HarperCollins, a preeminent world-wide publishing company, had originally planned to sell atlases to schools in the Middle East with Israel removed from the map. In that edition, only Gaza and the West Bank would exist.
The maps were “developed specifically for schools” in the Middle East and would “give in-depth coverage of the region and its issues,” the HarperCollins website description of the atlas said.
A subsidiary of HarperCollins had originally stated that including Israel would simply be “unacceptable” to Middle East countries that wanted their “local preferences” met. The statement likely came because most Middle East countries do not recognize the Jewish state of Israel.
In a change of events, HarperCollins folded to complaints from groups and individuals that insisted their world maps should actually be accurate and include sovereign countries such as Israel.
“HarperCollins regrets omission of the name Israel from their Collins Middle East Atlas,” a spokesman for the company said Wednesday, reported the Daily Mail. “This product has now been removed from sale in all territories and all remaining stock will be pulped. HarperCollins sincerely apologizes for this omission and for any offence caused.” The publisher, however, refused to elaborate on why Israel was taken off the map in the first place.
Furthermore, the atlas remained available on the sites of major booksellers such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble on Thursday, the Times of Israel reported.
Last year, publisher Scholastic created a similar map in a children’s book that simply erased Israel from existence. Scholastic later apologized, describing Israel’s removal as an “error.”