Wiesenthal Centre 12th Annual Report from Frankfurt Book Fair

- “Worst Offender 2014” goes to Qatar for fomenting conspiracy theories and Jew-hatred
- “Runner-Up” goes to Palestinian Islamist Bait al-Almaqdes Centre

- “Hate-Free” commendation goes to Turkey for 3rd consecutive year

*Read related Times of Israel Story:

Anti-Semitic books displayed at Frankfurt fair, watchdog says Qatari, Palestinian, Egyptian and Iranian publishers said to be the top offenders at world’s largest publishing gathering
Frankfurt, 12 October 2014

For the 12th year, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre is the only non-governmental organization to monitor anti-Semitic hate and incitement to violence on the display stands of the Frankfurt Book Fair.

At the opening press conference, Fair Director, Juergen Boos, acknowledged the growth of “hate, xenophobia and alienation,” calling for “an inspirational Fair based on respect for cultural mobility.” However, his response to an Iranian journalist seemed discordant: “We are present in Tehran [Book Fair] and really wish to showcase Iranian publishing here in Frankfurt.”

“Discordant”, in that for the last five years the Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, has reported to the Director on Iranian children’s literature displayed on governmental stands extolling war, terrorism, suicide and martyrdom, again repeated this year.

Samuels acknowledged that, “despite the domestic growth in anti-Semitism – fomented by President Erdogan –, the 49 Turkish stands, for the 3rd year, remained hate-free.” The Turkish Publishers’ Association maintains its silver-sticker barcode policy to vet displays, adopted due to the Wiesenthal Centre’s 2010 report, followed by German official intervention in Ankara.

Qatar (Hall 5.0 E141)
“Worst Offender 2014” is unquestionably Qatar.

1. “The Battles of Mohammed,” Qatar Foundation and Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage, first published in Arabic in 2012. This booklet, now published in English for children, begins with the plots of the Jews against the Prophet, their slaughter at the battle of Khaybar and a survivor’s subsequent attempt to poison him. This distilled hatred necessitates direct intervention to ensure that Qatar takes measures for a hate-free display to participate in the 2015 Fair.

2. Despite our Centre’s protests, Qatar is now recidivist for the third year, in presenting “The Open Veins of Jerusalem,” Munir Akash and Fouad Moaghrabi, Juseer, Doha, 2010. The Jewish connection to Jerusalem is presented as a conspiracy to deny Palestinian autochthonous identity.

3. “The Israeli Strategic Mind”, Saleh al Noumani, Al Jazeera Centre (Qatar) and Arab Scientific Publishers (Lebanon), 2013. Another conspiracy theory targetting Judaism.

Runner-Up “Worst Offender 2014” goes to the Palestinian Islamist “Bait Almaqdes Centre” (Hall 5.0 D112) based in Nablus, Palestinian West Bank, although listed as a Kuwait national stand.

Among the display of Korans and Islamic texts are such political screeds as:

4. “The Buraq Wall,” Jehad J. Al Ayesh, Bait Almaqdes (Cairo, Nablus, Nicosia), 2011,
Buraq is the Wailing or Western Wall of Solomon’s Temple – Judaism’ holiest site – where Muhammed is said to have tethered his winged steed, Buraq, overnight, while the Prophet visited heaven. This unambiguously anti-Semitic booklet claims that “worshipping at the Wall is a new heresy in the religion of the Jews (31). “Jewish subversion” (p. 31), “Jewish aggressions to Judaize the Wall” (p. 37), “Conclusion: Buraq Wall is the property of Muslims” and must be returned to the embrace of Islam (p. 40).

5. “Jewish Terms: Beware of them!” (e.g. “The Myth of the Nazi Crematory”).

6. A Jerusalem Municipality Document presented as “The Jewish Plot to Establish a Temple to Judaize Jerusalem.”

7. “The Zionist Deception Dictionary”, based on the Russian Tsarist forgery, the notorious conspiracy plot, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

8. “Jews Converted to Islam by the Prophet,” Muhamad Ala Batir, Bet Al-Maqdes, Nicosia.

Bait Al-Maqdes presents itself in the Fair catalogue as specializing “in publishing books and releases that are interested in Jewish-Muslim conflict over the ages and times.”

Egypt is similarly recidivist, though with less volumes than previous years.

The Egyptian collective stand (Hall 5.0 E109):

9. “Financing Israel and the Arab Boycott,” Ahmad al-Damasi, General Egypt Book Cooperative, 2013.
"The Palestinians and the Loss of the Forbidden,” Imad Sayid Ahmad, Al Ahram, Cairo, 2010 (also displayed last year). An Israeli soldier sharpens his knife to slit the throats of two caged fighting cocks, one mar Fatah, the other Hamas.

11. The Right Control of Israeli Policy,” Akran Alafi,Al Ahram, Cairo.

Iran continues to present children’s literature extolling war, terrorism, suicide and martyrdom – in a current edition introducing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, published by Promotion of Resistance Culture.

Defa Moghaddas, the Association Publishers (Hall 5.0 F7)

12. “Children and Soldiers,” “Children and Bravery.”

12a. “The Shoes of the Martyrs,” “We Fight the Enemy.”

13. Revayat Fath Publication, Tehran (Hall 5.0 D14)
“The Exchange, Lebanon, 2005-2008,” Vahid Faraji and Sayeed Faraji, Saghi Publisher, Tehran, 2011, displayed this year on the Revayat Fath Military stand. This lavish volume extols the actions of Sami Kuntar and four other Hezbollah fighters exchanged for three Israelis, two returned as corpses. Kuntar had slaughtered a family of five, slitting the throat of babies in their cots. “Such iconization of monsters, for display to Fair visitors, is a whitewash for terrorism,” stated Samuels.

Finally, though acceptable on other shelves, it is odd to find the three books mentioned below on a display stand presented by IIIT – International Institute of Islamic Thought, Herndon, VA, USA (Hall 3.1 F17)

14. “Israel-Palestine: The Wall”

15. “The Conflict between Israel and the Palestinians,” by Holocaust revisionist Norman Finkelstein.

16. “The Israel Lobby,” by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt.

It would be appropriate for the Fair to investigate such straying from this publisher’s stated Koranic focus, which may impugn the credibility of other faith-based displays, especially in view of the IIIT profile in the Fair catalogue as “independent of local politics, party orientations and ideological bias.”

In conclusion, the Report stressed that "several of the above-mentioned exhibitors are recidivists who ignore our annual warnings that they are violating European Union and German provisions against incitement, and thereby contravene their contractual obligations to the Book Fair.”

Samuels appealed to the Fair to act, in cooperation with the German authorities, “to confiscate offensive texts and blacklist delinquent exhibitors from participation in 2015,” noting that “German and other Jihadist teachers are known to bring their students to the Fair seeking inflammatory materials, which can result in potentially dangerous consequences.”

“As long as we continue to identify ‘worst offender hatemongers’, the Frankfurt Book Fair cannot achieve the “cultural respect” so desired by Director Boos. Zero-tolerance for hate in 2015 can only be achieved if measures are taken regarding Qatar and others that openly abuse the name of Islam for the sake of incitement,” concluded Samuels.

For further information, please contact Shimon Samuels at +33 609 7701 58, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter feed.

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).