HarperCollins, one of the largest publishers in the world, is selling English-language atlases to Middle East schools that leave out Israel entirely due to “local preferences,” The Telegraph reports.
The omission, first cited by the Catholic newspaper The Tablet, allows Jordan and Syria to extend all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. The maps do mark the position of Gaza.
The atlases without Israel were sold by Collins Bartholomew, the HarperCollins subsidiary that specializes in maps. Collins Bartholomew told The Guardian that including Israel would have been “unacceptable” to customers in the Gulf and that “local preferences” led them to leave the country out.
“The publication of this atlas will confirm Israel’s belief that there exists a hostility towards their country from parts of the Arab world,” Bishop Declan Lang, chairman of the Bishops’ Conference Department of International Affairs, told The Tablet.
Now the company is walking that decision back and promises to destroy the incorrect maps.
“HarperCollins regrets the omission of the name Israel from their Collins Middle East Atlas,” a HarperCollins spokesman told The Telegraph. “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 offense caused.”