Publisher Cites ‘Local Preferences’ For Omitting Israel From Kid’s Maps, Amazon Answers Back

Justin Streight - Author
By

Jan. 2 2015, Updated 6:34 p.m. ET

For days, publisher HarperCollins has been reeling from the international outcry after the company omitted Israel from atlas maps intended for Middle Eastern middle schoolers. HarperCollins swiftly apologized for the incident and discontinued the item, but not before explaining that it would have been “unacceptable” to include Israel because of “local preferences.” 115 reviewers on Amazon gave the atlas just one star.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, HarperCollins has made an official apology for omitting Israel from its Atlas.

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“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.”

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But, the atlas omission was more than just a printing error. According to the Telegraph, the publisher explained that they were at the mercy of their customers, who would have found it “unacceptable” for an atlas to include Israel because of the “local preferences.”

Bishop Declan Lang explained to the Tablet that the maps were harmful to Israel’s position in the Middle East, because it serves as proof of regional hostilities.

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“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.”

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Maps, especially ones for educational purposes, are regularly used as tools to hurt the legitimacy of hated national rivals. Maps in South Korea, for example, exclude North Korea. But that a U.K./U.S. based company would exclude a critical fact from a map because of political pressures may seem like a troubling precedent.

So what do Amazon customers think of the inaccurate maps?

The reviews are overwhelmingly negative, with 115 reviewers giving one star to the book. Twelve others still gave the atlas five stars, and nobody gave a rating anywhere in-between. Some of the reviewers posted their outrage.

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“Is Harper Collins owned by an Arab sheik, I wonder? No excuse for this.”

“Did they seriously cater to hate and anti-Semitism?”

“What an absurd idea! Wiping countries off the map in a primary school atlas!!! Aren’t maps meant to be accurate? Imagine using the map to get to the region, running into the state of Israel and exclaiming ‘What’s this? It’s not on the map!'”

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That reviewer tongue-lashing may make the international publisher think twice next time it omits Israel from middle school maps.

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