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Paris book fair boycotted by Islamic countries

The Salon du Livre, an international book fair in Paris, is being boycotted by a coalition of Islamic nations unhappy with the decision to award the ‘Pavilion of Honour’ to Israeli writers.

From The Guardian:

The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Isesco) has urged its 50 members to boycott the fair, which starts on March 14. So far, Iran, Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon and Tunisia have confirmed they are to pull out.

A statement issued by Isesco said that “the crimes against humanity Israel is perpetrating in the Palestinian territories” make it an unworthy recipient of the honour.

Christine de Mazières, speaking for the French Publishers’ Association who organise the Salon, said it was an unfortunate move. “What is happening in the Middle East is very sad, but it is not linked to our event.” Israel, she stressed, was not being honoured for its politics but for its writers, such as Amos Oz and David Grossman, both of whom are due to appear at the event. All of the countries now pulling out, Ms de Mazières said, were aware of the Israeli honour at the time they signed up.

Oz and Grossman are both outspoken peace activists and highly critical of Israeli aggression.