ticks.

23 replies »

  1. It is true that Putin’s land grabs are of another scale compared to Bibi’s. But two wrongs don’t make Israel’s actions wise or legal. To argue that the cartoonist can’t spot the difference is painful to read. You will only secure nods of approval from many in the choir. And I am proudly one of the choir and I question your judgment.

    • Peter, the broad suggestion (implicit in the Bell cartoon) that Israel is some sort of expansionist state, in the common understanding of that term, is (I hope you’d agree) completely anti-historical, and actually (a bit ironically) evokes Soviet propaganda about the aggressive, criminal imperialist Jewish state. I think it’s possible to object to Israeli policies in the West Bank (and even refer to them as “land grabs”) without resorting to such misleading comparisons.

    • Regardless of one’s political view there’s a huge difference between Russia conquering by force a vast populated region, and a country declaring an unpopulated chain of hills as part of its territory, this after decades of Palestinian refusals on any agreement.

    • Somehow I can’t see any threat against Russia’s existence originating from Ukraine.
      Maybe you have anything to say about it Gerard?

    • The only wrong is the criticism of Israel. According to all international laws on the subject (San Remo Treaty, Mandate for Palestine and the UN Charter) the land BELONGS to the Jews and cannot be given to anybody else. Just a minor fact.

      I have a real challenge for you Peter, care to name a single legal claim to the land for the Arabs. Want to give it a try?

      You and the rest of the world is so off key that you need singing lessons.

  2. The obvious difference is the unqualified support Putin is receiving from the Stalinist Left for his actions in the Ukraine, sorry I mean his struggle to support the socialists and trade unionists of the Ukraine in their struggle against the Fascist regime in Kiev.
    Whereas if Prime Minister Netanyahu so much as sneezes the same ‘fighters for liberty’ (that is for the liberty of Putin and his cronies to re-establish the old Soviet empire) will accuse PM Netanyahu of launching a germ warfare campaign against the poor oppressed Palestinians.

    • You think you are funny but you can’t answer the question, the world is full of blood, from anywhere, Israel is a small country and jews deserve to have their old land. Why don’t you join that monkey cage and do us all a favour

      • Guy my dear old thing.
        If I misunderstood your earlier post then I apologise.
        You are right the Jewish people have a right to their own country. And that country is now, as it was in the past and will be in the future Israel.

  3. Putin will have an heart attack, when he will see this, being compared to a Zionist and his criminal imperialist policy towards innocent terrorists in the Middle East, threatening to occupy the oillands of Saudi-Arabia while he fights a honest war of resistance against ukrainian fascists aka guilty terrorists who had occupied Ukraine.
    Well, not good for Al Guardian, some disinformation will go ahead, some hackers will find their way, or some old Soviet archivists suddenly discover pay lists of western jounos, especially of … Maybe even the FSB will take care of it, who knows what a man like Putin considers as proper response, you remember Litvinenko?

  4. It’s really great to know that when Israel makes concessions for peace, like returning all of the Sinai in a spur of the moment in 1979, that the rest of the Western world notices.

    Again, I wonder just how the world expects peace to come about in the Middle East. Unless, of course, they really don’t (which I believe to be the case).

    Show me an honest pro-peace perspective, and I’ll show you a Zionist.

  5. Another major difference is that Russia’s rouble is turning to rubble on the Foreign Exchange, whereas the World Bank has given Israel a AAA rating. Israel is tall in the saddle!

  6. Israel did not annex the land. It declared it “state land”, where “state” would be the so-called “occupied territories”

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