vrijdag 14 maart 2008

Islamitische landen boycotten boekenbeurs Parijs

Zouden ze de Olympische Spelen in Beiing ook boycotten?
Alles wat Israëlisch is wordt al 60 jaar geboycot door de meeste Arabische staten, dus het is niets nieuws, en heeft niets te maken met de situatie in de Gazastrook of Westoever.


Paris Book Burning
March 12, 2008

Then, in Paris, they came for the novelists.

One by one, from Morocco to Saudi Arabia to Iran, Muslim governments have signed up for the boycott of the international book fair opening Friday in the French capital. The reason? It showcases Israeli literature this year -- which, by mere coincidence organizers say, happens to be the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Jewish state.

Impromptu or official boycotts of Israeli commercial goods or national sports teams are nothing new. But the assault on words -- merely for being written in Hebrew by writers who happen to carry Israeli passports -- adds a revealing wrinkle to a familiar story.

The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization late last month cited Israeli "atrocities, oppression and imposed starvation and siege against the Palestinian people" in its call for governments to keep their writers and books away from Paris. As did the Arab League.
Tariq Ramadan, the Oxford scholar and grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, proclaimed in Le Monde that the "fair can't celebrate the Jewish state and ignore the fate of the Palestinians."

Aware of his Western audience, the pop Islamist intellectual was quick to stress that "political criticism [of Israel] and anti-Semitism" aren't the same thing. Sure -- except we're not talking about politics here. Culture expresses a people's essential identity and the coordinated Muslim assault ahead of the book fair expresses a not so latent anti-Semitism.

The richness of Israeli society, as shown through its thriving arts scene, makes an illusive target for such venom. Joining Amos Oz and Aharon Appelfeld in the national delegation of 39 writers in Paris will be Israeli Arabs Sayed Kashua and Naim Araidi.

An Israeli Jewish poet, Aaron Shabtai, declined the invitation. "I don't think that a state that maintains an occupation, that every day commits crimes against civilians, deserves to be invited to a week devoted to culture. That's anti-cultural." Working in the Middle East's most vibrant democracy, Mr. Shabtai is free to make his choice and publicly proclaim it.

His peers in the Muslim world don't have that privilege. Moroccan novelist Abdelouahab Errami told Le Journal du Dimanche of his "disappointment" at the boycott. "I don't share the position of my government. But I won't go.... It is difficult to have a different individual position without exposing yourself to a campaign of pressure."

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on Opinion Journal.

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