Jewish Group Ranks Qatar as ‘Worst Offender’ at Frankfurt Book Fair
Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center released a report on Sunday ranking anti-Semitic literature that was on display at the Frankfurt Book Fair this year and listed Qatar as “Worst Offender 2014.”
The Arab country was given the title for promoting conspiracy theories and anti-Semitism with its booklet, The Battles of Muhammed, now published in English for children, which alleges Jewish plots against the Prophet, recounts the slaughter of Jewish tribes at the battle of Khaybar, and a survivor’s later attempt to “poison” Muahmmed. Another Qatar-published book on display at the fair, which ended on Sunday, was entitled The Open Veins of Jerusalem. The text presents the Jewish connection to Jerusalem as a conspiracy to deny an indigenous Palestinian identity.
“Runner-Up” for worst offender was the Palestinian Islamist Bait al-Almaqdes Centre, which is based in the West Bank, although it was listed at the fair as a Kuwaiti outfit. Among its display of Korans and Islamic texts were political reads such as The Jewish Plot to Establish a Temple to Judaize Jerusalem, The Zionist Deception Dictionary and another titled Jewish Terms: Beware of them!
The Wiesenthal Center’s report stressed that “several of the above-mentioned exhibitors are recidivists who ignore our annual warnings that they are violating European Union and German provisions against incitement, and thereby contravene their contractual obligations to the Book Fair.” The human rights group also said that for the 12th year, it is the only non-governmental organization to monitor anti-Semitic texts and literature inciting violence that are on display at the fair.
“As long as we continue to identify ‘worst offender hatemongers’, the Frankfurt Book Fair cannot achieve the ‘cultural respect’ so desired by [Frankfurt Book Fair] Director Boos,” said Shimon Samuels, director for international relations at the Center. “Zero-tolerance for hate in 2015 can only be achieved if measures are taken regarding Qatar and others that openly abuse the name of Islam for the sake of incitement.”
Samuels requested that the book fair act in cooperation with the German authorities to “confiscate offensive texts and blacklist delinquent exhibitors from participation in 2015,” noting that “German and other Jihadist teachers are known to bring their students to the Fair seeking inflammatory materials, which can result in potentially dangerous consequences.”
Samuels for the last five years has reported to Frankfurt Fair Director Juergen Boos about Iranian children’s literature extolling war, terrorism, suicide and martyrdom. Such texts were again shown this year at the fair, including Children and Soldiers, and Children and Bravery.
In its report, the Wiesenthal Center also awarded Turkey with a “Hate-Free” commendation for the third consecutive year. Samuels noted that despite the domestic growth in anti-Semitism “fomented by President Erdogan,” the 49 Turkish stands at the book fair did not showcase texts that promoted Jewish hatred. The Turkish Publishers’ Association evaluates its displays based on a policy adopted after the Wiesenthal Center’s 2010 report and followed by German official intervention in Ankara, according to the report.