Adoration of the Palestinians: Guardian cartoon shows Boris Johnson tackling baby Jesus

Either way, Bell's cartoon certainly seems to be echoing frequent Palestinian efforts to present themselves as the direct descendents of Jesus and Mary. Unlike the 'adoration' for baby Jesus by the kings, Johnson crudely tramples on the sanctity of the virgin birth.

We recently commented on the Guardian’s coverage of the row over London Mayor Boris Johnson’s trade mission to Israel and the Palestinian territories – particularly the manner in which their Jerusalem correspondent covered for the Palestinians’ extreme reaction to anti-BDS comments by Johnson. Palestinians expressed their outrage over Johnson’s denunciation of the boycott movement by disinviting him from two scheduled meetings with NGOs, and creating a climate whereby it was determined that his personal safety couldn’t be guaranteed.

The Guardian’s Peter Beaumont framed the dis-invitation and threats of violence against Johnson – in a Nov. 11 report – not as an offense against the principles of free speech, but as a faux pas by mayor known for his “flippancy” and “hyperbolic enthusiasm for Israel”.

However, Beaumont was not the only Guardian contributor who managed to obfuscate Palestinian intolerance.

Their political cartoonist, Steve Bell, published this the following day:


To further understand Bell’s cartoon depiction of a diving Johnson, you need to recall the widely covered photos and videos of the mayor tackling a Japanese boy during an exhibition Rugby match in Tokyo last month.

It’s also necessary to understand that the cartoon was inspired by this 1564 painting by Peter Brueger the Elder ‘The Adoration of the Kings’, in which the Virgin Mary is seen cradling the infant Jesus.


Here’s a side by side comparison:


commentary on ‘Adoration of the Kings’ suggests that the presence of soldiers in the painting “may reflect the Spanish occupation of the Netherlands at this time”.  

Was Bell alluding to the Israeli occupation?

Either way, Bell’s cartoon certainly seems to be echoing frequent Palestinian efforts to present themselves as the direct descendants of Jesus and Mary. Unlike the ‘adoration’ for baby Jesus by the kings, Johnson is seen crudely trampling on the sanctity of the virgin birth.

Moreover, Bell’s cartoon can arguably be seen as a promotion of Palestinian Liberation Theology.

Tricia Miller, PhD., a CAMERA senior analyst who monitors Christian organizations and media in relation to the Arab-Israeli conflict, provides background on this theology:

Traditional replacement theology says that God no longer has any purpose for Israel or the Jews and that God’s work on earth is now being done through Christians and the Church. This teaching promotes contempt for Jews, and has provided justification for two millennia of anti-Semitic violence.

Palestinian replacement theology rewrites history by claiming that Jesus and the first Christians were all Palestinians, and that the Palestinians – not the Jews – are the indigenous people in the land. This assertion means that the Palestinian people are the rightful owners of the land, which serves their political agenda very nicely by delegitimizing the existence of the Jewish State.

“Palestinian liberation theology”, Miller adds, “depicts Palestinians as victims who need to be liberated from Israeli occupation”.

Bell – who was criticized in the past by the Guardian readers’ editor for evoking antisemitic tropes – again demonstrates the toxic narratives that are perpetuated by the British far-left’s insistence on infantilizing Palestinians.

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