Antisemitic book that spurred Israeli complaint is taken off shelves at Cairo fair
Book on history of Zionism features caricatures of Jewish men plotting against Egypt, other antisemitic tropes; author says security forces ‘confiscated’ text on 1st day of event
A book featuring antisemitic tropes was removed from display by security forces at Egypt’s state-run Cairo International Book Fair, its author claimed on Sunday, a week after Israel expressed concern about such texts being available at the event.
The cover of the book — which details a history of Zionism — features caricatures of hook-nosed Jewish men rubbing their hands together as they appear to plot against Egypt. The work also has menorahs, Jewish stars, and a map of the world behind the figures on the cover.
Ostensible Jewish plans to dominate the world is a classic antisemitic trope.
Muhamed Medhat Mustafa, an Alexandria-based academic, wrote on Facebook that “security forces confiscated the book on the first day of the fair.” The event began last week and runs until February 6.
In an interview with local media, Mustafa said he was saddened by the situation in Egypt that allowed his book to be removed, and claimed that he had taken all necessary legal steps for it to be offered for sale.
The Cairo event is the Arab world’s oldest and largest book fair. Israel expressed concern last week over the antisemitic content “expressed in books published and presented in the Cairo International Book Fair.”
The event has made headlines in recent years for other antisemitic works, including multiple editions of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” Henry Ford’s “The International Jew,” and lesser-known but equally pernicious works on the Talmud, the Holocaust, and the Rothschild family.
Despite outreach to Egyptian officials by the Anti-Defamation League and a 2020 letter by ADL president Jonathan Greenblatt to Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, the same antisemitic titles continue to appear at the annual government-organized event.
The fair has also been accused of censorship against views critical of the government and against Islamists.
Israel and Egypt inked a peace deal in 1979 but relations have been mostly frosty, though the governments have maintained close security ties in recent years. The countries share security interests in the Gaza Strip as well as in Sinai and the eastern Mediterranean, but most Egyptians reject ties with Israel.
Egypt routinely acts as a go-between for Israel and the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip and shares a border with Egypt.
Though Cairo slammed National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s controversial visit to the flashpoint Temple Mount site earlier this month, ties between the two countries remain steady.
An unnamed Egyptian official told the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat news outlet that his country views Israel as being currently led by “two governments” — an extremist one at home and a more moderate one representing Israel in its relations abroad.