KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s education ministry has withdrawn from participating in this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, accusing the organisers of taking a pro-Israel stance, amid growing global divisions over the ongoing conflict between Israeli and Palestinian forces.
The move by Malaysia to pull out of what is considered the world’s largest trade fair for books came after literary association Litprom said it would postpone an award ceremony for a novel by a Palestinian author at the event following the deadly Oct 7 attack by militant group Hamas in Israel.
The fair’s organiser also said on Facebook it would be making Jewish and Israeli voices “especially visible” at this year’s edition.
“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 (Oct 16).
“The decision (to withdraw) is in line with the government’s stand to be in solidarity and offer full support for Palestine.”
Muslim-majority Malaysia has long supported the Palestinian cause, with Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim saying this week that he did not agree with Western pressure to condemn Hamas.
Anwar on Tuesday called for an immediate end to bombardment in Gaza and the establishment of a humanitarian corridor, following a phone conversation with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.