French Children's Magazine Recalled Over Israel Reference

It's not every day that a children's magazine causes an international incident, but that's exactly what happened with a French publication for 5-10 year olds called Youpi. It happened after its January issue contained an answer to a trivia question that mentioned that some countries don't consider Israel a real country.

Youpi, which is published by Bayard — one of France's oldest publishing houses — issued the edition with a trivia card, which asked its readers to come up with the number of countries there were in the world. Along with the answer of 197, the card went on to state that not all countries are recognized as such by all others. In addition to Israel, it listed North Korea as a country that also isn't recognized by all countries.

The magazine caused many angry reactions, not only in France but also across Europe and the world.

Francis Kalifat, who is the president of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions, requested that the editor of Youpi withdraw the magazine. At the same time, Serge Dahan, who is the president of B’nai B’rith Europe, said that he believed that the publication was an attempt to brainwash children to hate Israel, and he demanded an explanation from both the editor and Bayard itself. And Aliza Bin Noun, who is the Israeli ambassador to France, issued a statement in which she said that the magazine could incite anti-semitism. She further stated that she was shocked that such a "lie" would be taught to children.

On Tuesday, Bayard responded to the uproar by recalling the magazine from circulation. They also provided an explanation on Twitter, insisting that, while they clearly hadn't intended to cast aspersions to the legitimacy of Israel, they had made a mistake by publishing the reference to Israel, and that they sincerely apologize. They also said that not only does the United Nations recognize Israel as a country but so do they. The publisher went on to indicate that, once the issues were recalled, they would destroy all the trivia cards.

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