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December 17, 2015

International Book Fair In Saudi Arabia Features Anti-Semitic Titles

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Advertisement for the Jeddah International Book Fair

The Jeddah International Book Fair in Saudi Arabia, which hosts more than 350 publishing houses from 21 countries, appears to feature anti-Semitic books for sale.

The book fair, taking place December 12-22, includes on its “Book Lists” works such as My Awakening: The Jewish Influence in the United States by the notorious anti-Semite David Duke. Duke’s book, classified as “Political Science” on the list from the Dar Alfiker Al Mua’sir publishing house in Lebanon, is listed for SAR53 (US$14).

Adolph Hitler’s Mein Kampf, which served as a blueprint for the extermination of six million Jews and millions of others in the Holocaust, is listed to be sold at the book fair for SAR45 (US$12). Classified as “History,” Mein Kampf, is on the list from Ibn Al Nafees publishing house in Egypt. A book titled Free Masons, The Jews and The Torahby Dr. Noman Al Samarayi, which promotes conspiratorial theories about a Jewish role in dominating the world, was listed for sale for SR8 (US$2).

The Jeddah Governorate, the Saudi Ministry of Culture, and a number of private sector corporations co-organized the book fair, which attracted more than 150,000visitors in its first three days according to the fair website.

Unfortunately, selling anti-Semitic books at book fairs in the Middle East is an ongoing problem. For example, another book fair in the region, the Doha International Book Fair in Qatar, which ended on December 12, also included anti-Semitic titles, such as the Arabic-language anti-Semitic Jewish Encyclopedia.

Featuring anti-Semitic titles in the right context may at times serve to expose their vicious nature. However, it is clear that in the case of the Jeddah Book Fair and several other book fairs in the region, such books are displayed to readers who may not be aware of the bigoted agenda behind such books. Including editorial language or contextualizing the books appropriately as hateful material is extremely important.

Over the past few years, ADL has documented the availability of similar problematic books at several book fairs in the region. Below are few examples:

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December 17, 2013

Qatari Book Fair Highlighting UK Partnership Marred By Anti-Semitism

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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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October 22, 2013

Flag At Swim Competition In Qatar Triggers Hatred Toward Israel

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Screenshot of Twitter post denouncing display of Israeli flag at the FINA Swimming World Cup in Qatar.

Photos of an Israeli flag at the FINA Swimming World Cup in Doha, Qatar, triggered a wave of angry reactions on Twitter, including calls for future sports boycotts against Israel.

While it is notable that Israeli swimmers participated in the October 20-21 competition – including Amit Ivry, winner of a silver medal – hundreds of Twitter users, including Qatari journalists, took to Twitter to express shock at their government’s decision to allow the Israeli flag to fly outside the Hamad Aquatic Center along with flags representing various other countries competing in the event.

Many of the Tweets condemned the participation of the Israeli team and demanded the removal of the flag form outside the Aquatic Center. Others Tweets protested what they described as the “normalizing of relations with the Zionist Entity.” Several users posted an image of a poster that reads, “Israel not-welcomed in Qatar.”

Reports from the region indicate that the Israeli flag was taken down before the end of the event in response to the reaction on Twitter. A graphic of the Israeli flag was also distorted on the television broadcast of the event when an Israeli swimmer medaled.

One Twitter user wrote, “Boycott should become universal; one of the results should be to ban the Zionist Entity from playing in the World Cup with an official FIFA resolution.” The FIFA World Cup is scheduled to be played in Qatar in 2022.

This incident raises concerns over Qatar’s ability to host international sporting events without succumbing to pressure from those who seek to politicize sports.

As more Arab countries host international sporting events, some Israeli athletes have encountered challenges.  Most international sporting federations mandate that host countries allow all qualifying athletes to compete. However, in 2009, the United Arab Emirates refused to issue a visa to Israeli tennis star Shahar Peer to enable her to compete in the Dubai Tennis Championship, a stop on the Women Tennis Association (WTA) tour. The barring of Peer violated the guidelines of the WTA (which were subsequently tightened further) and the UAE was forced to pay a fine.

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