Carlos Latuff

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Carlos Latuff
Carlos Latuff in 2012
Born Carlos Latuff
(1968-11-30) November 30, 1968 (age 50)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Nationality Brazilian
Known for Political cartoons, Social commentary
Movement Anti-globalization, anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism, anti-racism, anti-fascism, anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism, Marxism, socialism, feminism, indigenous rights

Carlos Latuff (born November 30, 1968) is a Brazilian freelance political cartoonist.[1] His works deal with an array of themes, including anti-Zionism, anti-globalization, anti-capitalism, and anti-U.S. military intervention. He is best known for his images depicting the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and, more recently, 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.[2][3][4] Latuff has dismissed the charges of antisemitism as "a strategy for discrediting criticism of Israel.",[5] while book reviewer Eddie Portnoy in The Forward has stated that while his message is "furiously critical" of Israel, it is not anti-Semitic.

Early life

Latuff was born in São Cristóvão (Rio de Janeiro), Brazil,[6] and is of Lebanese ancestry; in his own words he said 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]

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

Latuff's works have been posted mostly by himself on Indymedia websites and private blogs. However, some of them have been picked up and featured in magazines such as the Brazilian edition of Mad,[9] Le Monde Diplomatique[10] and the The Toronto Star.[11] 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.[12]


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. This cartoon has been mentioned in a Domino Theory article about old Communist-Capitalist wars including Vietnam, Korea and so on.

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."[13] These cartoons are heavily critical of Israel[13] and have drawn criticism and allegations of uninhibited utilization of "judeophobic stereotypes in the service of the anti-globalisation movement."[14]

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."[15]

Latuff has also made a series of cartoons that portray Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon,[16][17][18] 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.[19][20][21][22][23][24][25]

Latuff is also critical of US military action in Iraq and Afghanistan. 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",[26][27][28] an Iraqi insurgency character claimed to have shot down several dozen US soldiers, as a "superhero".[29] He has also made a caricature of US President George W. Bush laughing over US casualties.[30]

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][31][32]

Alleged antisemitism

File:Holocaust Remembrance Day.jpg
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[33][relevant? ]
File:Ship to Gaza by Latuff.gif
Ship to Gaza by Latuff
Carlos Latuff portrays the cry "Anti-Semitism".

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][34][35] The criminal proceedings were suspended by Swiss court.[36][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."[37] The SRI also complained over a cartoon showing Argentinian revolutionary Che Guevara in a Palestinian keffiyeh.[38]

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][39] Latuff's entry was described as "Holocaust inversion," a "motif" of antisemitism, by Manfred Gerstenfeld.[40]

Joel Kotek, a professor at Belgium’s Free University of Brussels, in his book Cartoons and Extremism[41] 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]".[42]

Latuff's response

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,[43] 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".[44]




  1. 1.0 1.1 "UAE General, Brazilian artist lives up to his promise". 2009-01-18. Retrieved 2013-01-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Adam Levick, September 2, 2010 (2010-09-02). "Anti-Semitic Cartoons on Progressive Blogs Adam Levick". Retrieved 2013-01-25. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Aktion Kinder des Holocaust: Is this cartoon by Latuff, published at indymedia-switzerland, anti-Semitic? An analysis
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Ahmadinejad, Iran, and Holocaust Manipulation: Methods, Aims, and Reactions". Jerusalem Center For Public Affairs. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Latuff: Cartoonist in Conversation -". Retrieved 2008-12-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 Grudgings, Stuart (2011-08-29). "Rio cartoonist inspires Arab rebellions from afar". Retrieved 2013-01-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Mad magazine, January 2009, Brazilian edition". Retrieved 2013-01-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Charge q fiz sobre deportação d ciganos por Sarkozy no Le Mon... on Twitpic". Retrieved 2013-01-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Mafaz Al-Suwaidan Special to the star (2008-05-30). "The Toronto Star: More than just a chic checkered scarf". Retrieved 2013-01-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. 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
  13. 13.0 13.1 "The Jewish Daily Forward: Simple, Offensive and Out There". Retrieved 2013-01-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Black, Ian (19 December 2008). "Cartoon symbols of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-07-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Carlos Latuff: "We Are All Palestinian"". Retrieved 2013-01-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Ariel Sharon portrait by ~latuff". DeviantArt. 2003-06-08. Retrieved 2007-09-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Ariel Sharon by ~latuff". DeviantArt. 2003-06-07. Retrieved 2007-09-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "The Godfather by ~latuff". DeviantArt. 2003-05-02. Retrieved 2007-09-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. — Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin (1995-01-23). "The Cartoons of Carlos Latuff". Retrieved 2014-08-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Friday the 13th Jason Sharon by ~latuff on DeviantArt". 2003-06-08. Retrieved 2013-01-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. [1] Archived June 19, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  22. [2] Archived June 19, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  26. Carlos Latuff. "TALES OF IRAQ WAR by LATUFF".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. Carlos Latuff. "TALES OF IRAQ WAR by LATUFF".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. Carlos Latuff. "TALES OF IRAQ WAR by LATUFF".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. "Interview with Carlos Latuff". Retrieved 2013-01-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  31. "Latuff's cartoon displayed in Tahrir Square". 2011-08-01. Retrieved 2013-01-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  32. "Stop military tribunals". Retrieved 2013-01-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  33. "Belgian education ministry website publishes vicious cartoon". Times of Israel. September 18, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  34. Alex Schärer: Linke und Antisemitismus: Der Indymedia-Streit - Aufpassen, was im Kübel landet, Die Wochenzeitung, April 4, 2002
  35. Junge Welt: Ärger im Internet: Wegen antisemitischer Beiträge hat Indymedia Schweiz den Betrieb gestoppt, February 25, 2002
  36. Hamadeh, Anis (August 2002). "Jewish peace activists and Israeli violence". Archived from the original on August 16, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  37. "General Analysis: Overview". Annual Report. Stephen Roth Institute. 2003. Retrieved January 10, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  38. "Brazil 2003-2004". Country Reports. Stephen Roth Institute. 2003. Retrieved June 7, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  39. Winners of the Iranian Holocaust Cartoon Competition, IRANCARTOON International
  40. Manfred Gerstenfeld: "Ahmadinejad, Iran, and Holocaust manipulation: methods, aims, and reactions", Scholars For Peace in the Middle East, February 1, 2007
  41. Cartoons and Extremism: Israel and the Jews in Arab and Western Media By Joel Kotek Vallentine Mitchell, 201 pages
  42. "Simple, Offensive and Out There Extreme Cartoons Distort Israel and the Jews By Eddy Portnoy". Retrieved 2013-01-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  43. "2012 Top Ten Anti-Israel/Anti-Semitic Slurs" (PDF). Simon Wiesenthal Center. Retrieved 2012-12-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  44. "Cartunista brasileiro está no ranking dos "dez mais antissemitas" do mundo" (in Portuguese). Opera Mundi. Retrieved 2012-12-28. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  45. "Ahmadinejad, Iran, and Holocaust Manipulation: Methods, Aims, and Reactions". Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. February 1, 2007. Archived from the original on September 16, 2012. Retrieved September 16, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links