HarperCollins and the ultimate map of Israel insult
By Harold Witkov
I had a non-Jewish girlfriend my first year at College some four decades ago. I remember being at her home one day and visiting with her and her mother. The mood was light and we were kidding one another, and then her mother said to me that I had the "map of Israel" on my face.
Being caught off guard and not being familiar with the expression, I was at a loss for words. Sensing I had become uncomfortable, my girlfriend's mother explained to me that I had a very Jewish looking face. She assured me I was an attractive young man and that it was not meant to be an insult.
The idea that I had a Jewish look never bothered me. Today, I guess you could even say I wear my "map of Israel" face rather proudly.
I always thought my girlfriend's mother was a decent person. I did not believe she had spoken with any malice. It was not a big deal to me. I did not take what she said back then as an insult, and I do not consider it as an insult today.
The real "map of Israel" insult came my way, however, just recently, when I found out that the New York City based HarperCollins publishing giant omitted Israel from the atlases they sell to their Arab nation school customers. Not only did I see this action as a personal affront to me, but an affront to Jews everywhere and an obvious affront the nation of Israel.
As a matter of fact, by omitting the sovereign nation of Israel from their Middle East maps, HarperCollins has insulted the science of cartography and the great pioneer map makers of antiquity. Men like Anaximander and Eratosthenes, although not household names, were great contributors to society who shared one commonality regarding their map making science: they pursued accuracy. But thanks to HarperCollins, a publisher that specializes in education, the science of cartography has taken one humongous step backwards, and Anaximander and Eratosthenes are probably turning over in their graves.
Now that HarperCollins has been exposed, they have apologized, promised to purge their misleading and misguided maps, and print accurate new ones. That is all fine and dandy, but I have a suggestion for their next future map making business venture. I would like to see HarperCollins design and distribute a Northeast Asia map that omits North Korea.
Harold Witkov is an occasional contributor to Enter Stage Right. © 2015 Harold Witkov