Edition of French Children’s Magazine Describing Israel as Not ‘a Real Country’ Withdrawn by Apologetic Publisher
The entire print run of a popular French children’s magazine is being pulled from distribution following the publication of a feature which described the State of Israel as “not a real country.”
The claim about Israel appeared in the January issue of Youpi, a magazine aimed at children aged 5-10.
After Francis Kalifat — head of French Jewish organization CRIF — protested, the magazine’s publisher, Bayard, announced that it was withdrawing the issue. The publishing group’s president, Pascal Ruffenach, apologized for what he called a “clumsy error,” adding, “Obviously, we did not want to challenge the existence of the State of Israel.”
The offending statement appeared alongside a map of the world showing the boundaries between different countries. The magazine explained that there are 197 countries in the world, “like France, Germany or Algeria,” going on to say that while more countries exist, not all of them are universally recognized as “real countries.” The magazine cited both Israel and North Korea in this regard.
— Francis Kalifat (@FrancisKalifat) December 25, 2017
North Korea’s communist dictatorship is not recognized as a state by several democracies, including South Korea, the US, Japan and Israel. In Israel’s case, the majority of Arab and Muslims countries refuse to have full diplomatic relations with Jerusalem, while Iran frequently calls for the elimination of the Jewish state.
Perhaps recognizing the complexities of explaining diplomacy to younger children, according to the French newspaper Le Monde, CRIF has now asked Bayard to include an article explaining the history and significance of Israel in a forthcoming issue of Youpi.