Publisher Harper-Collins was able to do something that the Arab League hasn’t been able to achieve in sixty-six years: erase Israel from the map.
The publishing giant’s subsidiary Collins Bartholomew has removed Israel from it publishes for English-speaking schools in the Arab Middle-East.
First reported in The Tablet, a Catholic weekly newspaper published in Great Britain, instead of showing Israel, “The Collins Middle East Atlas,” has Jordan and Syria extending to the Mediterranean Sea only broken up by the West Bank and Gaza.
Collins Bartholomew, the subsidiary of HarperCollins that specialises in maps, told The Tablet that including Israel would have been “unacceptable” to their customers in the Gulf and the amendment incorporated “local preferences”.
Bishop Declan Lang, chairman of the Bishops’ Conference Department of International Affairs, told The Tablet: “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.”
The Tablet has also learned of customs officers in one Gulf nation allowing school atlases to reach their intended recipient only once Israel had been struck out by hand.
Dr Jane Clements, director of the Council of Christians and Jews, told The Tablet that maps that excluded Israel risked causing confusion and de-legitimising the nation in the eyes of the students who used the atlases.
She said: “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.”