Frankfurt, 16 October 2009
In his annual Report to Frankfurt Book Fair Director, Jürgen Boos, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr Shimon Samuels, noted that "this is the seventh year that the Simon Wiesenthal Centre monitors incitement to hate and violence on the display stands of the Frankfurt Book Fair – the largest literary gathering in the world.
At the opening press conference, I was struck by your allusion to controversy surrounding China as your 2009 Honoured Guest."
The Report recalled that "controversy had marked the Fair's 2008 Honoured Guest, Turkey, following the number of antisemitic conspiracy theory volumes identified by our Centre, exhibited at both the official and private publishers' stands."
Samuels expressed "gratification to find that this year, the displays of the almost 100 participating Turkish publishers were hate-free. According to Metin Celal Zeynioglu, Secretary-General of the Istanbul-based Turkish Publishers Association, 'this was the result of the Wiesenthal Centre's complaints. These had led to German intervention with the Turkish authorities to stop the publication in Turkish of the many best-selling versions of "Mein Kampf", as its copyright was held by the Munich municipality.'"
Mr Zeynioglu continued, "The Turkish Cultural Ministry would no longer issue the silver sticker barcode obligatory for every volume's display and sale."
Apparently, by extension, this principle was applied to any book construed to be antisemitic, for exhibit at this, the 60th Fair.
The Report emphasized that, "unfortunately, this was not the case for new texts expressing hostility to Jews, found – as in past years – on the stands of the Egyptian publishers and - for the first time – on the stand of Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Moreover, the same books already fomenting a culture of death at last year's Fair were again on the Children's Literature shelves of the Palestinian Territories and on two Iranian stands."
Attached are photos of:
1. Conspiracy theory literature:
"America, Greater Israel: The True History of US Policy in the Arab World - Israel, The Little America", by Aboulhay Zalloum, Arab Institute for Research and Publishing, Amman
[on Jordanian Stand 5.0.A906]
2. Conspiracy theory literature:
2.1. "Iran and the Jews", by Mohamed Taki Boor, translated from Farsi by Ahmad Hussein Bakr, publisher Maktebat Nafida, Cairo 2008.
2.2. "The Children of Ishmael", by Ahmed Rabieh abd Al-Mounim, publisher Dar Mashrek, Cairo 2009.
2.3. "The Jews in Iraq 1856-1920", by Reda Hamdi Abdelsalam, publisher Maktabat Med Bouli, Cairo 2009.
2.4. "Rudolf Hess – The Most Famous Prisoner in the World", by Hisham Hodr, publisher Dar al Mashrek.
All four books are displayed by Al Ahram Establishment – Cairo [Egyptian Stand 5.0.A918].
3. Conspiracy theory literature:
"America and Iraq: Eternal Love or Definitive Divorce", by Noman abd Razak Al-Samani, publisher Obeikan Publishing, Riyadh.
[Saudi Arabian Stand 5.0.A925]
4. Incitement to a culture of war in Children's Literature and propaganda for the Naqba, Intifada and Jihad (Palestinian):
4.1. "Palestinian History Book for Youth", by Sonia and Saed Nimr, publisher Tamer Institute, Ramallah.
4.2. "Rasha's Window", by Abia Tubasi, publisher Tamer Institute, Ramallah.
[Palestinian Territories Stand 5.0.D924]
5. Fomenting a culture of death and martyrdom in Children's Literature (Iranian):
5.1. "Babaya Sura", by Ali Kughafi Khansari, Madrese, Tehran.
5.2. "That Man Came in the Rain", by Mohammad Hamzezad, Ghoo, Tehran.
[Iranian Cultural Fairs Institute – ICFI Stand3.0.K347]
6. Fomenting a culture of death and martyrdom in Children's Literature (Iranian):
6.1. "Hassani, Where Are You Going?", by Mohammad Reza Yusefi, publisher Shabaviz, Tehran.
6.2. "My Cat", by Mahdokht Kashkouli, publisher Shabaviz, Tehran.
[Iran Stand, 3.0.J370]
7. Security attention should be drawn to the stand of Galland Publishing Books and Ares Enyalius Spanish Military Magazine, Valladolid and London [Stand 5.1. E940]. The heavy emphasis of the display on Nazi valour – though perhaps legal in Germany – appears to act as a magnet for Skinhead-style visitors.
Samuels repeated that "the above-mentioned Egyptian, Palestinian and Iranian publishers are annual recidivists. They have ignored previous warnings that they are in violation of their contractual obligations to the Frankfurt Book Fair."
He stressed that "to allow these books, year after year, to remain on view to the 300,000 visitors over the five days of the Fair – the book jackets are patently clear to even non-Arabic or Farsi readers – passes the message that Jew-hatred is acceptable in Germany and worldwide."
The Centre urged the Fair "to promptly confiscate these offensive texts, to condemn their pollution of the Fair and to unambiguously blacklist the abovementioned exhibitors from participation in the 61st Fair in 2010. We also request your cooperation with the German authorities to repeat their successful intervention with Turkey, by seeking similar results with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Iran."
"Thereby, I would sincerely wish that, next year, I will be able to report that there is nothing to report", concluded Samuels.