December 14, 2005
FRANKFURT BOOK FAIR'S NEW DIRECTOR TO WIESENTHAL CENTER:
“STEPS WILL BE TAKEN TO BAR ANTISEMITISM FROM 2006 FAIR”
Frankfurt, Germany--Juergen Boos, the new Director of the prestigious Frankfurt Book Fair has assured senior officials of the Simon Wiesenthal Center that displays of antisemitic hate literature would be barred from the 2006 Fair. Mr. Boos met last week at his Frankfurt, headquarters with Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Wiesenthal Center and Dr. Shimon Samuels, Center Director for International Relations. The Jewish leaders expressed dismay over lax policies that allowed the prominent display of hate literature and CD-ROMS by Arab and Iranian exhibitors at both the 2004 and 2005 Fairs. Dr. Samuels had personally exposed antisemitic texts displayed by Middle East publishers at the 2004 Fair, which had been dedicated to the Arab World.
Such abuse continued at this year’s Fair by Iranian exhibitors, Samuels noted, adding that, “Protests by the Wiesenthal Center to the previous Book Fair President that German anti-hate laws were openly being violated elicited the response that ‘we cannot tell whether German laws against incitement have been violated as the books are in Arabic…’”
At last week’s meeting, Mr. Boos acknowledged that publications did indeed violate German anti-hate laws and that the Fair was committed to tightening up contractual obligations of its exhibitors to ensure that future contracts would bar the display of any material that violates these laws.
“We’re convinced that the new leadership of the Book Fair understands the danger that such mainstreaming of anti-Jewish hate would have on Europe, the Middle East, and beyond, said Rabbi Cooper. “In an era when words are used to foster a culture of death and terror, the guardians of freedom in the marketplace of ideas must also exhibit social responsibility in joining the struggle against hatred and genocidal threats,” Cooper concluded.
The Center agreed to assist the Fair's authorities in the coming months in helping them and German authorities identify new antisemitic books, CD- ROM and DVD materials being distributed globally.
Titles that were displayed at last year’s Book Fair include: The World Jewish Conspiracy (Egypt); A Tribute to Hamas Leader Sheikh Yassin (Lebanon); The Jewish Role in the 9/11 Destruction of the World Trade Center (Syria); The End of Israel (Libya); Three Thousand Years of Jewish Iniquity (Egypt); and a CD ROM for teachers entitled, The Divine Word of the Holy Koran: The Jewish State Will Die in 2001 (Egypt).
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 Council of Europe and the OAS.
For more information, please contact the Center's Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036, or visit www.wiesenthal.com.