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B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:

The omission of Israel from maps publisher HarperCollins is selling to Middle East schools is an outrageous effort to insert a political agenda into an educational tool. This exclusion will only reinforce the insular teachings of Israel’s many foes that Israel has no right to be.

After initially standing by its decision, the publisher finally noted on its Facebook page: “HarperCollins regrets the omission of the name Israel from their Collins Middle East Atlas.”  The company noted it would destroy the rest of the stock and continued: “HarperCollins sincerely apologizes for this omission and for any offence caused.” 

But for too long, the publisher defended its map.

The willful error was exacerbated by the initial tone-deaf defense by HarperCollins of its decision. In a news interview after the omission was discovered, the publisher noted that since the map was created for use in the Middle East, including Israel would have been “unacceptable,” and went on to note the map reflected “local preferences.”

Does the publisher’s acquiescence to “local preferences” take into account that many of Israel’s neighbors have the singular goal of destroying Israel and its people? To bolster a view of a Middle East without Israel is the height of irresponsibility for an educational publisher.

Israel is a nation, recognized by the United Nations and with diplomatic, trade, cultural and other relationships the world over. To assert otherwise is a blatant and unacceptable attempt to delegitimize Israel.

We are pleased HarperCollins finally acknowledged its willful effort to distort both history and geography. The destruction of the maps is a first step. We also urge a full review by an independent panel of scholars of all HarperCollins educational materials.