HarperCollins omits Israel from ME map

The Iranian government has been fond of expressing the hope that they could "wipe Israel off the map." Publisher HarperCollins obliged them.

The publisher created maps for sale to English language schools in the Middle East that have ommitted the state of Israel - apparently, in order not to offend the delicate sensibilities of Arabs.

The Tablet:

The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has accused the publisher HarperCollins of harming peace efforts in the Middle East through its production of atlases that omit Israel from their maps. Collins Middle East Atlases, which are sold to English-speaking schools in the Muslim-majority Gulf, depict Jordan and Syria extending all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.

Collins Bartholomew, the subsidiary of HarperCollins that specialises in maps, told The Tablet that including Israel would have been “unacceptable” to their customers in the Gulf and the amendment incorporated “local preferences”.

Bishop Declan Lang, chairman of the Bishops’ Conference Department of International Affairs, told The Tablet: “The publication of this atlas will confirm Israel’s belief that there exists a hostility towards their country from parts of the Arab world. It will not help to build up a spirit of trust leading to peaceful co-existence.”

Note that the Bishops blame the publisher that "there exists a hostility" and not the Arab states for harboring that hostility. Remarkable pretzel logic. And why put the onus on Israel? Does the bishop think Israel is unaware of the hatred toward it in the Arab world? Sheesh.

The Tablet has also learned of customs officers in one Gulf nation allowing school atlases to reach their intended recipient only once Israel had been struck out by hand.

Dr Jane Clements, director of the Council of Christians and Jews, told The Tablet that maps that excluded Israel risked causing confusion and de-legitimising the nation in the eyes of the students who used the atlases.

She said: “Maps can be a very powerful tool in terms of de-legitimising ‘the other’ and can lead to confusion rather than clarity. We would be keen to see relevant bodies ensure that all atlases anywhere reflect the official UN position on nations, boundaries and all political features.”

The publisher had little choice - except to abandon a lucrative market or comply. I think there are some business decisions that may cost a company money, but allow it to hang on to its soul. This is one of those times.

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