newsJewish Diaspora

Vancouver comics festival bans Jewish artist over IDF service

Miriam Libicki is a graphic novelist and artist based in Vancouver.

Miriam Libicki. Credit: @MLibicki/Instagram.
Miriam Libicki. Credit: @MLibicki/Instagram.

The Vancouver Comics Arts Festival (VanCAF) has permanently banned Jewish comics artist Miriam Libicki from appearing at the event due to her service in the Israel Defense Forces.

The Canadian Jewish News reported on May 29 that the festival’s directors said they were banning Libicki due to her “prior role in the Israeli military and their [sic] subsequent collection of works which recounts their personal position in said military and the illegal occupation of Palestine.”

Libicki is based in Vancouver. 

According to her website, “Her primary themes are culture clash and the construction of identity, usually through the prism of her Jewishness and dual American-Israeli citizenship.”

Her self-published, autobiographical comic series “Jobnik!” explores her Israeli military service during the Second Intifada and has run from 2005 to the present.

Libicki has won several awards. She was chosen by the Vancouver Public Library as their writer in residence in 2017.

VanCAF describes itself as “a two-day celebration of comics and graphic novels and their creators.” It’s been held since 2012.

Festival organizers issued a formal apology early Monday, although it was unclear from the three-page statement posted to X whether the ban was explicitly retracted.

“VanCAF wishes to express deep and sincere apologies for the impact our previous statement has caused. First and foremost, to the individual directly affected by our first post,” the statement began.

“The decision was ultimately wrong headed and moved too quickly and without adequate consultation. We also wish to apologise to the wider impacted community. VanCAF has lost and continues to lose the trust of many we have sought to serve.”

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