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Israel removed from Middle East atlas

Israel removed from Middle East atlas

Publishing giant HarperCollins has egg all over its face after it developed an atlas ‘specifically for schools in the Middle East’  that omits Israel in deference to Muslim sensitivities.

According to this report, the publisher trumpeted the work as providing students:

An in-depth coverage of the region and its issues.

Its stated goals include helping Middle-Eastern kids understand:

The relationship between the social and physical environment, the region’s challenges [and] its socio-economic development.

There’s Syria. There’s Jordan. There’s Gaza. But no mention of Israel.

On Wednesday, HarperCollins was backtracking fast.

HarperCollins UK said on its Facebook page:

HarperCollins regrets the omission of the name Israel from their Collins Middle East Atlas. This product has now been removed from sale in all territories and all remaining stock will be pulped. HarperCollins sincerely apologizes for this omission and for any offense it caused.

It apparently caused quite a bit. On Amazon, the atlas has 39 reviews. Every reviewer gave it one star.

One wrote:

It’s incredibly sad and sickening how one of the world’s largest publishers has failed to recognize Israel … it’s a travesty and international shame. Failing to recognize its existence is horrifying and it’s a shame that in 2014, such nonsense still goes on.

How did this happen? Collins Bartholomew, a subsidiary of HarperCollins that specialses in maps it would have been “unacceptable” to include Israel in atlases intended for the Middle East. They had deleted Israel to satisfy “local preferences”.

Nobody can quite seem to grasp quite what HarperCollins was thinking. A British bishop named Declan Lang said:

The publication of this atlas will confirm Israel’s belief that there exists hostility toward their country from parts of the Arab world. It will not help to build up a spirit of trust leading to peaceful co-existence.

Speaking to the Catholic newspaper, The Tablet, Dr Jane Clements, director of the Council of Christians and Jews said that maps that excluded Israel risked causing confusion and de-legitimising the nation in the eyes of the students who used the atlases.

Maps can be a very powerful tool in terms of de-legitimising ‘the other’ and can lead to confusion rather than clarity. We would be keen to see relevant bodies ensure that all atlases anywhere reflect the official UN position on nations, boundaries and all political features.

Others were less diplomatic. Another reviewer said.

What a piece of inaccurate garbage!

15 responses to “Israel removed from Middle East atlas”

  1. L.Long says:

    Of coarse we all know that NO ONE makes mistakes, it must be a conspiracy!!!!

  2. John the Drunkard says:

    Hmmm. But Doesn’t Syria still claim Hatay province of Turkey as part of Syria…and until recently ‘official’ Syrian maps showed all of Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel in the same color as Syria, with the borders indicated in the same line gauge as the ‘interior’ borders?

    And various Palestinian groups claim the whole of Israel as ‘their’ territory.

    How many despots can one publisher appease?

  3. Their withdrawing the maps…now that they’ve been exposed… doesn’t exonerate HarperCollins from their complete and total idiocy .

    If I happen to hate Catholics I wonder if they’d mind doing a run of maps without the Vatican? And while they’re at it, North Korea offends my sensibilities, maybe they can omit them as well.

    Anti-Semitic or simply half witted, someone needs to get fired.

  4. Vanity Unfair says:

    Israel: twinned with Lake Wobegon.

  5. RussellW says:

    Unfortunately for the Palestinians, denying the existence of Israel won’t make it go away.

  6. Wishes4Peace says:

    Israel denies the existance of Palestine… So maybe the map maker left Nazi Israel off the map was a form of protest.

    Israel wasn’t a country until 1940, that land belongs to the semitic bloodline of the tribe of Jordan, aka Palestinians.

  7. Paul Cook says:

    This is quite normal. Out of sight out of mind – a very Islamic mentality especially in the Middle East. It is incredibly immature, but a fact.
    When in Dubai I was intrigued to see, in the British owned shop the Early Learning Centre, world flags set on a table football game for children (ages 5-9). One flag was black. I wondered which country that was. I worked out that it was/wasn’t Israel.
    And both atlases and even globes had no Israel.

  8. David Anderson says:

    Well, they got Egypt in the right place, so that’s one up on FauxNews.

  9. Newspaniard says:

    I wonder which muslim in a position of power in Harper Collins, decided that Israel should be deleted? You want conspiracy theories? I’ve got loads, starting with the Crime Prosecution Service are gradually being taken over by islamists so that any infidel who makes the slightest derogatory comment about islam will be charged with blasphemy under the nearest skewed British law which nearly fits.

  10. Marky Mark says:

    Actually Israel wasn’t on any map for thousands of years until the late 40’s when the UN decided that the Jewish folks need their own country after Hitler’s final solution…and the Palestinians who were on the map for thousands of years were never asked if they minded that their country was carved up by the powers that be of the time. This is why there are constant problems there.

    Yes they were under British rule for some time as many countries were, but it was still their country.

  11. AgentCormac says:

    Shouldn’t that read: ‘Bibles can be a very powerful tool in terms of de-legitimising ‘the other’ and can lead to confusion rather than clarity.’?

  12. Cali Ron says:

    Frankly, the whole middle east is a mess because of Britain and other colonizing countries who carved up other peoples lands and put arbitrary borders up. This manipulation has been a major factor in many wars and international strife since. Of course, the US has done more than our fair share of mucking it up since then (so much for the US bringing democracy to the middle east). With all the wars going on and border conflicts over there the lines are constantly moving. As complicated as it is, making it more so by trying to appease religious factions when making maps seems like a pathetic capitalist attempt to make money. To bad we can’t just take all the extremist problem religion countries off the map and they wouldn’t exists anymore.

  13. Gerard Morgan says:

    Neither the United States or United Kingdom recognize the existence of Palestine. I never saw a map in my history books that portrayed Palestine – just Israel. And I graduated from a pretty good American high school in 2006.Not until college did people even have the courage to ask, “Should there be a Palestine?” – why not? There was a Palestine for a long time up until everybody forgot there was history before 1948.

  14. Gerard Morgan says:

    By the way, my friends from across the pond – you have no right to criticize anybody until you return the Falkland Islands and whatever else you’re hiding.

  15. Peterat says:

    They should publish maps of the middle east on flash paper, given its “volatility”. (pun intended)