HarperCollins has produced at atlas for use in English-speaking schools in the Middle East that features a conspicuous omission. There’s Gaza, and there’s the West Bank. Jordan and Lebanon are accounted for. But…where is Israel?
I naively would have expected HarperCollins to say we weren’t looking hard enough, or attribute the omission to a lack of space. But no:
Collins Bartholomew, the subsidiary of HarperCollins that specialises in maps, told The Tablet that including Israel would have been “unacceptable” to their customers in the Gulf and the amendment incorporated “local preferences”.
So the Muslim countries have gone around the bend, and apparently they are taking the rest of us with them. It is now the business of map-makers to depict the globe not as it is, but as customers wish it to be. Well, if HarperCollins is interested, I’ve got some “local preferences” I would like to see incorporated in their next atlas. If we can solve the world’s problems by the simple expedient of–literally–wiping troublesome regions off the map, I’ve got some suggestions I’d be happy to pass on.