Frankfurt, 17 October, 2012
For the tenth year, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre was the only organization to monitor incitement to hate and violence on the display stands of the Frankfurt Book Fair. With 7,384 exhibits from 100 countries and some 300,000 visitors, this is the largest annual international gathering of the publishing industry.
In a meeting with the Fair's President, Juergen Boos, (pictured left) the Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, praised intervention - based on our reports - against heavily antisemitic literature on Turkish stands two years ago and against last year's 'Worst Offender', Malaysia.
"In 2011, Turkey's Publishers' Association informed that subsequent to our Centre's protest, Frankfurt authorities had warned exhibitors that display of hate literature illegal in Germany could breach their contracts with the Fair", noted Samuels, adding his satisfaction that "this year, Turkish and Malaysian stands were hate-free, though Iran had now become the 'Worst Offender'".
Outside the hall, protesters at three NGO stands expressed support for the opposition with campaign materials on : "No to Sharia and to Martyrdom", "Stop Stoning Women", "Close
the Iranian Embassy: Terrorist Centre", "International Committee Against Executions", "Stop the Bomb", "Expel Iran from the Book Fair"
The Centre's previous reports had highlighted Iranian childrens' literature extolling suicide and martyrdom, which this year continued at :
- The Iran Cultural Fairs Institute stand (3.0.K 809) :
"The Broken Money Box", by Mohsen Barabani,Ghadr Press, Tehran State Publishing, 2012
"Teenage Patriot",Kanoon Tehran State Publisher, 2012
"Long Road to Happiness", Poems by Babak Niktarak, Kanoon
- Similar texts are displayed at the Iranian Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults stand ( 3.0. J 349)
- "If I Were a Pilot" by Ahmad Akbapour, Elmi-Farhangi Publications, Tehran, 2008
- Elmi Farhangi Publications,stand (5.0. D 905), displayed "If I Were a Bit Older" by Akhbar Sahraei which glamourizes 13/14 year old volunteers at the frontlines against Iraq
Much more worrying is the Association of Defa Moquaddassah (Holy Defence) Publishers stand (5.0 D 906). This State military consortium - a first timer at the Fair - represents 38 publishers focussing on war, martyrdom and Jihad.
These include :
- "The Fall of Israel" by Mehdi Hamad, Al-Fatlavi, Bastom Ketab Publisher, Tehran
- "Palestine and the Zionist Regime in View of the Supreme Leader", Ghadr Velayat, Tehran
- "The Exchange-Lebanon 2005-2008", Vahid Faraji and Saeed Faraji, Saghi Publisher, Tehran 2011
This lavish photo album, an ode to Hizbollah, "The Exchange-Lebanon 2005-2008", was launched last year on Revayat Fath Institute's stand,and this year went viral on several Iranian displays, including the military Defa Moquadassah.
The volume extols the "heroism of Sami Kuntar and 4 other Hezbollah fighters who were among those exchanged for three Israelis, two of whom were handed over as corpses. It should be noted that Kuntar had slaughtered a family of five slitting the throats of the babies in their cots, exclaiming that this was the fate for all Jews...," noted Samuels.
The Centre's report stressed that "such iconization of a monster, in full view of visitors to the Fair, is a whitewash for terrorism that demands a public condemnation of the Iranian authorities and a reevaluation of their future participation in the Fair."
The same book was also featured at the Saghi Publications stand (5.0 D 902) under a poster for the "2nd International Book Award for Resistance, Culture, Literature, Art and Knowledge"
Arab stands were clearly more cautious this year, apart from the constant recidivists.
The Qatari Government stand (5.0. D 981) once again displayed "The Open Veins of Jerusalem", by Munir Akash and Fouad Moughrabi, Jusseer, Doha, 2010. Same shelf, same book, same time last year and this, the Jewish connection to Jerusalem is here superceded by a "Palestinian autochtonous identity"
- The Arab Publishers Association, Cairo (5.0.E 956) displayed an outrageous text in English, "Jerusalem in Focus", by Ash-Shahhat Ahmad At-Tahhan, Al-Kalimah, Egypt.This antisemitic screed promotes fatwas - ostensibly of Al Azhar Islamic University - that prohibit peace with Zionists and obliges the killing of Jews.
- The Egypt Collective stand (5.0. E 959) "The Alienation of the Jewish Personality in Modern Hebrew Literature", by Ahmad Hammad, General Egyptian Authority for Books, Cairo, discredits the Jewish connection to the Holy Land
- Al Ahram Centre, Cairo (5.0. E. 960)
"Pawns on the Chessboard - The Elders of Zion and How Their Sons Manipulate the World", by Issam Abdul Fatah, Sharif Mus Publishers, 2012. Once again, fictional conspiracy theories are an annual staple of Al Ahram's display
Samuels requested the Fair's President " to take measures to blacklist exhibitors, which continually abuse their presence to foment hate."
"We will consult with the Public Prosecutor in this regard", responded Boos.
A weird double-take for visitors to the Syrian stand, Atlas for Publishing and Distribution, Damascus ( 5.0 E 985). Its main feature was a poster promoting a book entitled, " The Dream and then the Nightmare - The Syrians who boarded the Titanic", prophecy or farce, wondered a passing American publisher.
"The role of Frankfurt as the point of reference for regional bookfairs cannot be minimized.Tolerating the intolerable from hatemongering State exhibitors is a passive endorsement for the Tehran Bookfair's Holocaust denial industry and the Casablanca and Cairo Bookfairs' obsessive compulsive displays of world Jewish conspiracies. Ensuring a hate-free Frankfurt Fair would have global impact," concluded Samuels.
For further information contact Dr. Shimon Samuels on 0033(0)609770158, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).