Economist cartoon contrasts peaceful Iran with belligerent Israel

The Economist fancies itself a centrist magazine, one which provides “authoritative insight and opinion” to its 1.4 million subscribers, and stands in opposition to “privilege, pomposity and predictability”. On Israel, however, it continues to lean in a decidedly predictable direction – one which conforms to the egregious bias adopted by the ‘herd of independent thinkers’ within the British radical left. 

Indeed, the facile paradigm adopted in the following graphic commentary, published in the March 6th print edition of The Economist, on the speech delivered last week to the US Congress by Israel’s prime minister evokes the agitprop routinely expressed in Guardian cartoons by propagandists such as Steve Bell and Martin Rowson.


The cartoon isn’t difficult to unpack. Whilst the Americans and Iranians are both trying to reach a peaceful solution, an adolescent, attention-seeking Netanyahu – led by Republican House Speaker John Boehner – is causing trouble by attempting to scuttle a diplomatic agreement.

Even leaving aside the regime’s genocidal rhetoric against the Jewish state, the suggestion that the intentions of the Islamic Republic – which the US State Department has characterized as one of the top exporters of global terrorism – in the current talks are peaceful (rather than reflecting their narrow desire to end economic sanctions) is absurd. 

Whether you agree or disagree with the details of the possible agreement taking shape between Iran and the six world powers, it takes an awful lot of ideological conditioning to look at the conflict between Jerusalem and Tehran and see the former as the belligerent party.


130 replies »

  1. This is why after many years of having a subscription, with each passing year, the Economist became more & more biased (in my opinion) against Israel such that; I finally dropped their magazine (print&online) around 2006. If you look at the “Israeli” caricatures one facial feature appears exaggerated perhaps to denote they are Jewish. Where haven’t I’ve seen this before in Anti-Semitic cartoons.

  2. What a pity they didn’t remember the most peaceful aspect of Iran, those bodies hanging so peacefully from the cranes.

  3. At least the Economist didn’t run this year’s winner of Iran’s state sponsored contest at drawing the most insulting, anti-Semitic, Holocaust denial cartoon for 2015.

    Because we all know the pen is mightier than the sword, especially those peace loving Mullahs!

  4. For me, this Economist cartoon feels like Alice Through the Looking Glass when everyone declares to Alice the verdict is in, the verdict is in, and Alice retorts: “what? before the trial?” Ergo, everything is utterly upside down in The Land of Anti Semites. Sickening cartoon peddling disinformation and lies in a format that nobody can challenge for fear of silencing free speech.

  5. Matti Friedman deservedly applauded talks and writings on the misreporting and misrepresenting of Israel clearly show in this little cartoon not only how journalism continues to conduct itself in its failures to report fairly, but to actively support terror. With regard to Iran’s “peaceful” overtures, the humming centrifuges in those nuclear plants are airbrushed out of the picture. The silence is deafening.

  6. I may be over reading (or just wrongly reading) this cartoon, perhaps through the lens of my own views, but I see something a bit creepy about the cello playing – it’s just *too* peaceful, too good to be true, whereas I see the casting of Bibi in a punk band of ‘troublemakers’ as a kind of satirical comment – perhaps partly on robust Israeli political discourse, but also partly on the way in which Israelis may get labelled trouble makers when they raise security concerns.

    • These cartoons are not that subtle s4r4hbrown. Essentially it is showing Israel as the belligerent party trying to upset a peace process going on between US and Iran. Israel is not giving the US any salutary warnings.There is no reference to Iran’s terrible human rights records, or it’s defiance of the non-proliferation treaty. This is the Economist’s acceptance and agreement with the US’s pact with the devil with a the common enemy – ISIS. Israel is a “troublemaker”. Creepy cellist? On the contrary. Khameini is depicted as a “Pablo Casals” with a beard! What a saint.

    • I think the violin & cello smack of something very nasty, but ‘too peaceful’ isn’t it.
      Hair on my neck went up.

      • Also, with roadies’ depiction, we know who the elephant in the room is supposed to be.

  7. “agitprop”, my foot. There is as much genuine agitprop in the Guardian and Economist as there was in the Stuermer.

  8. Iranian imperialism is smiling all the way to the bank. They have half of Yemen, they own Lebanon, they own half of Iraq and more than half of Syria.
    I am counting down the days until Obama goes. Time to deal with Iran once and for all.

    • Provided his replacement and Congress show some backbone.

      Two years ago Obama declared his objective was to have Iran dismantle its nuclear capability. Today he’s talking about giving them a 10-year sunset clause – by which time he’ll be long gone so someone else will have to face up to the ramifications of this – which the Itanians have rejected while signing an arms deal with Russia.

      • Obama is pussy in Chief. I’d take a bet that who ever comes next has bigger balls. The Republicans certainly have them. They are no friend of Obama’s appeasement politics that just lets this cancer spread. If you pop the zit that is Iran, all else will follow course. Iran is the morass out of which most of this nightmare originates. They are the Herrenrasse of the 21st century. But because they are brown, not white, people think Iran is some teddy bear.

        Iran’s policy is similar to that of Hitler’s ideas. Export their fascism across the globe. They say it all the time. They even have a very well funded military organization that does nothing but. But Obama is a wimp. We need to wait.

      • Another thing no one talks about but surely is upper most on my mind; say a miracle happens Iran is in compliance for 1 year and then uses the “donut-hole” for Obama’s last year to crank up full production? No one believes this President will go to War to enforce the treaty. Sanctions will be a pipe dream once the Europeans start signing lucrative deals with the Iranians and Obama has sufficiently pissed off Putin. So, for one year until a new PresIdent comes to power Iran will be able to mass produce Nuclear Bombs because of fools at the top of each government negotiating.

      • We Jews Salcido? Not Zionists? Noam Chomsky? Philipp Weiss? Good to see the fall of the mask of the so called anti-Zionists…
        Evidently history and math are not your forte.

      • What happened tamara? Your remaining single braincell became Muslim and committed a suicide terror attack? Against whom? Your arse?

        • It’s that place that israel has been slowly wiping off the map by force since 1948 – all the while hoping no one else will notice.

          • mediocre comment . very confused thought process . Its that place with unicorns and rainbows and lots of happy people . Just invent whatever .

            You cannot wipe off the map something that never existed .

            • And yet you’re rigidly and dogmatically sticking to your idea that you can create something on a map which never existed….

              The irony is delicious

      • That’s nothing compared to you Muslims who own 92% of the world’s terrorism, 98% of the world’s bigotry and 100% of the world’s ignorance.

      • You are confused. It wasn’t our aggressIon or askIng back In 1967 when 5-Arab Armies initially later more made it very clear they were going to rid the Land of Jews so Arabs leave homes for a short while and you can have the Jew’s homes too. You may not even have been born yet. Even after the War Israel said to the Arab countries we don’t want this Land we conquered we want Peace and security. Israel got her answer in September 1967 from the Arab League in Khartoum, No Peace, No Negotiation, No Recognition. So Anonymous afraid to use your real name even if you weren’t in this world at that time many us were, so learn the real history and don’t make it up (confiscate) or I can be a wise ass to and say liberated.

      • Go salcido! I refer you to the answer I gave earlier. You are as self-righteous as your racist grandparents when it comes justifying your Jew-hatred with ‘facts’.

    • Here is that documentary that proves Iran is in Syria. Not that we needed proof anyway.

      The camera man was Iranian and got lunched along with the Iranian SS he was documenting. Here we can see & hear what Iranians think of the Arabs they manipulate for their own ends.

      The Left likes to bitch about the British using the Arabs back in the day. Well, Iran is no better. But is does not fit the Leftist academic narrative, and so we hardly hear of it.

        • The Israelis not only support al-Qaida, the leader of ISIS is a Mossad trained Jew Simon Elliot. You don’t believe this? Just ask PressTV, Stormfront, Globalresearch or any other wannabe SS campguards like ewingsc…

        • An interesting look inside the world of the so called anti-Zionist like James Petras aka ewingsc:
          In a 2006 article entitled “9/11 Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories Still Abound,” the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) criticized Petras’s assertion that there was evidence that Israelis may have known about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks but withheld the information from the United States government. The ADL also noted Petras’ assertion that “The lack of any public statement concerning Israel’s possible knowledge of 9/11 is indicative of the vast, ubiquitous and aggressive nature of its powerful diaspora supporters.”
          In a 2009 article, the ADL again criticized Petras, alleging that he blamed the on-going economic crisis on “Zionist” control over the U.S. government and world events, and alleged that Petras argued that pro-Israel Americans had launched a massive campaign to push the U.S. into a war with Iran. The ADL also alleged that Petras’ allegations included the anti-Semitic accusation that the American Jewish community controls the mass media and is “bloodthirsty” in its appetite for war. The previous year, Petras alleged that that “It was the massive infusion of financial contributions that allowed the [Zionist Power Configuration] (ZPC) to vastly expand the number of full-time functionaries, influence peddlers and electoral contributors that magnified their power – especially in promoting US Middle East wars, lopsided free trade agreements (in favor of Israel) and unquestioned backing of Israeli aggression against Lebanon, Syria and Palestine…No economic recovery is possible now or in the foreseeable future…while Zionist power brokers dictate US Mideast policies.
          The ADL also cited a 2008 interview in which Petras stated that [U.S.] presidents are at the disposal of “Jewish power” and maintained, according to the ADL, that Jews represent “the greatest threat to world peace and humanity.” In the same 2008 interview cited by the ADL, Petras stated that “it’s one of the great tragedies that we have a minority that represents less than 2% of North American’s population but has such power in the communications media” and that the reason “why the North American public doesn’t react against the manipulations of this minority…[is] because the Jews control the communications media.” In an 2010 article published in the Arab American News, Petras stated that “For the U.S. mass media the problem is not Israeli state terror, but how to manipulate and disarm the outrage of the international community. To that end the entire Zionist power configuration has a reliable ally in the Zionized Obama White House and U.S. Congress.”

          Some of the scholarly works of this textbook example of the Jew-hating, 9/11 truther”
          The Arab Revolt and the Imperialist Counterattack, Clarity Press, Inc. (2011). ISBN 1-4611-1760-7 ISBN 978-1-4611-1760-5
          War Crimes in Gaza and the Zionist Fifth Column in America, Clarity Press, Inc. (2010). ISBN 0-9845255-0-5 ISBN 978-0-9845255-0-8
          Zionism, Militarism and the Decline of US Power, Clarity Press, Inc. (2008). ISBN 0-932863-60-4
          Rulers and Ruled in the US Empire: Bankers, Zionists and Militants, Clarity Press, Inc. (2007). ISBN 978-0-932863-54-6
          The Power of Israel in the United States, Clarity Press, Inc. (2006). ISBN 0-932863-51-5
          Empire with Imperialism: The Globalizing Dynamics of Neoliberal Capitalism, Luciano Vasapollo, Zed Books (2006).
          Social Movements and State Power: Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, with Henry Veltmeyer, Pluto Press (2005).
          Globalization Unmasked: Imperialism in the 21st Century, with Henry Veltmeyer, Zed Books (2001).
          The Dynamics of Social Change in Latin America, with Henry Veltmeyer, Palgrave Macmillan (2000).
          Empire or Republic: Global Power or Domestic Decay in the US, with Morris Morley, Routledge (1994).
          Latin America in the Time of Cholera: Electoral Politics, Market Economics, and Permanent Crisis, Routlege (1992).

          The good professor is a big fan of Chavez, Ahmadinejad and the Colombian drug-gangster/terrorist organization FARC.

            • You’d think with all those ‘scholarly’ books to his credit, he would have gotten it off is chest by now. And yet, he is so obsessive in his Jew hatred, whose end is nothing more than the persecution of Jews – it serves no other real world function or purpose – that he shows up here. Is his fear of this website due to its growing impact or is it just the usual case of the hyper-paranoia associated with gutter anti-Semitism farcically masquerading in cap & gown?

              • Coing from a Chavista that is a little rich. You are a dirty little communist. A spineless US academic.

            • Very simple: sociology is a bogus discipline for idiots. Now do a correlation curve for idiots v. antisemites, and the answer will stare you in the face.

              • Leah,
                in Anglo Saxon uni’s there does seem to be a high average of Socialist nonsense coming out of Sociology departments. I find it note worthy that US/UK humanities seem to have turned into the last bastion of Western communism.
                But donor’s seem to be catching on and are making sure that they are not subsidizing a school of thought which is detrimental to wider society ( Steven Salaita ) .
                Many uni donors also give more to Engineering and Economics faculties now. Faculties which actually produce something unlike this evil Clown Ewing here, and Salaita who just preach hate, and expect the wider community to pay them a living wage.

                • “in Anglo Saxon uni’s there does seem to be a high average of Socialist nonsense coming out of Sociology departments. I find it note worthy that US/UK humanities seem to have turned into the last bastion of Western communism” –

                  Yes, and the reason is that these departments attract immature, low-IQ twits who think that sitting in the student union bar drinking beer and going on Stop the War marches makes them right-on progressives. And that’s just the teaching staff.

          • Petras has the same publisher as Atzmon, Chomsky and all the other antisemitic freaks. Zed Books, Pluto Press.
            I am surprised to see Routledge here.

            • You guys really need to stop using that word. Most Semites speak Arabic.

              “Anti-semitic, its a trick we always use it”

              Former Israeli Minister Shulamit Aloni

              • EWING,

                Democracy Now, now there is another quality broadcaster of Socialist bollocks.

                PRESS TV and Democracy Now, thats about your wave length. You think we have not seen this rubbish before a thousands times ?

                You think this is a first ?

                Why don’t you go research the videos your Islamofascist friends post as they machine gun unarmed civilians in Syria ? Look up the video of how Assads and Tehran’s men beat half dead civilians with iron bar’s. Is that your world ?

                Is that what you envision for the non Muslim minorities in Iran’s Reich ?

                • Hi dani – what your former israeli minister says in the video above is true tho, isn’t it.

                  “Anti-semitic, its a trick we always use it”

                  And my jury is still well and truly OUT when it comes to ISIS being a western created terrorist proxy weapon that can be moved around (unwittingly or not) by certain western nations (israel included)

                  – and used to destroy the infrastructure of those nation states (like Libya, Syria) that have the ‘wrong’ kind of banking system.

                  Have you wondered why ISIS hasn’t attacked israel yet?

                  Have you researched ‘western airdrops of weaponry to ISIS’ yet?

                  No, you haven’t.

                  So spare me your caustic, culturally centric diatribe, ok?

        • ewingsc – and you are an apologist for Islamic fascists, despots, murderers and anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists. (No photographic evidence necessary).

          • Oh please. I despise violence anyone who conducts it in their own interest. We’ve all been lied to:  ISIS is fake. 
            It’s a proxy weapon – used against countries like Syria.  Because they have the ‘wrong’ banking system.   
            “ISIS completely fabricated enemy by USA”, former CIA contractor”

              • ewingsc – you deplore violence, except when its perpetrated against Jews, which is why you ignore the murderous intent of Israel’s Arab neighbours, their aggression towards Israel in ’47, ’67 and ’73, and cry your ‘humanitarian’ tears that the yids weren’t taught the kind of lesson that restores them to their rightful place in your bigoted, spiteful world.

                • You folks are disturbingly toxic.

                  Israel has been steadily expanding it’s territory through force since it was established
                  (unwanted by those already living in the region) in 1948. 

                  This is the ROOT cause of the conflict.  Knocking down Palestinian homes, building settlements. Stealing land with your regressive wall. The horrific military abuse of people (I know you don’t see them as ‘people’) in the open air prison that is Gaza, all the random killings by the IDF and the Navy.

                  Then you sit ’round outraged – wondering why people are firing homemade rockets at you – and throwing stones at your tanks that roll through Palestinian neighborhoods.

                  GOD – figure it out, already.

                  The (frankly baffling) hubris of the zionists

                  – does not allow them to ever imagine that they might themselves have a hand in causing their own problems. 

                  Easier just to blame the Palestinians that the zionists have been dispossessing over many decades for the conflict.

                  Because none of you are humanistic – none of you see it that way.

                  • EWING / Petras,

                    surreal reading your words here as half the Muslim Middle East goes up in flames, mass murder and rubble.

                    Every hour you are proven wrong for three years and longer.

                    Your entire life’s work crumbles in front of you .

                    As your dear darling subjects of veneration slit each others throats and barrel bomb urban neighborhoods.

                    A cluster fuck not seen since the second world war.

                    And all in the name of Islam, the Arab nation state and a greater fascist Persia. From the Indian Ocean to the Med. Hitler must be jealous.

                    • Wow, great reply Dani!

                      Really demonstrates that you finished high school with a considered and nonsensical ramble of such calibre!

            • EWING,
              that is a PRESS TV link you posted here. You actually think anybody in the civilized world, zionist or not, watches let alone believes what Tehran broadcasts? You are a freak man! A fucking socialist freak with zero traction in the world. People like you are creepy and live in the moist and slimy world of tax payer funded US academia. But your working days are numbered. You and the brains you helped built like Salaita will be exposed to the sun and dried up.
              And your faux humanism stinks to high heaven. This saccharine line of human decency as you publish antisemitic books is worthless. It is astonishing that bastards like you manage to stay in the academic system.

              • @ dani & leah.

                You are both horrifically brainwashed – and therefore a threat to world peace.

                How many Palestinian homes have been demolished by the zionists over the last three decades?

                Do you think zionist policies have ANYTHING to do with how israel is perceived both in the region and around the world?

                “surreal reading your words here as half the Muslim Middle East goes up in flames, mass murder and rubble”

                Maybe if you ‘lowered’ yourself to reading non-western (even non israeli) press

                – you might be able to understand the world around you a little better.

                And I am far more ‘humanistic’ – than you will ever be.

                • Ewingsc,
                  ” how israel is perceived ( both ) in the region ” this region has produced 11 Million refugees and over 200.000 dead are you kidding me ? ( of course you are ). “The region” is at war with itself and Israel is the only place where you can have an espresso in peace and have a conversation with a woman without her getting shot in the face by her brother. and you are an antisemite.

                  • No, I am not an ‘anti-semite’, dani. Most semites speak Arabic.

                    So I would dispense with that meaningless slur if I were you – because it just doesn’t work on people anymore, ok?

                    I also work both with and for jews and most of them are really nice – so I don’t really have a problem with ‘jewish’

                    (but I do understand many of the reasons behind why jewish people are despised as a group by some people around the world).

                    “The region is at war with itself ”

                    Yep – it certainly is. Ever wonder why?

                    Do you think ANY of the reasons may have something to do with outside western meddling and interference?

                    Or the establishment of israel and the subsequent and ongoing expansion of israeli territory through military force?

                    Or the preference of the zionist policy makers to diminish and weaken through violent or clandestine means

                    any militarily strong neighbors – that may or may not still feel aggrieved over the violent establishment

                    (and subsequent belligerent behavior) of your country israel?

                    I happen to know that the conflict between Sunni and Shia is (like ISIS) a western creation.

                    Sunni & Shia were happily intermarrying in Iraq until the 2003 invasion.

                    Then someone started false-flag bombing both their mosques

                    – and set the two groups against each other in an additional bid to continually weaken the country.

                    Iraq was also a country where women went to universities before the zionist neo-cons turned up and ruined the nation

                    using military weapons – justified by lies and false pretenses. I watched that country get slowly destroyed on my television.

                    Do you think any of those reasons above may have ANYTHING to do with why “The region is at war with itself “?

                    Because what I’m witnessing in the region – is a slow-motion war of western imperial territorial expansion, land theft,

                    resource theft, encirclement (Iran, Russia) and the destruction of nations states (Libya, Syria)

                    using western created, armed, and directed terrorist proxy forces.

                    The troubles that beset South West Asia are not created locally.

                    You thoughts please.

    • Israel has nuclear weapons?? And hasn’t signed the NPT?!

      Guess that’s OK if Iran doesn’t either then.

    • Excellent question, Frank. Iran is a member of the NPT. Yet the IAEA was unable to verify anything because the Iranians decided which sites and data they would let them see. They also simply didn’t acknowledge some place existed at all. Iraq was a member of NPT before losing their reactor and it was the same story. Syria had and undisclosed reactor near completion before it was destroyed. North Korea is a member of the NPT, Do you remember Richardson and the Great Jimmy Carter plus 6 nations negotiating food and other things for not developing the Bomb. They all agreed. Everyone went home. North Korea received everything as promised. The UN was happy, O’le Jimmy was beaming once more that you just need to talk to people. A couple of years later the Nuclear device was tested in North Korea and they were part of the NPT
      Frank, Israel could join the NPT but Israel’s enemies would turn it into a weapon against her and they belong but don’t follow it

    • Frank,
      How about you joining Iran’s answer to the Peace Corp – the Revolutionary Guard? You can help them do all those peaceable things they do while Iran develops the nuclear peace bomb for Allah and the peaceful ICBMs to carry their warheads on its peaceful mission. Someone’s got to rule the world, and the mullahs have a book that tells them just how to do it. Tempting, eh?

  9. Presumably posted by a typical Economist reader? Or maybe one of its journalists hiding behind the cloak of anonymity?

    • Adloyada –

      In the link you give, Khamenei is quoted as saying: “The smiles of the enemy must not be taken seriously. We must not get too excited by these smiles.”

      Wouldn’t it make a great strip cartoon if a picture of him saying this (with a smile) were juxtaposed with ones of Netanyahu (smiling as he says), “What Iran is putting forward with this smile campaign is an old position…”; and then Israel’s (smiling) intelligence minister, Yuval Steinitz, saying that Iran’s Rouhani “is on a smiling campaign …If nothing is done, he will smile his way all the way to the bomb.” …?

      It really is amazing how they all speak the same “smiley” language, innit?!

  10. The true face of the pro-Palestinian human rights warrior, liberal progressive Guardian reader.

  11. in what am I wrong? That Iran threaten to destroy Israel? that all arab countries in the ME dont have a problem with Israel but they do have a problem with Iran.

  12. ” He also said Iran must look to wield influence well beyond its borders: “Protecting our security and historical national identity would not be possible unless we look at our influence in the region.” However, he maintained Tehran “does not eye beyond its borders but a natural unification in the region is on the table right now.” ”

    Iranian Lebensraum is made bigger.


    Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) is pushing back against criticism that a letter co-signed by 46 GOP senators to Iranian leaders is meant to undermine President Obama’s nuclear negotiations.

    During an interview on Tuesday, the freshman senator cast the move as a necessary warning that future presidents and Congresses would overturn any negotiation that doesn’t completely dismantle Iran’s capacity to build a nuclear weapon.

    “They’ve been killing Americans for 35 years, they’ve killed hundreds of troops in Iran, now they control five capitols in the Middle East,” he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

    “They are nothing but hardliners in Iran and if they do all of those things without a nuclear weapon, imagine what they would do with one.”

  14. I wish to apologise for being so racist and nasty .
    I have been thinking about all that’s been posted and I now realise I have been wrong and a total fool and tool .
    Its because I am actually very lonely and I blame others for my failures in life . I ask for forgiveness and most of all , for tolerance .
    I just want to add how much I respect and honour the Jewish people and the Jewish Nation of Israel . I wish you all the success as the only democracy in the Middle East .