Paris calls public school map showing Israel as ‘Palestine’ a ‘production error’


(JTA) — Responding to parents who complained about the distribution at public schools of a map which labeled Israel as “Palestine,” the City of Paris said it was the result of “a simple production error.”

The city’s media department gave the explanation in a statement it published Friday about the distribution earlier this year to elementary school pupils of a calendar that contains a map of Europe and parts of the Middle East.

The map, which ends north of central Israel and the West Bank, designates the territory of Israel included in it as “Palestine,” alongside Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey. In addition to omitting Israel’s name, it contains no mention of Saudi Arabia and Jordan, though it contains parts of those countries, according to a reproduction of the map published by the news site

“The borders of the map divide incorrectly the geographic area occupied by Israel and Palestine,” read the city’s statement, which referenced angry reactions by parents to the map distributed by the League against Cancer. “The city affirms that this constitutes no adoption of any political stance.”

The city noted that the calendar included an additional international map where both Israel and what the municipality’s statement referred to as “Palestine” are listed.

In addition to textbooks throughout the Muslim world, Israel’s name sometimes is absent from atlases, textbooks and official publications by firms seeking to avoid angering Arab consumers over Israel.

In many cases, rebuke about these omissions have resulted in corrections citing technical problems.

In August, Air France said it “deeply regrets” the technical problems that omitted Tel Aviv and Jerusalem from in-flight map displays that showed Gaza and the West Bank. In November, the French kitchenware company Tefal, which omitted its Israeli distributors from its website, also pulled its entry for “Palestine” amid protests, citing a “techincal problem.”

And in May, a Dutch restaurant cited “culinary reasons” for omitting Israel from its maps of the Middle East.

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