Saudi Book Fair Called Out for Display of Antisemitic Titles, Including ‘Mein Kampf’
A prominent US-based Jewish human rights organization has expressed concern over “vicious antisemitic conspiracy texts” that were available at the 2018 Riyadh International Book Fair.
In a letter to Saudi Culture Minister Awwad Alawwad, Shimon Samuels — director of international relations for the Simon Wiesenthal Center — wrote, “Mr. Minister, we are delighted at the initiatives of Saudi Arabia towards Muslim reconciliation with the Jewish people and even contacts with the State of Israel. We are therefore distressed to discover vicious conspiracy texts on display, at the Riyadh Book Fair, that counter-productively inflame antisemitism among the visitors and readers.”
According to Samuels, Mein Kampf was among the antisemitic titles featured at the ten-day fair, which ended on Saturday.
Samuels noted, “we understand that a publisher’s display at the Riyadh International Book Fair was closed down for selling Muslim Brotherhood books, considered to incite to violence and terrorism. Indeed, the fair supervisor, Abdul Rahman al-Asem, warned that, ‘any publisher who breaks the rules of the Book Fair will be banned from participating in it forever.’”
Therefore, Samuels urged Alawwad “to treat such publishers next year in the same fashion as your measures against the Muslim Brotherhood. Any publisher of antisemitism should likewise be treated as breaking the rules of the book fair and ‘banned from participating in it forever.’”
“Bigotry is indivisible, whether against Arab or Jew,” Samuels stated.
The letter came amid Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ongoing two-week visit to the US.