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December 17, 2013 2

Qatari Book Fair Highlighting UK Partnership Marred By Anti-Semitism

qatar-uk-2013-book-fair-jews

British and Qatari offi­cials tour book fair

The Doha Inter­na­tional Book Fair, held in Qatar on Decem­ber 4–14 and billed as part of “Qatar-UK 2013” — a year of “events to cel­e­brate and develop the part­ner­ship between Qatar and the United King­dom” — fea­tured many anti-Semitic books from sev­eral dif­fer­ent pub­lish­ers and avail­able from mul­ti­ple book sellers. 

A state­ment from the Qatari Min­is­ter of Cul­ture on the fair’s web­site noted that the UK was selected as the “guest of honor.” The fair’s web­site also included a photo of the British Min­is­ter of Cul­ture with his Qatari coun­ter­part vis­it­ing the event.

The anti-Semitic Arabic-language books were avail­able at the fair, accord­ing to the web­site, which included a floor index of where vis­i­tors could phys­i­cally pur­chase the book.

For exam­ple, sev­eral pub­lish­ers from Syria, Egypt, Jor­dan and Lebanon offered dif­fer­ent ver­sions of the noto­ri­ous anti-Semitic forgery The Pro­to­cols of the Learned Elders of Zion and sold them at var­i­ous prices. Another anti-Semitic book titled, The Secrets of the Tal­mud, Expos­ing the Jew­ish Plot to Con­trol the World, was sold for 75.00 Qatari Rials (about 20 US$).

Books pro­mot­ing Hitler, Holo­caust denial and anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries were on dis­play in var­i­ous sec­tions (e.g., The Facts About the Zionist-Nazi Secrete Rela­tions).

Accord­ing to Qatari media, the British Embassy in Doha and the British Cul­tural Coun­cil helped orga­nize British par­tic­i­pa­tion in the fair. The UK helped orga­nize “work­shops for fam­i­lies, chil­dren and book enthu­si­asts,” accord­ing to the fair website.

The sale of anti-Semitic books is counter to the fair’s mis­sion, as stated on its web­site, of “rais­ing the cul­tural and intel­lec­tual level of the soci­ety.” It also under­mines the larger aim of “Qatar-UK 2013,” which seeks to “increase engage­ment between the peo­ple of both coun­tries in the spirit of inno­va­tion, open­ness and learning.”

Just last month, the Shar­jah Inter­na­tional Book Fair (SIBF) in the United Arab Emi­rates, which report­edly attracted 1 mil­lion vis­i­tors from across the region, fea­tured sev­eral infa­mous anti-Semitic books as well.

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