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HarperCollins pulls atlases that left Israel out of its Middle East Atlas


The Tablet

Where's Israel?

HarperCollins, one of the world's largest publishing houses that sells English-language atlases to schools in the Middle East, made a large, intentional mistake-it omitted labeling Israel. In fact, the Middle East Atlases showed Jordan and Syria extending to the Mediterranean and clearly marked the position of the West Bank.

The decision to omit Israel elicited a tremendous amount of anger online, and now HarperCollins is pulling its Middle East Atlas from sale in all territories, and has apologized for leaving Israel off the map, while distinctly leaving an enlarged Jordan and including Gaza.

The company said that all remaining HarperCollins Atlas's not yet sold will be pulled.

HarperCollins initially explained that "local preferences" of the Gulf State countries took precedence over including Israel on the map, something their Arab customers found "unacceptable."

Dr Jane Clements, director of the Council of Christians and Jews has criticized the publisher and stated "Maps can be a very powerful tool in terms of de-legitimizing 'the other' and can lead to confusion rather than clarity." Collins Bartholomew, the subsidiary of HarperCollins that specializes in maps, said that including Israel would have been "unacceptable" to their customers in the Gulf and the amendment incorporated "local preferences."


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