October 17, 2023: Malaysia’s education ministry has withdrawn from this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair amid growing international dissent over the current confrontation between Israel and Palestine, accusing the organizers of having a pro-Israel attitude.
Following the deadly bombing by Hamas in Israel on October 7, literary association Litprom announced it would postpone an award ceremony for a novel by a Palestinian author at the event. Litprom has announced that Palestinian author Adania Shibli would not be awarded the LiBeraturpreis prize at the fair as planned originally. Shibli was due to receive the honour for her book “A Minor Detail,” a work based on the real events of a 1949 rape and murder by Israeli soldiers.
Malaysia thereafter decided to withdraw from what is thought to be the largest trade expo for books in the world. On Facebook, the book fair organizer has categorically said that it would be making Jewish and Israeli voices more prominent and visible at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair.
“The ministry will not compromise with Israel’s violence in Palestine, which clearly violates international laws and human rights,” Malaysia’s education ministry said in a statement late on Monday.
“The decision (to withdraw) is in line with the government’s stand to be in solidarity and offer full support for Palestine,” the ministry said.