Steve Bell's cartoon published on The Guardian (The Guardian)

Last week the Guardian caused a minor stir after it published a cartoon by Steve Bell that was condemned by some as being anti-Semitic. As if determined to court such accusations, the Guardian has now published an article by a representative of Hamas on its online Comment is Free page.

In the cartoon last week Mr Bell depicted Tony Blair and William Hague as puppets of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Critics were quick to point out that this was not the first time that a Jew (if not The Jew) had been portrayed as a puppet master, indeed it was something of a meme in Germany a number of decades ago and still is across the Middle East.

Despite these very understandable concerns it is quite conceivable that the cartoon was an attack on the Israeli government as opposed to on the Jewish people or religion. The Jewish puppet master is quite clearly Mr Netanyahu rather than the bearded, black-clad Orthodox Jew with a sinister twist so beloved of anti-Semitic "literature".

To my mind it did not remind me so much of Dr Goebbels and friends but of the Tony Blair as a poodle cartoons that became so popular from 2003 onwards.

Having said that given the historical baggage that we are still carrying one can quite see why others made another more worrying connection, something Mr Bell himself picked up on, when he defended his work saying, "I can't be held responsible for whatever cultural precepts and misapprehensions people choose to bring to my cartoon. My intention, I think, is fairly clear."

Mr Bell thus appears to have a clear conscience on the matter and so presumably does the Guardian as a whole. Yet given the seriousness of the allegation one might assume that the Guardian would not want to give those who make accusations of anti-Semitism any more ammunition than they have to.

And yet we find that less than a week after the Steve Bell controversy the Guardian's website is posting an article by Musa Abumarzuq, the deputy head of Hamas' political bureau.

Steve Bell's cartoon may have been innocent of the charges laid against it, but there can be little doubt that the views on Jews held by Hamas are not those that a paper which usually stands against racism would want to be associated with.

Mr Abumarzuq does of course attempt to put a rather nice gloss over his sinister organisation, much as Chou Enlai managed to give a charming and urbane face to the murderous and inhuman rule of Mao Tse Tung, although it must be said that Chou was in a league of his own in that regard.

Yet that does not change the fact that he is the representative of a terrorist organisation that chooses violence over protest, conspiracy theory over fact and repression over freedom.

Quite why the Guardian felt the need to give an organisation known for it's anti-Semitism a platform at all is a mystery, but to have done so just days after being accused of reviving old anti-Semitic stereotypes suggests an organisation that is deaf to genuine concerns about anti-Semitism, particularly on Comment is Free.