AMMAN: A Jordanian cartoonist has turned down an international award for political cartoons because the prize was funded by a pro-Israel cartoonist.
Naser Al Jafari won the $3,000 third prize in the 2012 United Nations / Ranan Lurie International Political Cartoon Award.
Jafari, who works as a cartoonist at Al Ghad daily, said he applied for the award in October last year, and received some papers and a cheque by mail in early January informing him that he won third place.
“The cheque I received was signed by Lurie himself. Then I did some research and discovered that he has connections with the zionist entity (Israel),” Jafari was quoted as saying by the Jordan Times.
“I refused to accept the award because it is funded by Lurie who has a history of dealing with the zionist movement” adding that “Lurie has never condemned any of Israel’s practices against the Palestinians.”
“Although this is a UN award that is judged by international experts, when I realised it is funded by someone who is pro-Israel, I decided to refuse it,” Jafari said.
Organisers of the award say they established this award “to promote the highest standard of excellence in political cartoons depicting the spirit of the United Nations. We have named this award after Mr Lurie, as we find that his political cartoons epitomise the high standards that we at the United Nations would like to see,” an official statement added.
Lurie has been nominated by Cyprus for the Nobel Peace Prize, and has appeared in the Guinness Book of World Records for 20 consecutive years as “the most widely syndicated political cartoonist in the world,” according to the website.
Jafari, a recipient of several local and Arab awards, said he sent back the documents he received along with the cheque and two statements in Arabic and English explaining why he rejected the award to the organisers a few days ago.
The cartoonist said the Jordan Engineers Association honoured him recently for rejecting the prize and launched an annual award named after him to support excelling media professionals who fight for and support Palestinian cause.