With Love From Iran

By Jennifer Hanin, May 17, 2012
palestine MAP of Israel 250x194 With Love From Iran

Map of Israel purposely mislabeled as "Palestine" and distributed in Arab countries as a form of delegitimization.

Today, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson offered a tidbit that I couldn’t help but nibble on. In his latest threat, Ramin Mehmanparast told the semiofficial Mehr news agency Thursday that if Google doesn’t restore the name of the Persian Gulf to its Google Maps service, the internet giant could face “serious damages.” Given this logic, what’s good for Iran, is certainly fair game for Israel.

Arab states intentionally mislead their citizens and encourage anti-Israel sentiment by purposely leaving Israel off maps of the Middle East. Instead of labeling Israel properly, Arab states include a vast area that includes Jordan, labeled as “Palestine.” Cities such as Tel Aviv and Haifa simply don’t exist on maps in Arab states. Arab school children not only grow up to hate Jews, they have no knowledge, official or otherwise, of the existence of Israel.

It’s sad to think that learning about Israel is as taboo in Arab countries as learning about the birds and the bees. Young adults who learn Israel is a sovereign nation no different than its neighbors are doing so in private via whispers. Arab states continue to keep Israel’s existence a secret from its citizens in numerous ways. Schedules of foreign airlines that show Israel on their route maps or that list Israeli destinations are banned in Arab countries. The same is true for US magazine distribution to Arab countries. Mainstream news magazines like Time and Newsweek are forced to print special editions for Arab countries in order to compete, since they systematically forbid advertising from Israeli companies. I guess seeing ads for Israeli companies might seem odd since most young people are kept in the dark about their Jewish neighbor’s existence.

This kind of discrimination towards Israel is seen over and over when Israelis, Jews, or tourists who have visited Israel, are barred from entering Arab countries based on either their religion or an affiliation with Israel. Just last June, Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk (R) called for the Federal Aviation Administration to investigate allegations Delta Airlines blocked Jewish passengers from flying as part of an agreement with a Saudi Arabian airline (they did not, but the publicity damage was done). His goal was to:

“determine whether Delta Airlines violated US law or regulation and to ensure no US citizen is denied their right to fly solely on the basis of their religion.”

And what can we make of Mehmanparast’s saber rattling to Google? First, we can thank him for his ability to safely air his “complaint” as we know airing a similar complaint against his own government would land him with black and blue marks and an extensive stay in the notorious Evin prison. Secondly, we can chuckle as he’s threatening one of the world’s most successful internet companies. And lastly, we can tip our hats his way as we continue exposing the hypocrisy of how Arab countries go to great lengths to leave Israel nameless and faceless.

Jennifer Hanin

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