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October 9, 2006

In News

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Wiesenthal Centre Works with Frankfurt Book Fair to Identify Exhibitors Who Incite to Hate and Violence

Despite efforts by officials of the Frankfurt Book Fair to eliminate the inclusion of antisemitic books in the 2006 Fair, the Simon Wiesenthal Center has identified hate material at some Arab, Turkish and German vendors.

Dr. Shimon Samuels, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Director for International Relations, who is in Frankfurt monitoring the world’s largest publishers gathering , reported “a significant decrease in antisemitic hate books compared to the 2004 Frankfurt Bookfair, “in comparison with the 2004, when the Frankfurt Book Fair honoured the Arab World, and 2005’s Iranian display of
antisemitic texts.”

Newly appointed Frankfurt Book Fair Director, Jürgen Boos, met with senior Wiesenthal Centre officials last Spring to cooperate in expelling hate from this year’s Fair.

In a letter of 19 September, Boos had assured Dr. Samuels, that Boos had “coordinated in good time with the Public Prosecutor’s office and the Security Commissioner’s Department(Staatschutzkommissariat) in order to ensure that no works identified as containing incitement to violence, or as defamatory, are exhibited at the Frankfurt Book Fair”.

During his two-day monitoring effort at the opening of the event, Samuels presented photgraphs of offensive publications to the Fair’s Director, including:

  • At Stand 5.0.B908 of the General Egyptian Book Organization of Cairo, a book entitled, ‘Jews in Nineteenth Century English Literature’, 2006, the cover depicting a top hat in a Star of David. This seemingly literary study is replete with antisemitic stereotypes, taken from period authors, with the clear intent to demonize the Jews of today.
  • At Stand 5.1E953, The Association of Press and Publicity of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey exhibits three antisemitic conspiracy theory editions based upon the notorious Tsarist forgery, ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,’ which historians have labeled ‘a warrant for genocide.’ These are:
  • ‘Buyuk Israil Stratejisi’ (The Greater Israel Strategy) by Hikmet Erdoglu, published by IQ Kulturçanat Yayicçik, Istanbul 2005. Portraying hostile stereotypes, the text is a saga of Jewish plots against Turkey.
  • ‘Israil in Sifresi’ (The Password of Israel) by Hakan Yilmaz Çebi, published by Pegasus Yayinlari, Istanbul 2006. It is argued that the Torah reveals, through the alphabetic code, how the Mossad is preparing a Third World War. The countries that will supposedly be destroyed by Israel include Turkey.
  • ‘JudaSofya: Hidden Intrigues Behind the Aya Sofya and the Patriarch’ also by Hakan Yilmaz Çebi and published by Pegasus Yayinlari, Istanbul 2006. How the Jews are manipulating the return of the Aya Sofya Mosque of Istanbul to Greek control.

This case is most troubling in that this is a Turkish government-sponsored display, when Turkey has just been selected to be the 2008 Honouree of the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Perhaps more insidious are children’s storybooks ubiquitously depicting Stars of David as the bogey monsters of infant nightmares:

“These are clearly presented on Stand 5.0.D938 of the Palestinian Territories where the Tamar Institute for Community Education, Ramallah,offers a series from 2003 to 2005 of “Stories for Palestinian Children” during the Intifada.

At German book stalls at the Fair’s entrance, there is a semi-hidden array of Nazi memorabilia (books, prints, postcards) and some neo-Nazi pamphlets, such as on the attached photo ‘USA: Traum oder Albtraum?’ (USA: Dream or Nightmare?) by Martin Luther II. It shows President Bush manipulating a terrorist’s puppet in one hand, and an Ariel Sharon wearing a Kippah, waving a Star of David missile.”

Dr. Samuels report to Boos continued, “These publications surely contravene German law on incitement and defamation and, as per your request, we are sharing these findings with the Hessen Public Prosecutor, Jörg Claude.”

Finally, the Wiesenthal Center urged Director Boos “to advise those exhibitors, clearly identified above, that, in view of their abuse of contractual obligations and your good faith, they will be excluded from the 2007 Frankfurt Book Fair.”

“By setting this example, the next Fair may become truly hate-free,” Samuels concluded.

For further information, please contact Shimon Samuels at +33.609.77.01.58.

To view photos, click here…