Category Archives: Israel

Nation of Israel excluded in HarperCollins atlas

(Copy of Atlas without Israel, courtesy The Tablet)

By Spencer D Gear

What would you think if your nation was wiped from the map by a major publisher. That’s exactly what happened with Israel win an atlas published by HarperCollins. Therefore, I complained. I sent this email to [email protected] on 4 January 2015 regarding the following issue.

Dear HarperCollins staff,

Yesterday, January 3, 2015, the Brisbane Times published an article that brought to my attention what your company has done in publishing an atlas of the Middle East that excludes the nation of Israel. Take a read of, ‘Israel missing from HarperCollins atlases sold to Middle East schools‘. I write to protest at what you, one of the world’s largest publishers, have done with this censorship of a sovereign nation – a country that has been a nation since 1948.

This seems to be political correctness gone a-muck with one branch of HarperCollins responding, according to this article,: ‘Collins Bartholomew, a subsidiary of HarperCollins that specialises in maps, told the Tablet that it would have been “unacceptable” to include Israel in atlases intended for the Middle East. They had deleted Israel to satisfy “local preferences”‘.

Please tell me why your company has deliberately published an atlas of the Middle East and you have censored Israel to take it right off the atlas?

If this is your approach to politically correct publishing, I’ll be very selective in purchasing anything from you and I’ll be telling my friends to steer clear of HarperCollins or be very wary of purchasing from you.

No matter how much HarperCollins apologises, this leaves me with some significant questions:

  • What would cause any publisher to wipe a country entirely off the map – annihilate it geographically? It’s a nation that was declared a nation in 1948.
  • What influences would cause a publisher to do this?
  • How could a publisher send an atlas to editors for final editing and then publishing and this exclusion is not noted or corrected?

I look forward to your response.

No reply from HarperCollins

At the time of writing this article, 23 March 2015, I had received no response to the feedback of complaint that I sent by email to HarperCollins.

The Tablet report

The Tablet, the International Catholic News Weekly, reported on 31 December 2014, in an article, ‘HarperCollins pulps school atlas that omits Israel’,

The publishers HarperCollins is withdrawing from sale an atlas that omitted Israel from its maps after the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said it was harmful to peace efforts in the Middle East.

The Tablet‘s story about the the Middle East Atlas, which shows Jordan and Syria extending all the way to the Mediterranean Sea, was widely reported and caused an international outcry. Collins Middle East Atlases were sold to English-speaking schools in the Muslim-majority Gulf, and publicity about their existence has embarrassed the publishing giant.

In a statement on its Facebook page, HarperCollins said: “HarperCollins regrets the omission of the name Israel from their Collins Middle East Atlas. This product has now been removed from sale in all territories and all remaining stock will be pulped. HarperCollins sincerely apologises for this omission and for any offence caused”….

At the time, Bishop Declan Lang, chairman of the Bishops’ Conference Department of International Affairs, told The Tablet: “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.”

The Tablet has also learned of customs officers in one Gulf nation allowing school atlases to reach their intended recipient only once Israel had been struck out by hand.

Dr Jane Clements, director of the Council of Christians and Jews, told The Tablet that maps that excluded Israel risked causing confusion and de-legitimising the nation in the eyes of the students who used the atlases.

I am grateful that The Tablet published this information about censorship of Israel.


Copyright © 2015 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 4 June 2016.