Contract not renewed Bell told the BBC that the interpretation by the Guardian "made no sense to me, as there is no reference to that play in my cartoon 

"The image itself was inspired by the late, great David Levine's cartoon of President Lyndon Johnson (LBJ) showing off his operation scar, which Levine draws in the shape of a map of Vietnam." 

"The decision has been made not to renew Steve Bell's contract. Steve Bell's cartoons have been an important part of the Guardian over the past 40 years - we thank him and wish him all the best." 

The issue has arisen during a time of heightened tension following the Hamas attacks on Israel earlier this month and the subsequent retaliatory strikes on Gaza. 

It is not the first time Bell has been accused of using antisemitic imagery. 

A 2020 drawing featuring Sir Keir Starmer holding Jeremy Corbyn's head on a plate was interpreted by some as a reference to the head of John the Baptist, which was presented to Salome, the daughter of the Jewish King Herod. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel and ex-Prime Minister Boris Johnson as bulls with rings through their noses - was "incredibly offensive". 

Mr Javid said it was "reminiscent of antisemitic cartoons from the last century," adding the Guardian "should know better". 

The Guardian also apologised earlier this year after a cartoon depicting BBC chairman Richard Sharp was criticised as antisemitic. 

Martin Rowson, the artist who drew it, also apologised. 

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