Frankfurt, 22 October 2023
Since the early 2000s, The Wiesenthal Centre has been annually monitoring the Frankfurt Book Fair (FBM – Frankfurter Buchmesse), which takes place every October. During the previous 12 months, our Centre monitors other similar Fairs, in Arab countries, but also in Europe, to find the titles and publishers fomenting hate and antisemitism, which are then signalled to the “Fair of Fairs” of Frankfurt. We suggest that the recidivists be denied access, in the spirit of the Fair’s rules.
Our approach this year has been shaped by the sudden attack by Palestinian terror group Hamas on Israeli soil, that caused at least 1,300 murdered and close to 200 kidnapped, including babies, children, teenagers, women, elderly, Holocaust survivors, foreigners from at least 20 other countries... all treated with inhumane brutality.
The ensuing conflict has taken up much of the debate, to the point that delivering a prize to Palestinian author Adania Shibli at the Fair had been postponed, as a measure to avoid the possible risk of a pro-Gaza rally.
This precautionary decision led to a walkout of many Arab and Iranian publishers, with some exceptions. The remaining Saudi, Omani, Emirati, or even the Egyptian stand presented very few books of interest for our monitoring activity.
Thus, our focus went to the Turkish and Western stands.
The official stand of Türkiye (Hall 5.0, Stand B163) presented, among others, publications that relay the narrative of the Muslim Brotherhood, a panarabic Islamist consortium that manipulates its constituency towards a “clash of civilizations”. Several publishers, previously unknown to us, featured pro-Palestinian propaganda books, and a full series (all published between 2020 and 2022) by the infamous Roger Garaudy.
Philosopher and historical polemist, Garaudy (1913-2012) was a Communist militant until 1970. In search of a cause, he met Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and read his political pamphlet, “The Green Book”. In 1982, he converted at a Geneva Islamic Centre controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Many of Roger Garaudy’s books are published by Timas Yayinlari. At the FBM, we identified the following:
1) “Israel Myths and Terror” (in Turkish: “İsrail Mitler Ve Terör”)
First published in 1996, with the original title “The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics”, this book rejects the Jewish claim to a homeland in the ‘Levant’ and thus the legitimacy of the State of Israel. Garaudy argued the Bible was a “theological myth” and that the “six million Holocaust victims was also a myth”, a “Zionist conspiracy” to dispossess the Palestinians of their homeland. Garaudy also portrays Zionism as a terrorist and racist ideology that is dependent on antisemitism. These defamatory theories had this book banned in France and Garaudy condemned by French and European courts for antisemitism and Holocaust denial. The Turkish publisher on its website defines Garaudy as “a great philosopher, a true thinker, condemned because of this book that screams the truth in all its nakedness!”
2) “The Case of Israel: A Study of Political Zionism”
First published in 1983, at the turning point between a Communist past and Garaudy’s embrace of political Islam, this book had set the foundations for his anti-Zionist conspiracy theories, later expressed in “The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics” (see above).
3) “The American Myths - US Philosophy to Rule the World”
First published in 1998 under the title “The United States of America is the Vanguard of Decadence”, attacks liberal democracy and views the American “model” as a “disease.”
4) “Palestine, Land of Divine Messages”
In this book, Garaudy announces that “Israel will be the cause of a Third World War” and reveals an outlandish “conspiracy between Hitler and the Jews.”
Among other Turkish titles and publishers:
5) “Nakba 1948, 70 Years of Palestinian Tragedy” (by Buyuk Felaket, Mihrabad Publications)
A book commemorating the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) of 1948, following the failure of the Arab war to stem the creation of the State of Israel. This book unilaterally recounts “massacres, oppression and exile of 750 thousand Palestinians”, providing no hint of the fate of close to 900 thousand Jews who were persecuted, lynched or expelled from their hometowns in the Middle East and North Africa.
6) “Name of the Rebellion; Palestine - Intifada will Win” (curated by Yucel Demirer and Sibel Ozbudun, Utopya Publisher)
This essay celebrates the Palestinian Intifada, while gathering a series of interviews and quotes by Arafat, Barghouti, Brzezinsky, Chomsky, Kissinger and Netanyahu, among others.
7) “Judaization of Palestine and Israel’s Strategy for 2097” (by Ali Arslan, Stratejik Rekabet Publishing)
A geopolitical analysis or a conspiracy theory on a purported “territorial expansion” of Israel?
8) “Regional Actors - Palestine Policies” (by Haci Mehmet Boyraz and others, Aktif Books)
The cover shows a “Palestine” map outline that includes all of Israel.
Two other Western stands:
Interlink Publishing (Hall 5.1, Stand C79) with a placard “We stand with Gaza" showing a multitude of pro-Palestinian anti-Zionist books with some unsettling titles:
9) “Palestine Hijacked - How Zionism Forged an Apartheid State from River to Sea” (by Thomas Suarez).
10) “Reclaiming Judaism from Zionism - Stories of Personal Transformation” (edited by Carolyn L. Karcher).
11) “Wrestling with Zionism - Jewish Voices of Dissent” (by Daphna Levit)
These last two books seemed in the lineage of the so-called “self-hating” Jews.
Finally, La Fabrique Editions (Hall 5.0, Stand D97, apparently in common with other French publishers). Apart from expressing their solidarity with the author Adania Shibli (see above), they added “Palestinians won’t be silenced” and “publishers against genocide”. Generally representing the radical left, their books included:
12) “A Legitimate Boycott - For University and Cultural BDS” (by Eyal Sivan and Armelle Laborie). The BDS campaign is aimed at delegitimizing Israel.
13) “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions - BDS Against the Apartheid and Occupation of Palestine” (by Omar Barghouti, the father of the BDS movement and one of the instigators of the Palestinian Intifada).
Needless to say, the 2023 annual Wiesenthal Centre “Hate Prize” goes to publisher Timas Yayinlari of Türkiye, for embracing a Holocaust denier and conspiracy theorist.
The "Runner-Up Prize" is shared by Interlink and La Fabrique, for their combined effort to demonize Israel and indulge in antisemitism.
Dr Shimon Samuels
Director for International Relations
Simon Wiesenthal Centre
AM YISRAEL HAI - May the People of Israel Survive
Free the Hostages!
* * *
For further information, contact email@example.com