Malaysia Follows Indonesia: Withdraws from Frankfurt Book Fair over Committee's Pro-Israeli Fan
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Malaysia's Ministry of Education withdrew from participation in the 2023 Frankfurt Book Fair because it considers the organizers to pro-Israel. The decision came amid increasing global polarization over the ongoing conflict between Israeli forces and Palestinian Hamas.
The day before, the Indonesian Publishers Association (Ikapi) canceled its participation in the Frankfurt Book Fair following a statement from the organizer that they support and provide publishers and writers from Israel.
"The Frankfurt Book Festival organizers' decision to only support and provide a platform to Israel has undermined the ideals of dialogue and efforts to build mutual understanding between countries," Ikapi chairman Arys Hilman said in a written statement on Monday, October 16.
Malaysia made the decision to pull out from what is considered the world's largest book fair after literary association Litprom said that it would postpone the awards ceremony for a novel by a Palestinian writer at the event, following the deadly attack carried out by the Hamas group on 7 October.
The organizers also said on Facebook that Jewish and Israeli voices would be “particularly visible” at this year's event.
"The ministry will not compromise with Israel’s violence in Palestine, which clearly violates international laws and human rights," Malaysia's education ministry said in a statement late on Monday.
"The decision (to withdraw) is in line with the government’s stand to be in solidarity and offer full support for Palestine."
Muslim-majority Malaysia has long supported the Palestinian cause, with Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim saying this week that he did not agree with Western pressure to condemn Hamas.
Anwar on Tuesday called for an immediate end to bombardment in Gaza and the establishment of a humanitarian corridor, following a phone conversation with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.
REUTERS | ANTARA
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