Wiesenthal Centre to Paris Book Fair Featuring Israel as its Guest of Honour: "Answer Arab World's Boycott by a Ban on Arab Publishers of Hate Literature"

Wiesenthal Centre to Paris Book Fair Featuring Israel as its Guest of Honour:
"Answer Arab World's Boycott by a Ban on Arab Publishers of Hate Literature"

Paris, 14 March 2008

In a letter to the co-organizers of the Paris Book Fair - the Syndicat National de l'Edition's President, Serge Eyrolles, and Reed Expositions France's President, Louis Algoud - the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr Shimon Samuels, congratulated their choice of Israel as the 2008 Fair's Guest of Honour, but regretted that "sadly, this important cultural event has been boycotted by the Arab world."

Samuels noted that "banning access to books has always been a measure of fascism and other forms of tyranny. It, moreover, intimidates those Arab intellectuals who might have taken the opportunity for tolerance-building in dialogue with their Israeli counterparts presently in Paris. Rather than seeking peaceful resolution, the boycotters instigate hatred and bigotry."

By way of example, the Wiesenthal Centre's letter presented the displays by the Dar al-Awael (Syria) and the Dar al-Kitab (Egypt) stands at the recent 14th Salon International de l'Edition et du Livre (SIEL), 8-17 February 2008 in Casablanca.

Dar al-awael:
link to Dar al-awael flyer

2nd row:
1. "Judaism after Ezra - How it became Colonialism"
6. "A Light on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion"

3rd row:
4. "Secrets of the Sacred Star [the Star of David]"
5. "Allah-Jehova - The God of the Jews"
6. "Jewish Massacres and Zionist Terrorism"
7. "Talmudic Conceptions - The Jewish View"

4th row:
3. "The Conspiracy Theory: Illusion or Truth"

5th row:
2. "Israel's Presence in Iran; Impact on Arab National Security"
3. "Secret Iranian-Israeli Relations and the Occupation of Three United Arab Emirates Islands"

Dar al-Kitab:
Upper shelf, 5.
"Mein Kampf" - Adolf Hitler

(photos attached)

Samuels added, "These are but a small number of the antisemitic, anti-Western, Holocaust denial, terrorism glorification and conspiracy theory texts catalogued and on display on the stands of Syria, Egypt, Lebanon and Libya at the Casablanca Book Fair. We might add Roger Garaudy's Holocaust denial essay, 'The Founding Myths of Israeli Policy' (French language edition), published by Az-Zaman/ Al Forkane of Morocco."

The letter continued "Garaudy's book, as in the case of "Mein Kampf" and "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion", are, in fact, banned in France as vehicles for the incitement of hate. Their publishers overshadow the tremendous creative literary production of the Arab world and strengthen the most extreme elements across the Middle East, while exacerbating tensions between faith communities in Europe."

The Centre, which annually works in cooperation with the Director of the Frankfurt Book Fair to monitor displays that incite to hatred and violence, appealed to the Paris co-organizers "to ensure that your exhibitors comply with their contractual obligations by removing any and all hate literature from their shelves, just as they would be constrained to exclude pornography."

The letter, particularly, urged them "to ban publications from the abovementioned Dar al-Awael and Dar al-Kitab publishing houses that may appear on any stand at this Fair."

Samuels also contended that "the Arab boycott of the Paris Book Fair, as a consequence of its choice of Israel as its Honoured Guest, violates Article
13 of the European Union's Amsterdam Treaty that prohibits national discrimination."

"Mr Co-Organizers, your response should be the banning of all hate literature, whatever its provenance. Hatred must carry a price and its purveyors cannot enjoy the cover of ostensible cultural impunity."

For further information, please contact Shimon Samuels at +33.609.77.01.58