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November 01, 1991 - Image 62

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-11-01

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Publisher Revises
Israel navel Guide

New York (JTA) — The
publishers of Baedeker
travel guides have agreed to
revise the text of Baedeker's
Israel, based on complaints of
errors and a tainted por-
trayal of the Jewish state.
Dr. Peter Baumgarten,
editorial director of
Baedeker, said from Stut-
tgart, Germany, that an er-
rata leaflet will be inserted
into copies of the current
edition of the book "as soon
as possible."
In addition, Dr.
Baumgarten said, the next
edition of Baedeker's Israel,
due out in late 1992 or early
1993, will be revised to in-
corporate corrections of nu-
merous errors.
The errors were discovered
by Morton Klein, an
economist formerly with the
Nixon, Ford and Carter ad-
ministrations, who enu-
merated some of his objec-
tions in an op-ed piece in the
Jerusalem Post on July 2.
Mr. Klein said the history
section of the book contained
numerous factual errors and
errors of omission. The rest
of the book, he said, "tends
to make Israel seem much
more a Moslem or Christian
country than a Jewish coun-
Mr. Klein accepted Dr.
Baumgarten's invitation to
meet with him Oct. 9 at the
Frankfurt Book Fair, where
they discussed revisions to
the text and illustrations.
The revisions will be based
on Mr. Klein's suggestions,
according to Dr.
Among Mr. Klein's many
objections was the lack of a
single photograph of any of
Israel's more than 1,000
synagogues, despite its sta-
tus as a Jewish state. This
compares with 39
photographs of Christian
churches and 17 of Islamic
Mr. Klein further objected
to the "conspicuous
absence" of the Western
Wall and the Temple Mount
— "the two holiest sites in
Judaism" — from a list of
major sites highlighted on
street maps of Jerusalem. As
with the photographs, chur-
ches and mosques are
featured on the maps, while
synagogues are not.
Among the offending
passages cited by Mr. Klein
is a "startling distortion" in
the description of Yad
Vashem as a monument to
the victims of World War II
and a "memorial to the mill-

ions of victims of National
Socialism," rather than as a
memorial to Jews who died
at the hands of the Nazis.
Mr. Klein also noted the
"twisted description" of the
Haganah as "Jewish
underground terrorists." A
more apt definition would
have been "the primary
defense force of the emer-
ging Jewish nation," Mr.
Klein said, noting that ter-
rorism was neither the
Haganah's policy nor its
Baedeker's Israel makes no
mention of the. Holocaust, an
omission that particularly
angered Mr. Klein who
argued that the Holocaust
was "an important factor in
Israel's establishment."
And Mr. Klein noted that
Israel is portrayed as the in-
stigator —without any men-

Among the
objections was the
lack of a single
photograph of
Israel's more than
1,000 synagogues
compared with 56
photographs of
churches and

tion of provocation — in
descriptions of events that
led to the wars of 1956, 1967
and 1982, and that resolu-
tions in the United Nations
pertaining to Israel are
either misstated or cast the
Jewish state in a bad light.
Dr. Baumgarten said he
was surprised by Mr. Klein's
criticism, inasmuch as the
current guidebook has been
out in the United States —
and Israel — for five years,
and no such complaints have
come to his attention.
He emphasized that
Baedeker had no anti-Israel
or anti- Semitic sentiment
and had not intended to con-
vey any derogatory images.
Dr. Baumgarten said some
of the errors can be traced to
the translation into English
of the German editions.
Mr. Klein brought his
complaints to the American
Jewish Congress interna-
tional travel program, which
had included Baedeker's
Israel on its list of recom-
mended guidebooks. The
travel program removed
Baedeker's Israel from its
book list after informing
Prentice Hall, which
distributes the guide in Nor-

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