A Serious Case of Diasporitis



Diasporitis, by Marf

Cartoonists earn a reputation, perhaps unfairly, for being provocative, when in fact they are only trying to be honest and frank. The difficult subjects – Israel, the Diaspora – are rich veins for humour, precisely because they set off so many alarm-bells. With this cartoon I’ve tried to go for that ineffable feeling that lies beneath the political debate: a pit-of-the-stomach feeling, a sense of unease, a homesickness for Home with a capital “H” – call it Israel – which ought to be safe and just isn’t. This is why my Jewish Everyman winds up in the doctor’s office – because it’s a chronic complaint – like love – which affects him to his core, and not something external with easily drawn borders.

It is these ineffable feelings that, I believe, cartoonists and comedians try to capture.

I recently visited a group of Kindertransport ‘elders’ on behalf of the Association of Jewish Refugees, hardly a group of people short on opinion – and yet each and every one of them threw up their hands when I asked them, just before the UK General Election, which party they would vote for. So I drew a cartoon for each of them, expressing how they felt – and they wound up laughing about what had left them speechless.

Original, signed prints of ‘Diasporitis’ are available for £100, with 50% of all sales donated by Marf to Jewish Quarterly. Email editor@jewishquarterly.org for more information or to place an order.

Marf is JQ’s very own cartoonist! Formerly the Evening Standard’s political cartoonist for many years, Marf’s cartoons are exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the Charles Saatchi Collection.

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