Anyone who’s seen a few news stands in the Arab world won’t be surprised to learn that a recent book fair in Morocco featured anti-Semitic classics such as “Mein Kampf” and “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”
The books, which also included titles like “Exposing Zionist Plots to Control the World,” were displayed as part of Casablanca’s Salon International de l’Edition et du Livre, one of the most influential book fairs in the region. The “worst” of the anti-Semitic texts appeared at stands representing Syria and Egypt, said the European branch of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which issued a letter condemning their inclusion to Morocco’s minister of culture, Mohammed Amine Sbihi.
Perhaps more significantly, the Wiesenthal Center is also aiming its protest at Jurgen Boos, the director of the world’s premiere publishing festival, the Frankfurt Book Fair. The organization is asking Boos to “blacklist” the books’ publishers from the October fair, “as they violate European Union and Council of Europe provisions against racism, German policy towards the Arab world, these exhibitor’s [sic] contractual terms with the Fair and your own commitment to prevent such incitement.”
The Wiesenthal Center sounded a note of pessimism in the letter, noting that “year after year, our Centre protests the behavior of the same recidivist publishing houses, without any effective action taken to prevent recurrence.”
“Should they be present, once again this October, we can only conclude that
the Fair remains indifferent.”
That would be a shame to hear about a festival in any city, but particularly for one in Frankfurt. The German publishing capital was chosen to house a high-profile set of Holocaust-related artifacts last week precisely because of its connection to another famous book.
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