Book fair Israeli culture

Nidra Poller: Paris Book Fair Sees Massive Purchase of Israeli Books…….

While the many Arab states that chose to behave like spoiled children and boycott the Paris book fair, due to Israel’s participation as a guest of honour, all of those who did attend were treated to a wonderful event.

During the 6 days of the event, Israel sold 21 000 books, as its venue -filled with tables overflowing with books by 39 authors- were continually surrounded by people who were interested in what was being offered, as well as getting a chance to speak with the authors.

Nidra Poller, writing in today’s FPM, has more to say about the highly successful book fair and her impression of those who never quite managed to rise to the occasion.

“The Israeli stand, crowned with Yisroel in bold Hebrew letters, was a haven of peace and a beehive of activity. Every inch of space around the book tables was occupied, every encounter with one of the 39 featured writers was filled to overflowing, 21,000 books were sold in 6 days. It seemed at times that all the energy of the vast exhibition hall gravitated to the bright, warm, welcoming oasis of Israel. Writers, organizers, translators, interpreters, and the French publishers of the invited writers were delighted.

The absence of Muslim countries, from the UAE to Yemen, was neither audible nor visible. By contrast, Israel was ever-present in literary magazines, literary sections of national papers, and on the airwaves.

If the purpose of the boycott was to close down the show, pack up the books, and send the Israelis home in disgrace, it was a complete failure. But if it was one small gesture in a relentless strategy to destroy the Jewish state, it was a smashing success. It imposed an insane equation on a supposedly intelligent debate:

Israeli writers should be respected because they make the sublime effort to accept their Arab neighbors, while these same neighbors refused to stand under the same roof with Israel on the hallowed cultural ground of a book fair! States like Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, Libya, invited by President Nicolas Sarkozy to join a Mediterranean Union of peace, harmony, and prosperity wouldn’t even stand side by side with Israel at a Book Fair. More here.

There were of course those who took the opportunity to use the occasion for their own political reasons and attended the book fair, to pass out literature or hold pictures that cast Israel in the worst possible light. But these types of attention seekers are a dime a dozen, and once seen, well they have been seen.

The Gates of Vienna sends the following link to an article about the upcoming book fair in Turin Italy, to which Israel has also been invited to participate as a honored guest. The Free Palestine organisation, which was created to help with a boycott of the book fair, now plans to disrupt it as much as possible with rallies and demonstrations. Hopefully it’ll end with Israel selling even more books, and most importantly, winning over more friends. More here. *L* KGS

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