From The Telegraph:
HarperCollins, one of the world's largest publishing houses, sells English-language atlases to schools in the Middle East that omit Israel.The description of the book at their resellers emphasizes that it is meant only for schools in "Middle East" countries. well, all of them except one:
Collins Middle East Atlases show Jordan and Syria extending to the Mediterranean but do mark the position of the West Bank.
“The publication of this atlas will confirm Israel’s belief that there exists a hostility towards their country from parts of the Arab world. It will not help to build up a spirit of trust leading to peaceful co-existence,” said Bishop Declan Lang, the chairman of the Bishops' Conference Department of International Affairs, to The Tablet.
“Maps can be a very powerful tool in terms of de-legitimising 'the other' and can lead to confusion rather than clarity. We would be keen to see relevant bodies ensure that all atlases anywhere reflect the official United Nations position on nations, boundaries and all political features," added Dr Jane Clements, director of the Council of Christians and Jews.
However, Collins Bartholomew, the subsidiary of HarperCollins that specialises in maps, said that including Israel would have been “unacceptable” to their customers in the Gulf and the amendment incorporated “local preferences”.
The Tablet said it had discovered the customs officers in one unnamed Gulf country only permitting the import of school atlases once Israel had been deleted by hand.
An ideal school atlas for young primary school geographers. Content is specifically designed for schools in Middle East countries. It enables students to learn about the world today by exploring clear and engaging maps, study satellite imagery, understand key facts and statistics, and learn how maps and atlases work.But their main webpage for the book doesn't mention the caveat of its intended audience.
The atlas has been developed specifically for schools in the Middle East. It has been designed to stimulate and inspire students with its syllabus specific content.
The maps give in-depth coverage of the region and its issues. Topics included in the atlas help pupils to understand the relationship between the social and physical environment, the regions’s challenges, its socio-economic development and inter-relationships with neighbouring regions and the wider world.
HarperCollins describes itself this way:
We love maps! We have done for almost 200 years, and we've been a leading publisher of maps and atlases all that time. Our focus is to produce clear, up-to-date, and informative map products to enable you to find the information you need quickly and easily."Informative" being a relative term.
People who produce schoolbooks, as well as people who create maps, have an obligation to their profession to ensure accuracy. To hear HarperCollins defend itself because the intended audience doesn't like reality is as poor an excuse as one can imagine. Should science textbooks include creationism for that reason?
Here's another map from the book.
(h/t Adam Levick)