PARIS—The annual book fair in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, features a high volume of antisemitic books, according to Shimon Samuels, Director for International Relations for the Simon Wiesenthal Centre.
Samuels, who monitors every year the six Arab book fairs, stressed that ‘’antisemitic texts are sadly the most numerous in Riyadh.’’
He wrote a protest letter to the Saudi Arabian Minister of Information and Media, Turki bin Abdullah Al-Shabbana, noting, “We are well aware that, in view of Iranian aggressive intent, Saudi Arabia is changing its operational policy toward Israel and the Jewish people.”
He added, “This welcome rapprochement, based on mutual interests, is however impugned by continued incitement to hate among the broader Saudi public, as in the case of displays on the stands of the Book Fair.”
The letter stated that, “While the Kingdom vets all displays for any texts that may offend Islam, the shelves are replete with antisemitic conspiracies, Holocaust denial and slandering of the Jewish State.”
Samuels presented the Minister a selection of this hatemongering based on hi monitoring and urged him “to adopt the necessary measures to vet participating publishers for all forms of hate, on the same level as offences to Islam… We suggest that a paragraph be included in the contract signed by the stands with the Fair, prohibiting all incitement to hatred and violence.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre offered “to assist Riyadh in identifying violations of such contractual obligations, just as we do with the Frankfurt Book Fair and Embassies represented in each Fair.”