French children’s magazine withdrawn after claiming Israel not ‘real country’

A French magazine has been forced to withdraw its January edition after it claimed Israel was not a “real country.”

Children’s publication Youpi was withdrawn from sale after it included Israel with North Korea as examples of countries that are not recognised by certain states.

“We call these 197 countries states, like France, Germany or Algeria. There are others, too, but not all the world’s countries agree that all of them are real countries (for example the State of Israel or North Korea),” a trivia card in the magazine read.

The comments sparked a furious backlash with the president of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions Francis Kalifat urging the publication’s editor to withdraw the issue.

Aliza Bin Noun, Israel’s ambassador to France, said she was shocked by the lie being taught to children that could only “incite anti-semitism”.

Serge Dahan, president of B’nai B’rith Europe, accused the magazine of “conditioning” children.

Bayard, the magazine’s parent company, agreed to suspend the issue from sale on Boxing Day.

A statement on the group’s Twitter page read: “The question ‘How many countries in the world are there’ in Youpi sparked some reaction. The proposed response to children was an error, and we apologise to all those who were offended. Israel is recognised by the United Nations and as such, by Youpi.”

A further post read: “January’s edition will be withdrawn from sale due to unfortunate wording on the state of Israel.”

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