Islamic Group Calls for Boycott of Event

March 6, 2008


Source: The Columbus Dispatch

Wire Service: AP

Israeli writers will be the toast of the Salon du Livre international book fair this month, but some Arab intellectuals argue that honoring Israel's literature has brought dishonor upon France.

The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has urged its 50 member states to boycott the March 14-19 event. The fair's organizer said that he regrets the uproar: He wanted to honor books, not take sides in international politics.

"I'm not a government minister. My job is to bring literature to readers," Serge Eyrolles said. "I'm very surprised by how political this is getting."

Each year, the international fair puts the spotlight on one country. This year, it is inviting 39 writers from Israel, including David Grossman, Amos Oz, A.B. Yehoshua and Aharon Appelfeld. A similar controversy is brewing about the May book fair in Turin, Italy, which is also highlighting Israeli works.