Letter to Egyptian President El Sisi Regarding Cairo International Book Fair

In a letter to the Egyptian president, ADL urged the government to remove all anti-Semitic materials from the Cairo International Book Fair.

February 25, 2020

H.E. Abdel Fattah El Sisi
President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Ittihadiva Palace
Heliopolis, Cairo Governorate
Arab Republic of Egypt

Dear President El Sisi:

I am writing to bring to your attention the continued presence of hateful anti-Jewish materials at the Cairo International Book Fair, a government-organized cultural event that received over 3.5 million visitors last month under the sponsorship of your office.

Because anti-Semitic books were exhibited at the Cairo International Book Fair in 2019, ADL engaged with Egyptian Foreign Ministry officials in hopes of avoiding such an outcome this year.  As a courtesy, we provided your Embassy in Washington with a list of dozens of titles in English and Arabic of anti-Semitic books spotted at state-run book fairs throughout the region last year that we hoped would not be exhibited at the Cairo event this year.  We were told the materials we shared would be conveyed to the appropriate government authorities in Egypt in advance of the state-run book fair this year.

Yet now we are disappointed to report ADL has determined that the anti-Jewish books exhibited at the 2020 Cairo International Book Fair again included the foundational anti-Semitic slanders The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, and the debunked adaptation of the Protocols titled the International Jew.  Some other anti-Jewish books at the Cairo book fair this year included Talmud of Secrets, The Ten Heads of Evil, Hidden World Government, Hidden Elements of the Talmud in Jewish Natures and Doctrines, The House of Rothschild: Merchants of Wars and Revolutions, Who Manufactures Dictators?, Theodore Herzl: The Zionist Devil and Satan of the Modern Age, and Pharaoh Man of Stakes. All of these were books we had flagged in advance for the Government of Egypt and yet appear to have been allowed anyway.

Many of these hateful materials were exhibited by the publishing house Dar al-Kitab al-Arabi lil-Nashr wa al-Tawzi’, a company based in Egypt and Syria.  In our memo we specifically urged Egyptian officials to block this publisher from the 2020 book fair because of hateful material it exhibited at the fair in 2019, as well as at other fairs in the region last year.  Although several publishers reportedly were blocked from the fair this year, Dar al-Kitab al-Arabi was inexplicably allowed to exploit the good name of Egypt yet again.

For example, Dar al-Kitab al-Arabi evidently hosted a book signing at its booth for the 2020 Cairo International Book Fair for author Mansour Abdelhakim, where he was photographed signing his deeply anti-Jewish book Hidden World Government 10: Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the Masonic Plots to Control the World.

Dar al-Kitab al-Arabi also promoted its booth at the 2020 Cairo International Book Fair with a Facebook post promising books “to suit all members of the family” that specifically commended the anti-Jewish screed Children of the Matrix, by David Icke.  This book outrageously claims that the world is run by a secret cabal of interdimensional lizard people, most of whom happen to be prominent Jews.  Dar al-Kitab al-Arabi also displayed a large poster promoting Children of the Matrix above its booth at this year’s fair, and ADL found two other anti-Jewish books advancing this conspiracy theory by Icke in the Cairo International Book Fair’s 2020 smart phone app.

These books misrepresent not just the Jewish people but even ADL itself.  One of these books baselessly claims ADL “has been at the heart of some horrific events, including the Kennedy assassination” and that Combat 18, a murderous neo-Nazi group, is secretly an ADL front – a particularly odious assertion given both what Nazis have done to the Jewish people and that ADL is America’s leading NGO against neo-Nazis.  Another one of these books calls ADL “unbelievably corrupt” and “a major Illuminati operation”.

Of course, this anti-Jewish hate speech stands in stark contrast to the commendable example your government has set by publicly celebrating the history of Jews in Egypt and completing the restoration of Alexandria’s historic Eliahu HaNavi Synagogue. 

Anti-Semitic content at state-run book fairs contradicts this positive message about Muslim-Jewish understanding that you want to offer to the world.  As such, we urge you to take all appropriate measures to ensure such hateful materials are not exhibited this April at the Alexandria International Book Fair or at the Cairo book fair in future years.

Thank you for your consideration of our concerns.

Sincerely,

Jonathan A. Greenblatt
CEO and National Director
Anti-Defamation League