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French Magazine Pulled for Saying Israel is 'Unreal Country'

French Magazine Pulled for Saying Israel is 'Unreal Country'

Thursday, 28 December, 2017 - 08:15
French newspapers the day after the 2005 referendum when French voters rejected the European constitution. AFP / Getty Images

Publishers Bayard has pulled one of its magazines from shops and libraries on Tuesday, because it published a map saying Israel is not a real country. This step came following angry protests from the Council of Jewish Institutions (Crif).

Youpi magazine’s January issue carries a map of the world with the following legend: "We call these 197 countries states, like France, Germany or Algeria. There are other ones but not everyone agrees they are real countries (for example the State of Israel and North Korea)."

Besides pulling the magazine from the market, Bayard’s Managing Director Pascal Ruffenach said in a statement: “We recognize our mistake, it was not well put, and obviously we do not want to contest the existence of the state of Israel," adding that withdrawing the issue voluntarily and in good faith because it is important to contribute to the spirit of calm.

For his part, Francis Kalifat, head of the French Council of Jewish Institutions (Crif), said he had been tipped off by readers about this historical untruth being feed to young children aged between five and eight.

“I immediately wrote to the editor and the head of Bayard to protest about this flagrant error and to demand they rectify it,” he noted.

As the concerned party has responded to the request, Kalifat considers the matter was terminated and there is no need to further controversy.

However, Crif has demanded that the magazine run a correction in its next issue as well as an article explaining what Israel is and how it came into existence.

Ruffenach, however, refused to be drawn, saying that the December issue explained the major religions to children.

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