Tuesday, January 31st | 9 Shevat 5783

February 2, 2016 3:31 pm

Egyptian Culture Ministry Official: Israelis Stole Our Land, We’ll Steal Their Intellectual Property Rights

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The international book fair in Cairo in 2009. Photo: Wikipedia.

The international book fair in Cairo in 2009. Photo: Wikipedia.

The head of the International Book Fair held in Cairo this week, organized by the Egyptian Culture Ministry, said it was “forbidden” to pay royalties to Israeli authors even though their books were translated and being sold at the expo, Israel’s Army Radio reported on Tuesday.

“It’s permissible to translate Israeli books, so we know how to deal with them, but not to make any legal connection or pay royalties,” said Dr. Haitham El-Hajj Ali, chairman of the General Egyptian Book Organization, according to the report.

“They stole our land; we’ll steal their intellectual property rights,” he said, referring to Israel’s 1967 capture of the Sinai peninsula, which the Jewish state agreed to return in its 1979 peace treaty with Cairo.

Al-Hajj’s comments were apparently in response to the presence of translated Israeli material at this year’s book fair in Cairo, including one by Army Radio‘s longtime Arab affairs correspondent Jacky Hugi, which was translated into Arabic by an Egyptian translator in January.

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Another book, a dictionary of Israeli military slang by Rubik Rosenthal, was also presented at the expo, according to Yedioth Ahronoth. 

The 47th edition of the international book fair opened late January and runs through February 10. It features authors from 34 countries, according to Egyptian Streets.

Coincidentally, Al-Hajj told Egyptian Streets in the January 27 article that “the [Cairo book] fair intends to uphold the long tradition of not inviting Israel to participate.”

Although Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty and share diplomatic, security and economic relations, cultural relations remain mostly absent. During Ramadan last year, an Egyptian soap opera stirred domestic controversy over its sympathetic portrayal of Egyptian Jews.

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