Shame on HarperCollins.
Only after public rebuke, the publisher has stopped selling a student atlas that, by design, omitted the state of Israel.
The story was broken by UK publication The Tablet and reporters Abigail Frymann Rouch and Elena Curti. Note the explanation from a HarperCollins official, which is particularly egregious:
Earlier, Collins Bartholomew, the subsidiary of HarperCollins that specialises in maps, had told The Tablet that including Israel in the Middle East Atlas would have been “unacceptable” to its customers in the Gulf and that the amendment incorporated “local preferences.”
“The atlas has been developed specifically for schools in the Middle East. It has been designed to stimulate and inspire students with its syllabus specific content. The maps give in-depth coverage of the region and its issues. Topics included in the atlas help pupils to understand the relationship between the social and physical environment, the regions’s challenges, its socio-economic development and inter-relationships with neighbouring regions and the wider world. The mapping is accompanied by facts, diagrams, graphs cross sections, and statistics at country, regional, continental and global level.”
In case HarperCollins removes the web page, here’s a screen-grab image:
Well, HarperCollins sure did get one thing right. The Israel-less map certainly highlights a critical regional challenge: the continuing and decades-long unwillingness for most of Israel’s neighbors to publicly recognize and accept the Jewish state of Israel.
There’s a business concept about companies being willing to fire customers, typically referenced in the context of customers who are unprofitable or overly difficult to work with. Harper Collins should have simply told its customer NO for demanding a map omitting Israel. For such a project, HarperCollins should have been willing to fire its customer.
The division of HarperCollins that produced the atlas is Collins Bartholomew. Here’s how they describe themselves on their website:
“Collins Bartholomew has been in the business of map production for over 175 years and has a worldwide reputation for providing a high quality custom and digital mapping service to a variety of markets, as well as delivering an extensive list of published products for its own parent, HarperCollins Publishers.”
Geo Sales Executive