Malaysia’s education ministry has decided to withdraw its participation in this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, citing the event organizers’ perceived pro-Israel stance. The withdrawal comes amidst heightened global tensions related to the Israel-Hamas conflict. This decision was prompted, in part, by the postponement of an award ceremony for a novel by a Palestinian author at the fair following a Hamas attack on October 7.
Additionally, the fair’s organizers announced their intention to highlight Jewish and Israeli voices at this year’s edition. Malaysia’s education ministry stated that the withdrawal aligns with their government’s commitment to show solidarity and full support for Palestine.
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who supports the Palestinian cause, emphasized the need for an immediate end to the Gaza bombardment and the establishment of a humanitarian corridor in a phone conversation with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. The Gaza Strip is facing a dire humanitarian crisis, with a severe shortage of supplies in hospitals and a lack of water, as Israel prepares for a ground assault. The United Nations has expressed concern about the deteriorating situation in Gaza.