Published On: Tue, Jan 6th, 2015

HarperCollins Recalls Israel-Free Map, But Resentment Runs Deep

HarperCollins Takes Israel Off the Map

HarperCollins tried to remove Israel from the map, and now the entire map will be removed. That is good news for those who expressed outrage against Collins Middle East Atlas, designed for Middle Eastern children, who were assumed to find the inclusion of Israel on a map so offensive, that Collins Bartholomew, a subsidiary of HarperCollins, told the Catholic magazine Tablet that the image of the entire Jewish state was eliminated to reflect “local preferences, ” since inclusion of the country would be “unacceptable” to Middle Eastern consumers, as reported by the Guardian.

The map depicts Jordan and Syria extending all the way to the Mediterranean. Gaza and the West Bank are labeled, but Israel is absent. Bishop Declan Lang defended the move, saying the outrage that would result from actually including Israel in a map of the Middle East would “confirm Israel’s belief that there exists a hostility towards their country from parts of the Arab world.” (you don’t say….)

Customers on Amazon ridiculed Harpercollins for trying to sell an inaccurate atlas to curry favor with those who don’t want any country they don’t like represented on it. One comment read, “Geography is about accuracy, not political views or opinions. A lot of Middle Eastern countries don’t like the U.S.A. Why not leave it out of the map? The map is complete trash.”

It is hard to know which outrage was greater–the fallout from erasing Israel from its Atlas or the furor that would have engulfed the Middle East by including Israel on the map, but now HarperCollins is back tracking, pulping all of the existing atlases and will only produce the accurate versions in future.

Even as HarperCollins has tried to make amends, the symbolism of HaperCollins’ move still is leaves many outraged. Alex Brummer, HarperCollins author and vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. He wrote, “HarperCollins achieved what the former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatened at the stroke of a pen: wiped Israel off the map.”

“One would also like to see the diplomatic and foreign policy community fully engaged in combating antisemitic tropes and denials of the horrors of the Holocaust that still form part of the curriculum and textbooks in many parts of the world, ” said Brummer.

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