Sunday, March 16, 2008

Paris Book Fair evacuated due to bomb threat

Thousands flee.

Thousands of people were told to evacuate the international book fair in Paris after a bomb threat was received.

This year's book fair gave special honor to Israel, because of the 60th anniversary of its independence. Israeli writers Amos Oz, A. B. Yehoshua, Aharon Appelfeld and others participated at the fair, and President Shimon Peres also paid a visit.

Arab countries including Lebanon, Yemen,, Tunisia and Morocco boycotted the fair because of the special honor given Israel.

Gee, who do you think would call in a bomb scare to a book fair?
I wonder.

More on the boycott beneath the fold. It looks like they've got the same stunt planned for the Turin Book Fair in May.

It sounds like part of a larger plan to me.

Algeria, Iran, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Yemen announced in advance they would shun the fair in response to a call from the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO).

"The crimes against humanity Israel is perpetrating in the Palestinian territories ... constitute, in themselves, a strong condemnation of Israel, making it unworthy of being welcomed as a guest of honour," ISESCO said in a statement.

Christine de Mazieres, speaking for the French Publishers' association which organises the fair, said last week: "What is happening in the Middle East is very sad, but it is not linked to our event." She added all the countries that had withdrawn were aware Israel was being honoured when they signed up and many of the Israeli writers taking part favoured a Palestinian state.

A similar controversy is brewing about the May book fair in Turin, Italy, which is also highlighting Israeli works.

You can read ISESCO's three year action plan here. You tell me, do you think this could be part of their plan?