If people in the Middle East want Israel driven off the map, HarperCollins believes the customer is always right.
I don’t think what HarperCollins is doing should be illegal. But I do think it is wrong and demonstrates, again, why conservatives can’t trust corporations as defenders of freedom.
In this case, HarperCollins has decided to sell atlases in the Middle East. The results are problematic. As the Telegraph reports, “HarperCollins omits Israel from school atlas.”
HarperCollins, one of the world’s largest publishing houses, sells English-language atlases to schools in the Middle East that omit Israel.
Collins Middle East Atlases show Jordan and Syria extending to the Mediterranean but do mark the position of the West Bank.
“The publication of this atlas will confirm Israel’s belief that there exists a hostility towards their country from parts of the Arab world. It will not help to build up a spirit of trust leading to peaceful co-existence,” said Bishop Declan Lang, the chairman of the Bishops’ Conference Department of International Affairs, to The Tablet.
“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 United Nations position on nations, boundaries and all political features,” added Dr Jane Clements, director of the Council of Christians and Jews.
However, Collins Bartholomew, the subsidiary of HarperCollins that specialises in maps, said that including Israel would have been “unacceptable” to their customers in the Gulf and the amendment incorporated “local preferences”.
I don’t agree at all that “relevant bodies” should “ensure that all atlases anywhere reflect the official United Nations position on nations, boundaries, and all political features.” Global totalitarianism and control of publishing is a “cure” that is worse than the disease.
If people in the Middle East want to teach hatred of Israel, Israel and her allies are going to have to come up with propaganda strategies to counteract that influence. But trying to make people use the right maps is not going to help.
In the meantime, we see that corporations are not reliable.