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French cartoonist rails at ‘stupid’ NYT ban

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Acclaimed French cartoonist Jean Plantu called on the New York Times Tuesday not to ban political cartoons from its pages after a furore involving a caricature of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The artist who founded the Cartooning for Peace charity, told AFP the newspaper was wrong to bow to pressure and remove a drawing by Portuguese illustrator Antonio Moreira Antunes from its site.

“Humour and unsettling images are part of our democracy,” Plantu said.

Not having biting cartoons was “as stupid as asking children not to do drawings for Mothers’ Day,” he added.

The cartoon of Netanyahu published in April in the Times’ international edition was deemed anti-Semitic by some.

Israel’s ambassador to the UN likened it to the content of Nazi propaganda tabloid Der Sturmer.

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It depicted Netanyahu as a guide dog wearing a Star of David collar and leading a blind Donald Trump wearing a kippah Jewish skullcap.

Opinion page editor James Bennet said the paper had planned for a year to stop running political cartoons — which already no longer appear in the US edition.

From next month it will no longer run political cartoons, Bennet said Monday.

– Threat to freedom of opinion –

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Plantu, chief cartoonist of France’s Le Monde daily, said he was “worried about the future of our democracies and freedom of opinion” adding “one cannot imagine a newspaper without political caricatures.”

The artist, who set up Cartooning for Peace with the late UN chief Kofi Annan, is campaigning to have the UN’s cultural organisation Unesco declare political cartooning a fundamental human right.

Reporters Without Borders have thrown their weight behind the drive.

Patrick Chappatte, one of the Times’ leading cartoonists, said the newspaper’s decision was directly related to the Netanyahu cartoon.

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He condemned the publication of that caricature but said he was concerned that media outlets were increasingly buckling under political pressure and criticism from “moralistic mobs” on social media.

“Over the last years, some of the very best cartoonists… lost their positions because their publishers found their work too critical of Trump. Maybe we should start worrying,” Chappatte wrote on his website.

Plantu said that he supported both “Antonio who has been censored by the New York Times… and Chappatte, who is an immense talent.”

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Here are 5 questions Robert Mueller must answer during his Congressional hearings

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Former special counsel Robert Mueller will be testifying publicly before Congress on July 17th, the chairs of the House Judiciary and House Intelligence committees announced on Tuesday.

The special counsel had fought against testifying but was subpoenaed to compel his attendance.

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‘Finally #MuellerTime’: Internet celebrates Mueller’s upcoming public testimony on Russia investigation

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On Tuesday, the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees announced that special counsel Robert Mueller will publicly testify about the Russia investigation's findings before Congress.

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This will really matter, even if Mueller merely repeats what he said in his report. The vast majority of Americans have never read it. https://t.co/ZuRHqbRAEv

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Robert Mueller subpoena isn’t a ‘friendly’ one: Intelligence Committee Chair tells Maddow

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Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) joined with Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) in subpoenaing former special counsel Robert Mueller. But according to Schiff, this wasn't exactly an agreement the committees came to with Mueller or the special counsel's investigators.

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