Israel has been included on the world's maps for many years, but publishing giant HarperCollins left the Jewish nation off its atlases developed for schools in the Middle East, saying they deleted the country to satisfy "local preferences."
Until this week, the British company had been selling the atlas for several months, calling it a work that provides schoolchildren with an "in-depth coverage of the region and its issues" while helping children understand the "relationship between the social and physical environment, the region's challenges and its socio-economic development," reports The Washington Post.
All except for Israel. The West Bank is represented, as well as Syria, Jordan, and Gaza, but no Israel, reports The Tablet, an international Catholic publication that first reported the omission earlier this week in a report that drew international outcry and prompted HarperCollins to announce on Facebook Wednesday that it is removing the atlas from all territories "and all remaining stock will be pulped."
But even with the pullback, the atlas remained posted for sale on the HarperCollins website Friday morning while the damage control efforts continued.
Earlier this week, Collins Bartholomew, a subsidiary of HarperCollins that specializes in maps, told The Tablet that it left Israel out of its Middle East Atlas because including the country would have been "unacceptable" to Gulf customers, and that "local preferences" were taken into consideration.
HarperCollins UK:On Amazon, the atlas is only for sale by third-party sellers, and every reviewer has given it only one star ratings.
"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."
"I find it absolutely ridiculous that the publishers at HarperCollins would intentionally leave an entire nation off of their atlas in order to appease the backwards views of their customer base," one reviewer said. "This is not education, this is furtherance of generations of intolerance and hate that needs to stop here and now. Whatever you do, do not purchase this publication."
There are also many who can't quite grasp what HarperCollins had been trying to do with the atlas, and say it will confirm Israel's belief that there is hostility toward their nation.
"The publication of this atlas will confirm Israel’s belief that there exists hostility toward their country from parts of the Arab world," British Bishop Declan Lang told The Tablet. "It will not help to build up a spirit of trust leading to peaceful co-existence."