Cartoons in Conflict – from Israel to Belfast

Over 70 people attended NIFI’s reception to welcome an international exhibition of cartoons on the Arab Israel dispute – including the Minister of Culture, Nelson McCausland MLA, MEP Diane Dodds and the Dean of Belfast Cathedral (and self-confessed cartoon buff), Houston McKelvey.

The exhibition was assembled by Parents’ Circle, a group which brings together over 500 Jewish and Arab families who have lost loved ones in the conflict. The Israel-based group gifted the cartoons to Community Dialogue, an organisation which is engaged in  reconciliation work in Northern Ireland.

NIFI President Gerald Steinberg presided and Katy Radford MBE of Jews Schmooze (the cultural arm of the Belfast Jewish community)  also spoke. Jim O’Neill of Community Dialogue explained the background to the exhibition which is being used in Northern Ireland to prompt questions and discussion regarding conflict at home.

The cartoons are by professional cartoonists from around the world and depict different viewpoints and perspectives. Dean McKelvey, who is due to retire this year, spoke warmly of his relationship with the Jewish community and his concern for the state of Israel. He used the phrase the “Narrow Ground” to describe Israel’s situation, and spoke of the human suffering, as well as the wry humour, displayed by the cartoons. Photos: Joe Cohen