The State Department acknowledged that the U.S. government participated in a book fair in the United Arab Emirates in which anti-Semitic screeds including Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” were on display.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Monday that while the U.S. supports “freedom of expression,” it condemns the “hateful materials” — which also included “jihadi” texts — that were part of a book fair in Abu Dhabi.
“We obviously condemn in the strongest terms the anti-Semitic ideas promulgated by certain booksellers at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. The United States is listed as one of many, quote, ‘cultural partners’ of the Abu Dhabi Book Fair,” Harf said.
“In this case, like many other countries, the United States simply hosted a booth at the fair staffed by U.S. Embassy personnel. Again, we support freedom of expression broadly speaking. That’s why we participate in these kind of events,” Harf said, adding that the U.S. still “absolutely” condemned the materials.
The European Jewish Press reported over the weekend that the State Department was listed as a “cultural partner” of the 24th Abu Dhabi International Book Fair that ended on Monday where the anti-Semitic books that have historically fueled anti-Semitism were on display.
Among the publications in both English and Arabic were “Mein Kampf,” “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion” and Henry Ford’s “The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem.”
According to European Jewish Press, “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion” — which promotes the conspiracy that Jews are planning global domination — is the second-most published book in the Arab world.
On the other hand, the book fair for the first time displayed educational books about the Holocaust, including Arabic translations of Anne Frank’s “Diary of a Young Girl” and Italian Holocaust survivor Primo Levi’s “If This Is a Man,” the European Jewish Press reported.
Studying the Holocaust is considered taboo in many parts of the Arab world, as demonstrated most recently in the accusations of treason for a Palestinian professor and his students who visited the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz last month as part of an academic study on empathy between Arabs and Jews.
“We welcome reports the organizers of the book fair removed both anti-Semitic and jihadi texts from display, and that these hateful materials represented only a miniscule percentage of the literature on display, which, again, is not acceptable,” Harf said Monday, adding that she doubted that U.S. officials knew before the book fair opened that the anti-Semitic materials would be displayed.
“I’m sure we always make every effort not to be a part of events where there is gross anti-Semitic literature,” she said.