In Defense of Avi Katz, I Resign from the Jerusalem Report

Haim Watzman

The editor of The Jerusalem Report, Steve Linde, has dismissed the magazine’s long-time illustrator, Avi Katz. Readers of South Jerusalem are well-acquainted with Avi’s illustrations for my Necessary Stories, but Avi also produced an editorial cartoon for each issue of the magazine. As editorial cartoons are supposed to do, they angered some readers. Those readers were especially infuriated by his latest work, one of his best in my opinion.

My letter of resignation from the magazine follows:

25 July 2018

Steve Linde
Editor, The Jerusalem Report

Dear Steve,

In the wake of your dismissal of Avi Katz, I hereby inform you that I will no longer write for The Jerusalem Report.

I cannot be associated with a publication that dumps a staff member simply because his work has upset some readers. Journalism, when done well, always angers some readers, and it is the duty of the newspaper or magazine’s editors and managers to stand by writers and other members of the staff when readers complain about the analysis and opinions expressed by its staff. This is all the more true in the case of editorial cartoonists, whose very job is satire—and a good satirist never pauses to worry about angering the citizenry.

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In more than a decade writing regularly for The Jerusalem Report, I have no doubt angered and offended some readers. To your credit, and the credit of your predecessors as editors, there has not been a single case in which a story of mine has been vetoed because of the opinions it expresses or the way it portrays Israeli society. I expect Avi Katz, a talented illustrator with a long history of association with the magazine, to be treated in the same way.

I can only be grateful to The Jerusalem Report for having provided me with a privilege that few, if any, writers today enjoy—pages on which to publish short fiction, for remuneration, and without interference. It has been a great run, and I am sorry that it has come to an end.

Sincerely,

Haim Watzman

2 thoughts on “In Defense of Avi Katz, I Resign from the Jerusalem Report

  1. Thank you, Haim, for your bold and admirable move. My wife, Joy, and I were returning to the U.S. from a visit in Israel when we heard of the passage of the new nation law on July 19. Like many others in the US, we think this law is a move backwards, a slap in the face of Israel’s minorities of Druze, Arab and Bedouins. I believe this law must be stricken off the books. David Ben Gurion’s Declaration of Independence on May 15, 1948 promised equal rights to all Israeli citizens, regardless of their religion and heritage.

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