HarperCollins Publishers apologizes after initial defense of maps without Israel

The HarperCollins Publishers map of the Middle East without Israel. Credit: HarperCollins Publishers.

The HarperCollins Publishers map of the Middle East without Israel. Credit: HarperCollins Publishers.

(JNS.org) HarperCollins Publishers apologized for omitting Israel from maps used in atlases for English-speaking schools in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East.

The maps label Gaza and the West Bank but do not demarcate Israel, instead depicting Jordan and Syria as extending all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.

“HarperCollins regrets the omission of the name Israel from their Collins Middle East Atlas,” the publishing company said. “This product has now been removed from sale in all territories and all remaining stock will be pulped. HarperCollins sincerely apologizes for this omission and for any offense caused.”

Before the apology, Collins Bartholomew—the subsidiary of HarperCollins that specializes in maps—had told The Tablet, a Catholic weekly newspaper in the United Kingdom, that including Israel would have been “unacceptable” to Arab customers in the Middle East and that the maps were adjusted to meet “local preferences.”

“The willful error was exacerbated by the initial tone-deaf defense by HarperCollins of its decision. … 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?” B’nai B’rith International said in a statement.

Posted on January 2, 2015 .