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Kantcheff, Christophe

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Politis - France | 13/03/2008

Paris Book Fair fraught with political tension

Christophe Kantcheff denounces "the selective criteria applied to the 39 writers invited, the use of Hebrew, which bypasses the diversity of Israeli literature, and in particular that which is written in Arab, the country's second official language. ... It is not surprising that most of the Arab states (Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia...) as well as Iran and the Palestinian Writers' Union are calling for a boycott. Some Arab writers will however be attending the book fair independently. ... To go or not to go? The debate is dividing Israeli writers and intellectuals. ... [Those who will be present] consider that their voices will be more efficient in the book fair than outside. This is the real dividing line that separates defenders of the boycott and those who will go to the book fair with a critical distance. Between questions of principle and the desire to be tactful, arguments from both sides are understandable. At the end of the day the choice is a question of conscience for each individual."

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