French magazine Youpi had to withdraw its January issue for making the “mistake” of putting Israel next to North Korea as examples of not “real countries.”
The magazine, which is aimed at children aged from five to eight, includes trivia card games. On one of the cards, Israel is put on a par with North Korea, both of which are apparently not “real countries.”
“197: 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),” reads the card, which has sparked a fierce backlash.
“Shocked by this lie taught to children. Such rhetoric can only encourage anti-Zionism, inseparable from anti-Semitism,” Aliza Bin Noun, the ambassador of Israel to France, said on Twitter, while tagging French President Emmanuel Macron.
Francis Kalifat, the president of CRIF (the Federation of Jewish Communities and Organizations of France) condemned the cards, calling them a “factual lie and a flagrant one at that.”
Following the backlash, the magazine was removed from kiosk sales in France and Belgium.
Pascal Ruffenach, the president of the Bayard publishing house, which owns Youpi, issued an apology for the “error,” saying that the company “clearly never intended to cast into doubt Israel’s existence,” adding that it was sorry “to all those who may have been hurt.”
Israel isn’t recognized by more than 30 countries, with the majority of them being Muslim nations, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Lebanon, Qatar, Iraq and Pakistan, but also Cuba and, ironically, North Korea. Meanwhile, North Korean statehood is itself denied by France, Japan and South Korea, which claims to be the sole legitimate government on the Korean Peninsula.