HarperCollins has admitted it sells school atlases in the Middle East that omit Israel. A HarperCollins subsidiary spokesperson said naming Israel would be “unacceptable” in the Gulf and the change accommodated “local preferences”.
It no surprise that the Arab and Muslim states of the greater Middle East prefer to erase Israel. Since 1947, Israel’s neighbors and their supporters in the Gulf have invaded Israel four times. Since those conventional military efforts failed, the intermittent terror war against Jews that began in the 1910s has become the focal point. Petrodollars have fueled the terror, as first Iran and now Qatar are primary Hamas financiers, Iran still controls Hezbollah, Saudi wealth supports extremist mosques, madrassas and organizations that indoctrinate members with virulent, violent anti-Westernism, Yemen remains an al-Qaeda hotbed, and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq paid cash prizes to families of Palestinian suicide bombers until his overthrow.
Erasing Israel from school maps may seem a trivial slight or self-indulgence when seen alongside perpetrators of horrific violence, but that misses the point. In 1967, the Arab League met in Khartoum, Sudan and adopted the “three no’s” – no negotiation with Israel, no normalization of Israel and no recognition of Israel. Underlying this rejectionist doctrine was the realization that acknowledging Israel’s very existence might lead some to believe resolving the conflict short of Israel’s annihilation was possible. The Arab League rejected any peace with Israel under any circumstances, so any feeling that peace was possible ever, under any conditions could only hamper their efforts. Israel could not be acknowledged in the least sense.
Indoctrination, incitement and rejectionism remain significant obstacles today. Throughout the Muslim and Arab world, terrorists who perpetrated attacks on Israel are lauded as heroes, with streets, parks and schools named after them and the anniversaries of their attacks celebrated. Mein Kampf is popular. Despite 36 years of peace since the Camp David accords, Egypt’s state media still pedals anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, including a gala 2002 television adaptation of the fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Not surprisingly, polling consistently finds the Egyptian population among the most anti-Semitic in the world, perhaps exceeding even the Palestinian Territories. Among the many failings of textbooks used in UNRWA and other Palestinian schools, a perennial source of dispute, they, like HarperCollins’s maps, fail to acknowledge Israel’s very existence.
As a business, HarperCollins is of course free to acquiesce in its clients deceiving their children. However, its officers should understand that they are perpetuating a mindset and conflict that has already continued at least sixty-six years, and as long as a hundred, depending what starting point you choose. Prospective HarperCollins clients and partners are likewise free to take their business elsewhere in light of its loose relationship with facts and complicity with extremists.