Ranan Lurie

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Ranan Lurie, 1961

Ranan R. Lurie (born May 26, 1932) is an American Israeli Political Cartoonist and journalist, a senior associate at the CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies) since 1990,[1] a member of the United Nation Correspondents Association, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Cartoonews, The Current Events Educational Magazine.[2]


Ranan Lurie was born on May 26, 1932 to Joseph and Shoshanna, who traveled from Tel Aviv to Port Said, Egypt, at the invitation of the grandfather (Rabbi Isaiah Lurie) to give birth of their first born at his home. (This event will give the baby an advantage when he meets one-on-one with President Sadat (1977 and 1979) as well as with President Mubarak (1984 and 1997) for a series of interviews and portrait-sittings.) Two weeks after birth Ranan and his parents returned to Tel Aviv. His father was a Sixth-generation Jerusalem-born and his mother a Seventh-generation.

Ranan Lurie's father, Joseph, born in 1906, was one of the first Jerusalem babies born outside the walls of the old city, in the new neighborhood of "Yemin Moshe". The grandfather Isaiah, petrified by the thought that he would be recruited into the Turkish army during the First World War, to be sent to Gallipoli, utilized his French citizenship and fled to Egypt where he became the president of the Ashkenazi Jewish community.

In 1947, Lurie was appointed member of Israel's National Youth Handball team.

Lurie was a member of the Israeli underground armed organization ("Irgun") and was wounded in a battle against the British. He later served in the IDF reserves as a Major and senior company commander. He became a member of a very small covert sky-diving unit of officers-only trained to operate behind enemy lines. He shared parachute training with the U.S. 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, the 16th independent Parachute Regiment of the British Forces in Aldershot, UK, and with the French Foreign Legion's Paratroop Forces in Pau, France.

In July 1954, when Israel and Egypt were still in an official stage of war, Lurie infiltrated the flagship of an Egyptian navy flotilla anchoring in Venice, supposedly as an Australian journalist, "interviewed" the frigate's high ranking enemy officers and took photographs of their newly installed Soviet Radar. Lurie won the highest Israeli journalistic award granted "For Unprecedented bravery". At the beginning of the "Suez War" the British light cruiser "HMS New Castle", that by then was familiar with the Egyptian-Soviet radar, sunk the Egyptian "Domiat" within minutes. It managed, however, to save 69 Egyptian crew members and return them safely to shore.

During the first of his three stages of the Six-Day War Major Lurie and his unit received responsibility for the "Bottleneck" of Israel (The narrowest distance between the sea and Palestinian Tul Karem). The second stage was capturing Tul Karem from the north with his force of five hundred men, supported by a squadron of tanks and cannon-mounted jeeps. In the last stage of combat, as the battle developed, he was sent deep behind enemy lines commanding a tiny unit of nine on two of his cannon-mounted jeeps. His escapades then were reported by the international media and lectured at West Point. At the end of the combat, he gained a different kind of world attention when he refused to deport the Palestinian inhabitants of the town of Anabta to Jordan, risking a court martial that would have involved Prime Minister Levi Eshkol Lurie's friend, who after Ranan's meeting with him face-to-face instructed Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan "To return immediately all the exiled Palestinian inhabitants and rebuild any of their destroyed homes". Defense Minister Dayan obeyed.[3]

Lurie was the Political Cartoonist for Yediot Aharonot of Israel (1957–1967) after which he was invited to become Political Cartoonist and cover artist for LIFE (1968–1972).

In 1964, the Prime Minister Levi Eshkol unveiled Lurie's one-man show of oil portraits at the "Sokolov House" in Tel Aviv, in the presence of old masters like Joseph Zaritsky, Reuven Rubin and Meiron Sima. On May 23, 1967, the President of Israel, Zalman Shazar, unveiled Lurie's one-man show of oil portraits at "Expo 67" in Montreal, Canada.

Ranan Lurie and Secretary of State, William P. Rogers

At the beginning of winter 1971, after a discreet agreement of Israel to retreat 300 meters from the Suez canal and allow the opening of the canal to international commerce, the Secretary of State, William P. Rogers, asked Lurie to request Israel's Prime Minister, Golda Meir, to allow the Egyptian soldiers the will vols the area to be armed withh sub-machine guns. He added that without this move, there are very high stakes of another war which the President of Egypt, Anwar Sadat, is already preparing for. Lurie flew the next day to Israel, and met Golda Meir in her chambers, but she refused to the request. Two years later, the Yom Kippur War broke out and close to 2,700 Israelis and many thousands of Egyptians died.

After LIFE magazine folded in late December 1972, he was invited to publish his cartoons in Newsweek. A short time after, he was offered a full page in Newsweek International (1973–1977), and later served as the Senior Analyst and Political Cartoonist for The U.S. News & World Report in Washington, D.C. (1984–1986). Later, he had his own full page in Time International (1994–1997). Subsequently he had a full page in Foreign Affairs magazine (2000–2004). He was the in-house Political Cartoonist for The London Times, Die Welt (Germany), Asahi Shimbun (Japan) and started the first political cartoon for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (Switzerland), which is one of the oldest newspapers in print. According to the Center for Professional Journalism Studies, over the years, he was syndicated globally to more than 1,100 publications with a daily readership of 300,000,000 (Three Hundred Million.)[4] His works were handled by the New York Times Syndicate, King Features Syndicate and Universal Press Syndicate. In 1985 Lurie started his own "Cartoonews International Syndicate.”

He's probably the only artist who was invited simultaneously by both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party to hold a one-man show at the U.S. Senate (October 23, 1973). Senator Abraham Ribicoff unveiled Lurie's exhibition on behalf of the Democratic Party, followed by Senator Lowell Weicker, Jr., who unveiled it on behalf of the Republican Party. Vice President Gerald Ford presided over the event. The exhibit took place at the Senate Caucus Room on Capitol Hill "In Honor of Ranan Lurie" and was sponsored by the New York Times publishing house.

Lurie interviewed, drew and painted more than 250 world leaders one-on-one.

The cartoon of Marcos by Ranan Lurie, as published in Asahi Shimbun

In 1983, Lurie's media-relations with a world leader suspected of murder endangered his own life and threatened the welfare of his two young daughters, Daphne and Danielle. Lurie met with the President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos, who was suspected world-wide of being behind the famous bloody murder of his political rival Mr. Aquino at the Manila Airport. Lurie suggested to Marcos during their one-on-one meeting to confront the attitude of suspicion toward him. Marcos agreed "With sorrow", and complained that "It is such an absurd to suspect him "Since he has the ultimate motivation to kill his rival…thus," continued the weary President's with his unique logic, "I, who's famous for smarts and wisdom – should be the last one to be suspect of falling into such an obvious trap!"

Lurie said that he "agreed", and confronted Marcos with an offer that "can save the country's economy as well as the President's reputation."

Marcos looked at Lurie with fascinated curiosity and asked "And how will you do that?"

"Simple," answered the Lurie: "I’ll give you a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ polygraph test. You ‘know’ and I ‘understand’ that you’re clean like a whistle – and such a simple test will make the entire world join us in our belief that you were not involved in the murder." Lurie would then report the findings to his worldwide readership. The Filipino leader ‘excitingly’ agreed and a polygraph test was set for 10AM of the next morning in the Presidential Palace ’In front of witnesses’. As soon as Lurie returned to his hotel room, secret agents headed by the Information minister arrived at his hotel and threatened Lurie: "Be on the 8AM flight to Tokyo. Your seat is already reserved. We know that you and your two young daughters live at 9 Dykanyama St., 6th floor, Tokyo. Better be on the plane if you ever wish to see them!..." Lurie was on that plane to Tokyo, as well as his front-page story about his dramatic interview, including his cartoon showing President Ferdinand Marcos tied to an un-plugged Polygraph machine was on the Asahi Shimbun's front page

He created his "Uniting Painting", the "Fine Art with a Mission", a huge contemporary art project that originated from the United Nations Headquarters in New York on October 24, 2005 ("United Nations Day"). It was the largest contemporary painting ever exhibited at the United Nations (75 feet tall, 600 feet long); so big that it spilled over from the United Nations Headquarters to Roosevelt Island and was exhibited there and the United Nations for 4 years. Custom painted extensions of the art were installed by the government of the Republic of Korea on the border between South Korea and North Korea (2006). Another "Uniting Painting" installation now orbits (on a satellite) earth, and simultaneously another three sections were brought by several brave volunteer "Sherpa" to the peak of Mt. Everest (April 19, 2011),[5] and now (2013) he was invited to have his art, representing friendship and goodwill to all – sent to the moon, an enterprise in progress.

Lurie became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1974. Senator Lowell Weicker, volunteered to deliver to him personally his new American passport.

In 1984, he created Japan's national cartoon symbol, sponsored by Japan's Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone and the Asahi Shimbun daily.[6]

In 1985, he created Taiwan's national cartoon symbol, sponsored by Taiwan's Government.[7]

In 1985, he also started his year-long daily animated news cartoon on PBS' network (the MacNeil Lehrer Newshour).

Ranan Lurie and Mikhail Gorbachev

In 1993, John Brewer, the president of The New York Times Syndicate set the framework for publishing a joint column by Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the USSR, and Ranan Lurie. In the column, Gorbachev wrote his opinion about world politics (issues like the Persian Gulf War and future of Communism) and Lurie added a caricature giving a different opinion, Lurie's counterpoint. The joint column was published for some years in more than 100 newspapers worldwide, including The New York Times.

Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, by Ranan Lurie, on the front page of "Cartoon News"

At the beginning of 1996 Lurie created "Cartoon News", a new kind of an educational Magazine that taught current events by introducing mainly top political cartoons supported by very short texts. Lurie, the editor in chief had about 60 cartoonists from all over the world working for it. The number of its readers reached 600,000 within a short time.

About a year later, At the recommendation of the American Ambassador to Egypt, Ned Walker, President Hosni Mubarak together with the publishers of "Al-Ahram" offered Lurie to publish his cartoons in "Al-Ahram" and print an Egyptian version of his "Cartoon News" in Arabic.

Ranan and Tamar Lurie, 2013

Lurie lives in Greenwich, Connecticut with his wife, Tamar Lurie, a leading real estate executive at Coldwell Banker, and on Central Park West in New York City. He works from his studios on the Time Warner Building.[8]

He is the father of Rod Lurie, a West Point graduate who is a film director and screenwriter; His son Barak Lurie, a Stanford graduate and the Managing Partner of Lurie & Seltzer, a law firm headquartered in L.A., also known for his own radio show, "Lurie's Law"; His daughter Dr. Daphne Lurie is a Williams alum and the Directing Psychologist at the San Diego Scripps Research Institute; and Danielle Lurie, a Stanford graduate and a movie director in New York.

Lurie is also a member of Mensa.[9]

The UNITED NATIONS/RANAN LURIE Political Cartoon Awards were created by former Secretary General Kofi Annan in 2000 and continued by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to date. The international Award recognizes cartoons that "enhance, explain and help direct the spirit and principles of the U.N." The three first awards are worth a total of $18,000 and are distributed along with ten additional special recognition plaques signed by the Secretary General and Ranan Lurie.

Lurie appears twice in the Guinness Book of World Records beginning in 1999 as "the most widely syndicated political cartoonist in the world" and "as a member of the oldest traceable family in existence", which former Chief Rabbi Lau of Israeli and the Jerusalem Institute of Jewish Genealogy concluded that the Lurie family directly descends from the Royal House of the biblical King David, and can trace its genealogy back to the 10th Century, BC. The Lurie family tree includes such distinguished members as the prophet Isaiah (8th century, BC), the Rashi (1040–1105), Hillel Hanasi "the Elder"; (30 BC-1st century AD), Felix Mendelssohn, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Salvador Luria, Yehudi Menuhin, Sir Immanuel Jakobovitz, and Ranan Lurie.

On May 28, 1997 a plaza in Seoul, South Korea was named after Ranan Lurie, who has also received the "golden key to the city".

Lurie was nominated by the Republic of Cyprus for the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, signed on March 14, 2002 by Glafcos Clerides, the President of the Republic.

He published ten political cartoon books and one novel in five languages: (1) "AMONG THE SUNS", published by Israel’s Air Force (Hebrew; introduction: Ephraim Kishon).[10] (2) "LURIE'S BEST CARTOONS FROM ISRAEL", printed by the N. Tversky Publishing House of Tel Aviv, Ltd., Israel (First Edition in Hebrew, Second Edition in English; introduction by Foreign Minister Aba Eban). (3) "NIXON RATED CARTOONS" printed by the New York Times publishing house (English; USA; foreword by Thomas Griffith, Editor of LIFE). (4) "PARDON ME MR. PRESIDENT", printed by the New York Times publishing house (English; USA; foreword by Commentator Harry Reasoner and special comment by Vice President Gerald Ford). (5) "LURIE'S WORLDS", printed by the University Press of Hawaii (English; USA; foreword by Clare Boothe Luce). (6) "SO SIEHT ES LURIE", printed by Welt Buch publishing house of Berlin (German; introduction by Ephraim Kishon). (7) "LURIE'S OPINION", printed by Zmorah Bitan publishing house of Tel Aviv (Hebrew; introduction by Shalom Rosenfeld, editor, Ma'ariv). (8) "LURIE'S ALMANACK", printed by Secker & Warburg, London (English; U.K.; introduction by Charles Douglas Home, editor, THE TIMES). (9) "LURIE'S ALMANAC", printed by Andrews and McMeel publishing house of Kansas City-New York (English; USA; foreword by Charles Douglas-Home). (10) "MR. TARO SAN'S POLITICS", printed by Shinchosha Co. (Japanese; Tokyo).

In 1985, Lurie invented and created a new electronic cartoon animation technique that brought his cartoons to PBS stations and ABC network.[11]

In 1995, Lurie co-invented an Automobile Breaking System that has a variable light and sound warning, registered as American Patent 5481243.[12]

Gallery of Ranan Lurie cartoons[edit]

Current news cartoon: Barack Obama President of the United States, November 2014


  1. ^ Ranan R. Lurie, CSIS
  2. ^ Cartoonews
  3. ^ Dafna Linzer, Arab Expulsion Ended by Cartoonist, Associated Press, June 5, 1998
  4. ^ Taking Art to New Heights – Mt. Everest, NBC, October 9, 2009
  5. ^ Taking Art to New Heights – Mt. Everest, NBC, October 9, 2009
  6. ^ The UNITING PAINTING: The World Is Its Canvas, LurieStudios
  7. ^ Cartoonist Ranan R. Lurie Searches For 'Chinese Symbol', Taiwan Today, July 28, 1985
  8. ^ Hughes, C.J. "Eye Candy, Structural and Natural". New York Times. Retrieved March 12, 2013. 
  9. ^ "They're Accomplished, They're Famous, and They're MENSANS". Mensa Bulletin (American Mensa) (476): 26. July 2004. ISSN 0025-9543. 
  10. ^ Israeli Air Force site (Hebrew)
  11. ^ Ranan R. Lurie, CSIS
  12. ^ Who's Who of American Inventors 1996–1997, Fourth Edition, Hooper Group Publishing; https://www.google.com/patents/US5481243

External links[edit]

The Uniting Painting by Ranan Lurie, on the Everest
The Uniting Painting by Ranan Lurie