Silver Sprocket has publicly committed to PACBI. Last month Fantagraphics released a statement supporting ceasefire. Drawn and Quarterly signed a statement of solidarity with Publishers for Palestine, one of several recent acts of advocacy for the Palestinian people. A wide variety of artists are showing their support, with meaningful efforts from organizers in the comics community in response to the ethnic cleansing in Palestine that escalated in force last October.

As previously reported on the Beat, the Cartoonist Cooperative has been engaged in a drive trading art for eSims. It began in November and is still ongoing, as the need for eSims in Gaza has only increased as Palestinian infrastructure has been destroyed. It is through eSims that Palestine is able to resist the tech blockade, erecting pirate networks to connect with each other and the outside world. Artists who belong to the cooperative have a menu of work up, available for trade in exchange for eSim codes that can in turn be given to Palestinians trying to resist the ethnic cleansing.

Cartoonist Coop Palestine eSims drive

November also saw a donation to Doctors without Borders and a statement from Drawn and Quarterly calling on readers to contact their representatives and demand an immediate ceasefire, and to supply humanitarian assistance to Gaza in response to the attacks. D&Q signed a statement of solidarity with Publishers for Palestine, calling for an end to the genocide, an end to the silencing of Palestinians, and an end to cultural complicity that turns away when institutions repress Palestinian voices. They also signed a letter supporting D&Q cartoonist Elise Gravel, printed earlier this month in La Presse after a library removed Gravel’s books because of her outspoken support of Palestine.

Overseas, artists have used the cultural capital comics have to bolster the power of resistance art. Professional illustrators and cartoonists in Italy put on an organized art protest in support of Palestine. drawing their characters in the style of Handala, a powerful and historically important Palestinian political cartoon created by Naji al-Ali. This inspired a similar action in Japan with a broad response from artists in the underground and self-publishing scenes to the rising stars of the mainstream.

Fantagraphics issued a statement in January condemning the genocide and standing with Palestine, becoming “one of the highest profile US publishers to publicly call for an end to Israel’s war on Gaza,” according to LitHub. Publishers Gary Groth and Eric Reynolds put in ink what many of us are feeling: “We want to state clearly and emphatically that we stand with the innocent people of Gaza… as citizens of the United States, it is both emotionally agonizing and morally objectionable to watch our nation’s complicity in the ongoing genocide.” Fantagraphics goes on to call for a ceasefire, the end of the Israeli apartheid regime and ethnic cleansing, and that the investigation of war crimes is pursued. Cartoonist-journalist Joe Sacco, whose graphic novel Palestine is of deep cultural significance to the medium of comics, also began a weekly op-ed cartoon column for The Comics Journal, The War on Gaza.

Now another West Coast indie comics publisher, Silver Sprocket, has made a public statement in support of Palestine. The ACABest publishing house in the Direct Market committed to PACBI. The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel is part of BDS, the Palestinian Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions movement. PACBI’s cultural boycott denies the recognition of Israeli cultural institutions, puts embargoes on products events and reports commissioned by the state, and refuses to acknowledge normalization projects based on false symmetry between the oppressor and oppressed. A boycott not based on artistic merit, but determined by complicity in genocide.

From the BDS PACBI statement: “In response to the burgeoning demand for specific BDS guidelines for applying the international cultural boycott of Israel to diverse projects, from film and literary festivals to art exhibits to musical and dance performances to conferences, PACBI lays out… unambiguous, consistent and coherent criteria and guidelines that specifically address the nuances and particularities in the field of culture. These guidelines are mainly intended to assist international conscientious artists, writers and cultural workers, as well as cultural organizations and associations to be in harmony with the Palestinian call for boycott, as a contribution towards upholding international law and furthering the struggle for freedom, justice and equality.”

Ahmad Qaddura
“Cartooning against the occupation” by Ahmad Qaddura
“A farewell to the last crocodile of Palestine” by Saif

Outside of these three publishers, the Direct Market remains silent. Same with the rest of the other publishing markets, as LitHub observed. To be fair, the Cartoonist Cooperative proves that, just because you haven’t put out a statement doesn’t mean you’ve been sitting on your hands. Though there have only been a few cartoonists who stand with Handala, there is no shortage of empathetic creators out there making art for Palestine, contributing work to benefit Palestinians. Andy Oliver and Broken Frontier are trying to organize a survey of resistance art- like the header image by Dewi Putri Megwati, or the art posted by Palestinian creators Ahmad Qaddura and Saif above- and mutual aid benefits, collated from across the various social media platforms. Many professional creators in comics have joined community movements outside the industry, like KidLit4Ceasefire or Writers Against the War on Gaza. Right now, Palestine needs as much help as it can get. It’s great to see so many stepping up and pitching in.

Some day there will be time to get into the finer points of comic books standing with Palestine while the majority of other cultural and artistic institutions only stand by.

Today, though, the question is: what are you doing?

The answer to that shouldn’t be coming from me. As a Romani, you bet I’m on point to advocate for any group whose citizenship in the land of their birth is mitigated (in the eyes of the state) by their ethnicity, in whatever way I can. But we need to be listening to Palestinian voices.

This article has been edited to add additional publishers who have made public statements advocating for Palestine.


  1. If you “really” want to support the innocent people who live in Gaza, then support Israel’s war to remove the people who PUT those innocent people in harm’s way, which would be Hamas. You want an end to hostilities? Simple. Tell Hamas to 1) release their hostages, and 2) lay down their arms and surrender for war crimes trial for kidnapping and murder of civilians, 3) stop teaching their children to kill people, with the Palestinian school education and children’s television that uses cartoon characters to teach Palestinian children to kill innocent people merely based on their religion. Israel will stop fighting, Gaza citizens will stop dying, and perhaps a peace can be created between the two people. Anything short of that merely enables the Hamas psychopaths to continue their war of aggression against innocent civilians.

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