Carlos Latuff

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Carlos Latuff
Carlos Latuff.jpg
Carlos Latuff in 2012
Carlos Latuff

(1968-11-30) 30 November 1968 (age 51)
Known forPolitical cartoons, Social commentary

Carlos Latuff (born 30 November 1968) is a Brazilian freelance political cartoonist.[1] His works deal with an array of themes, including anti-Zionism, anti-globalization, anti-capitalism, and opposition to U.S. military intervention. He is best known for his images depicting the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and the Arab Spring events.

Some of Latuff's cartoons comparing Israel to Nazism have been accused of being antisemitic by the Simon Wiesenthal Center and some authors, especially his cartoons relating to the Holocaust.[2][3][4] Latuff has dismissed the charges of antisemitism as "a strategy for discrediting criticism of Israel."[5]

Early life[edit]

Latuff was born in the neighborhood of São Cristóvão in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,[6] and is of Lebanese ancestry; in his own words he has "Arab roots".[1]


Latuff started as a cartoonist for leftist publications in Brazil. After watching a 1997 documentary about the Zapatistas in Mexico, he sent a couple of cartoons to them, which received a positive response. He stated that after this experience, he decided to start a website and engage in "artistic activism". Graham Fowell, ex-chairman of the Cartoonists' Club of Great Britain, compares his work to Banksy, an English-based graffiti artist, political activist and film director.

Latuff has been arrested three times in Brazil for his cartoons about the Brazilian police, in which he criticized police brutality.[7]

Latuff Congreting Red Army Takeover Of Berlin

In 2011, Latuff was contacted by activists in Egypt. Latuff stated that he was encouraged when he saw some of his cartoons depicted in the January 25 Egyptian protests, a couple of days after he made them. According to Reuters, this helped him become "a hero of the tumultuous Arab Spring with rapid-fire satirical sketches".[8]

Published works[edit]

Latuff's works have been posted mostly by himself on Indymedia websites and private blogs. He is a weekly cartoonist for The Globe Post[9] and some of his cartoons have been picked up and featured in magazines such as the Brazilian edition of Mad,[10] Le Monde Diplomatique[11] and The Toronto Star.[12] In addition, a few of his works were published on Arab websites and publications such as the Islamic Front for the Iraqi Resistance (JAMI) magazine, the Saudi magazine Character, the Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar, among others.[13] Additionally, Latuff also contributes to several Middle Eastern newspapers, including Alquds Alarabi, Huna Sotak and the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project – IRDP.[14]


Libya`s future
The cartoon depicts Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as the next to fall after the Tunisian revolution forced President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee the country.
Political cartoon applying the domino theory to the Arab Spring

A vast number of Latuff's cartoons are related to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, which according to Latuff: "became important to Latuff after he visited the area in the late 1990s."[15] These cartoons are heavily critical of Israel[15] and have drawn criticism and allegations of uninhibited utilization of "judeophobic stereotypes in the service of the anti-globalisation movement."[16]

In his We are all Palestinians (Arabic: كلنا فلسطينيون‎) cartoon series, various famous oppressed groups, including Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, Black South Africans during Apartheid, Native Americans, and Tibetans in China, are all shown stating "I am Palestinian."[17]

Latuff has also made a series of cartoons that portray Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon,[18][19][20] United States President George W. Bush, Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and British PM Tony Blair among other politicians as monsters and as Nazis.[21][22][23][24][25][26][27]

Latuff is also critical of US military action in Iraq and Afghanistan. He started publishing his work on the web as soon as the invasion started. According to his narrative, "war is not a video game, and technofetishism is not to be celebrated, but exposed."[28] He has made promotional cartoons for anti-US militancy as well as cartoons alleging US actions have been motivated by the chance of making profit from oil. Among the cartoons, there are also some that portray US soldiers as severely wounded, dead, or paraplegic or as harming Iraqi civilians.

In his comic series Tales of Iraq War (Arabic: حكايات من حرب العراق‎) he portrays "Juba, the Baghdad sniper",[29][30][31] an Iraqi insurgency character claimed to have shot down several dozen US soldiers, as a "superhero".[32] He has also made a caricature of US President George W. Bush laughing over US casualties.[33]

Since the end of 2010, he has been consistently engaged in producing cartoons about the Arab Spring in which he openly sided with the revolutionaries. After the victory of revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya his cartoons about these countries have focused on the menace of counter-revolution or Western interference. Some of his cartoons have been displayed in mass demonstrations in Arab countries.[8][34][35]

Allegations of antisemitism[edit]

Carlos Latuff's cartoon "Holocaust Remembrance Day". It was offered as material for teachers training on a website run by the Education Ministry of the Flemish Region in Belgium[36][relevant? ]
Ship to Gaza by Latuff
Carlos Latuff portrays the cry "Anti-Semitism" as a parody of The Boy who Cried Wolf.
The new anti semitism.jpg

The notability of Latuff and his cartoons has drawn criticism from individuals and organizations, especially in the form of accusations of antisemitism.

His works were criticized by a writer for the Institute for Global Jewish Affairs, part of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (an Israeli NGO), for allegedly containing antisemitism and antisemitic motifs.[2]

In 2002 the Swiss-based Holocaust survivors organization Aktion Kinder des Holocaust sued the Indymedia of Switzerland on the charge of antisemitism for publishing Latuff's cartoon titled We are all Palestinians series in their website, which depicted a Jewish boy in the Warsaw Ghetto saying: "I am Palestinian."[3][37][38] The criminal proceedings were suspended by Swiss court.[39][citation needed]

In their 2003 Annual Report, the Stephen Roth Institute compared Latuff's cartoons of Ariel Sharon to "the antisemitic caricatures of Philipp Rupprecht in Julius Streicher's Der Stürmer."[40] The SRI also complained over a cartoon showing Argentinian revolutionary Che Guevara in a Palestinian keffiyeh.[41]

In 2006, Latuff placed second for his cartoon comparing the West Bank barrier with the Nazi concentration camps, in the Iranian 'International Holocaust Cartoon Competition'.[4][42] Latuff's entry was described as "Holocaust inversion," a "motif" of antisemitism, by Manfred Gerstenfeld.[43]

Joel Kotek, a professor at Belgium’s Free University of Brussels, in his book Cartoons and Extremism[44] calls Latuff “the contemporary Drumont of the internet.” Eddy Portnoy, in The Jewish Daily Forward, reviewing the book, writes that Latuff material is "often terribly obnoxious... but it is a stretch to categorize his cartoons as antisemitic, and it is a disservice to the fight against genuine antisemitism to have included [the Latuff cartoons]".[45]

Latuff's response[edit]

In an interview with the Jewish-American weekly newspaper The Forward in December 2008, Latuff responded to charges of antisemitism and the comparisons made between his cartoons and those published in Der Stürmer in Nazi Germany:

My cartoons have no focus on the Jews or on Judaism. My focus is Israel as a political entity, as a government, their armed forces being a satellite of U.S. interests in the Middle East, and especially Israeli policies toward the Palestinians. It happens to be Israeli Jews that are the oppressors of Palestinians... My detractors say that the use of the Magen David in my Israel-related cartoons is irrefutable proof of antisemitism; however, it’s not my fault if Israel chose sacred religious motifs as national symbols, such as the Knesset Menorah or the Star of David in killing-machines like F-16 jets.[5]

Latuff also stated that anti-Semitism is real, that anti-Semites like European neo-Nazis, "hijack" the Palestinian cause to bash Israel. To assert, however, that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic is, in his view, "a well-known tactic of intellectual dishonesty." He said that political cartoonists work by metaphors, and that similarities can be found between the IDF treatment of Palestinians and what Jews experienced under the Nazis. Such comparisons are not created by cartoonists, he added, but are made worldwide. He instanced the fact that a Holocaust survivor like Tommy Lapid reacted to the image of a Palestinian woman foraging in the rubble by thinking of his grandmother who died in Auschwitz. The use of cartoons insulting Muslims by depicting Muhammad as a bomber is defended as "freedom of speech", while using the Holocaust in drawings is deplored as "hatred against the Jews".[5]

Latuff was included in Simon Wiesenthal Center's 2012 Top Ten Anti-Israel/Anti-Semitic Slurs list,[46] which he considered "a joke worthy of a Woody Allen movie". He also claimed that Zionist lobbying groups try to associate him with well-known extremists and racists in order to disqualify his criticism of the Israeli government. According to him, "criticism or even attacks to the polity known as Israel do not mean hatred towards Jews because the Israeli government does not represent the Jewish people just as no government represents the totality of its people". He also pointed out that figures such as José Saramago, Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter were also accused of being antisemitic, saying that he was "in good company".[47]




  1. ^ a b "UAE General, Brazilian artist lives up to his promise". 2009-01-18. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
  2. ^ a b Adam Levick, September 2, 2010 (2010-09-02). "Anti-Semitic Cartoons on Progressive Blogs Adam Levick". Retrieved 2013-01-25.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ a b Aktion Kinder des Holocaust: Is this cartoon by Latuff, published at indymedia-switzerland, anti-Semitic? An analysis
  4. ^ a b "Ahmadinejad, Iran, and Holocaust Manipulation: Methods, Aims, and Reactions". Jerusalem Center For Public Affairs. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012.
  5. ^ a b c "Latuff: Cartoonist in Conversation -". Retrieved 2008-12-21.
  6. ^ Trigo, Luciano. "‘Imagens podem ser apropriadas por qualquer um’, diz Carlos Latuff." G1 (O Globo). 25 January 2013. Retrieved on June 18, 2014. "nascido no subúrbio carioca de São Cristóvão:" (Carioca means from Rio de Janeiro)
  7. ^ Shenker, Jack (22 Aug 2011). "Carlos Latuff: The voice of Tripoli – live from Rio". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  8. ^ a b Grudgings, Stuart (2011-08-29). "Rio cartoonist inspires Arab rebellions from afar". Retrieved 2013-01-25.
  9. ^ Carlos Latuff Cartoons, retrieved 2017-08-25
  10. ^ "Mad magazine, January 2009, Brazilian edition". Retrieved 2013-01-25.
  11. ^ "Charge q fiz sobre deportação d ciganos por Sarkozy no Le Mon... on Twitpic". Retrieved 2013-01-25.
  12. ^ Mafaz Al-Suwaidan Special to the star (2008-05-30). "The Toronto Star: More than just a chic checkered scarf". Retrieved 2013-01-25.
  13. ^ Interview for JAMI magazine
    My cartoons in Saudi Arabia magazine
    Article about my art in the Lebanese newspaper "Al Akhbar"
    Cartoon reproduced in Iraqi magazine
  14. ^ Latuff, Carlos (2016). "Sur: International Journal on Human Rights". Sur: International Journal on Human Rights: 127–129.
  15. ^ a b "Simple, Offensive and Out There". The Forward. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
  16. ^ Black, Ian (19 December 2008). "Cartoon symbols of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2009-07-07.
  17. ^ "Carlos Latuff: "We Are All Palestinian"". Archived from the original on 2013-05-20. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
  18. ^ "Ariel Sharon portrait by ~latuff". DeviantArt. 2003-06-08. Retrieved 2007-09-21.
  19. ^ "Ariel Sharon by ~latuff". DeviantArt. 2003-06-07. Retrieved 2007-09-21.
  20. ^ "The Godfather by ~latuff". DeviantArt. 2003-05-02. Retrieved 2007-09-21.
  21. ^ — Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin (1995-01-23). "The Cartoons of Carlos Latuff". Retrieved 2014-08-10.[permanent dead link]
  22. ^ "Friday the 13th Jason Sharon by ~latuff on DeviantArt". 2003-06-08. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
  23. ^ [1] Archived June 19, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ [2] Archived June 19, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-06-19. Retrieved 2007-01-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  26. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-26. Retrieved 2007-01-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  27. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-26. Retrieved 2007-01-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  28. ^ Najjar, Orayb (2014). "The American media and the Iraq war at its tenth anniversary: Lessons for the coverage of future wars". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  29. ^ Carlos Latuff. "TALES OF IRAQ WAR by LATUFF".
  30. ^ Carlos Latuff. "TALES OF IRAQ WAR by LATUFF".
  31. ^ Carlos Latuff. "TALES OF IRAQ WAR by LATUFF".
  32. ^ "Interview with Carlos Latuff". Retrieved 2013-01-25.
  33. ^[permanent dead link]
  34. ^ "Latuff's cartoon displayed in Tahrir Square". 2011-08-01. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
  35. ^ "Stop military tribunals". Archived from the original on 2012-04-05. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
  36. ^ "Belgian education ministry website publishes vicious cartoon". Times of Israel. September 18, 2013.
  37. ^ Alex Schärer: Linke und Antisemitismus: Der Indymedia-Streit – Aufpassen, was im Kübel landet, Die Wochenzeitung, April 4, 2002
  38. ^ Junge Welt: Ärger im Internet: Wegen antisemitischer Beiträge hat Indymedia Schweiz den Betrieb gestoppt, February 25, 2002
  39. ^ Hamadeh, Anis (August 2002). "Jewish peace activists and Israeli violence". Archived from the original on August 16, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-21.
  40. ^ "General Analysis: Overview". Annual Report. Stephen Roth Institute. 2003. Archived from the original on October 25, 2009. Retrieved January 10, 2010.
  41. ^ "Brazil 2003–2004". Country Reports. Stephen Roth Institute. 2003. Archived from the original on October 23, 2010. Retrieved June 7, 2010.
  42. ^ Winners of the Iranian Holocaust Cartoon Competition Archived 2007-03-13 at the Wayback Machine, IRANCARTOON International
  43. ^ Manfred Gerstenfeld: "Ahmadinejad, Iran, and Holocaust manipulation: methods, aims, and reactions", Scholars For Peace in the Middle East, February 1, 2007
  44. ^ Cartoons and Extremism: Israel and the Jews in Arab and Western Media By Joel Kotek Vallentine Mitchell, 201 pages
  45. ^ "Simple, Offensive and Out There Extreme Cartoons Distort Israel and the Jews By Eddy Portnoy". Retrieved 2013-01-25.
  46. ^ "2012 Top Ten Anti-Israel/Anti-Semitic Slurs" (PDF). Simon Wiesenthal Center. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-09-15. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
  47. ^ "Cartunista brasileiro está no ranking dos "dez mais antissemitas" do mundo" (in Portuguese). Opera Mundi. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
  48. ^ "Ahmadinejad, Iran, and Holocaust Manipulation: Methods, Aims, and Reactions". Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. February 1, 2007. Archived from the original on July 28, 2012. Retrieved September 16, 2012.

External links[edit]