The US atlas without Israel, the latest anti-Semitic censorship

If you do not exist, you cannot make peace. If you do not exist, neither those oranges do, nor all those fruits sprouted up in a desert that had never produced a single bud, those medicines to cure the worst diseases, all those inventions allowing the evolution of mobile phones and computers, those basketball teams, those Nobel prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Literature, those young people who go out dancing till the small hours in Tel Aviv, those pilgrims coming from all over the world who place notes between the stones of the Wailing Wall saying “Dear God”, all those exhausted soldier girls with their scruffy braid, and all those Holocaust survivors who have finally found their home and hope, the new immigrants from France who are leaving the new anti-Semitism behind their backs…

If you do not exist, as the new Atlas “specifically designed for schools in Middle East countries” by HarperCollins shows on its maps, all this becomes dust, destruction, a bad sci-fi movie. Last year, in May, the enormous publisher company allowed its subsidiary, Collins Bartholomew, to produce an abject, opportunistic “Primary Geography Atlas for the Middle East”, from which Israel, hocus-pocus, has disappeared, just as Ahmadinejad wanted when he said: “We will wipe Israel off the map”.

HarperCollins did it: while Gaza, the West Bank, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon appear on that map, they eat up and digest the State of Israel. So, a publisher company as HarperCollins is de facto suggesting to accept the prevalent version among the Palestinians, according to which Israel is a fictitious state created by the imperialist and colonialist fantasy and bound to be erased shortly.

And the same goes with Fatah: the idea that the Jews set foot in Jerusalem not to come back home, but to abuse the Arab world. It is a shame that HarperCollins, which headquarters are based in New York, is one of the largest English-language publishers in the world, distributes books in 150 countries, has 400 bestsellers to its credit for 2014, and its website has 20 million visitors.

It is a shame, because when a company is so huge and self-confident, it should not fear the truth, and it should not find itself in the need to apologize while announcing in London that it has removed the book from sale (but until Thursday it was still available on Amazon), explaining that it acted according to “local preferences”.

That is to say, it acted according to widespread genocidal preferences. It is a fact that, in the Arab world, maps with Palestine in the place of Israel have been produced, taught in schools and exposed in government offices for years. The Palestinians are first in line to put that in paintings, posters, and school textbooks everywhere, while presenting Israel disguised as Palestine to visiting Heads of State, endlessly showing it on Tv, in State and UNRWA schools.

In Saudi Arabia, two Arab-Israeli contestants in a singing competition in October were presented (as all the other participants) with a map of their country of origin, Israel, in the background. A political uproar followed, leading to a prompt cancellation of the show. But also the CNN showed maps omitting Israel thousands of times.

Connect, the magazine of the well-known London School of Economics, did the same. During his Arabic class, a San Diego University professor distributed a map of the Middle East without Israel, just as Arafat would have wanted it. In addition, a Norwegian NGO recently funded an exhibit of maps, painted by children in Lebanon, from which Israel has been erased. Perhaps HarperCollins thought that it was going to cost it nothing to eliminate from its prestigious map a country that is now fashionable to consider an “entity” to be destroyed, maybe while using Google, an Israeli invention.


This article originally appeared in slightly different form in Italian in Il Giornale (January 8, 2015)


About the Author
Fiamma Nirenstein is a journalist, author, former Deputy President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and member of the Italian delegation at the Council of Europe.
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