The Catholic news weekly The Tablet reports (and The Telegraph confirms):
The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has accused the publisher HarperCollins of harming peace efforts in the Middle East through its production of atlases that omit Israel from their maps. Collins Middle East Atlases, which are sold to English-speaking schools in the Muslim-majority Gulf, depict Jordan and Syria extending all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.
Collins Bartholomew, the subsidiary of HarperCollins that specialises in maps, toldThe Tablet that including Israel would have been “unacceptable” to their customers in the Gulf and the amendment incorporated “local preferences”.
That report isn’t completely accurate but it is for the most part true. Syria isn’t shown as extending to the Mediterranean; Lebanon is marked on the map.
But Israel isn’t labeled, which you can more clearly see in this larger image (originally posted by The Telegraph):
And HarperCollins is getting grief.
Please don’t take my calm coverage of this story as excusing HarperCollins; I don’t think they should have acquiesced to customer demands, but that doesn’t change the fact that the instigators here are the local governments and local schools.
I blame the schools more than HC for the simple fact that the schools are supposed to be educating the students and providing the best info available. But instead of showing an accurate atlas, the schools used a politically acceptable atlas.
That is just as wrong when it occurs in schools in Asia as it is when it happens here in the US. And similar censorship as well as political infighting over what goes into a textbook does happen here a lot, not all of which makes it into the news. In the US the contentious issues don’t include Israel but do include sex ed, creationism in science textbooks, climate change, and other topics.
In our own way, some school districts in the US are just as guilty of failing to educate students as those middle eastern schools are (another reason why I don’t feel I can yell and scream about this topic).