Frankfurt Book Fair: Dispute over new right publishers, boycott hashtag on Twitter

Again there is a dispute over new right publishers at the Frankfurt Book Fair. A hashtag is used on Twitter to boycott the fair.

Frankfurt am Main – A stand by publishers of the New Right at the Frankfurt Book Fair sparked controversy shortly before the fair opened.

A man works during the set-up for the Frankfurt Book Fair 2021 – the fair is open to the specialist public from Wednesday and to all visitors from Friday. © Sebastian Gollnow / dpa

The Anne Frank educational institution in Frankfurt am Main expressed its solidarity in a statement published on Tuesday with the author Jasmina Kuhnke (39), who had canceled her appearance at the book fair because of the Junge Europa publishing house represented there. (Among other things, the publisher has the book “Theory of dictatorship” by Michel Onfray in its program, the script claims that the coronavirus pandemic would establish a new type of dictatorship in European societies.)

“It is a disaster for our culture of open debate when those affected by racism, anti-Semitism and misanthropy withdraw from the Frankfurt Book Fair as the largest debate fair in the country because they don’t feel safe there,” said Meron Mendel (45), director of the Educational institution.

“In Germany we now have to document racist and anti-Semitic attacks on people on a daily basis,” said Mendel. “Attacks such as those in Halle, Hanau or the murder of Walter Lübcke make it abundantly clear that the toxic ideology of the right represents a real danger to human life. Anyone who offers them a podium on prominent bourgeois platforms like the Frankfurt Book Fair contributes to further normalization and dissemination of misanthropy. “

Michael Müller, cultural-political spokesman for the left parliamentary group in the Frankfurter-Römer, made a similar statement. “The Frankfurt Book Fair must not offer these publishers a stage, not even in the back corner,” he emphasized.

The basic right to freedom of expression in Germany is “certainly not curtailed”.

Juergen Boos (60), Director of the Frankfurt Book Fair, said about the presence of new right-wing publishers:

Juergen Boos (60), Director of the Frankfurt Book Fair, said about the presence of new right-wing publishers: “Unfortunately, we also have to endure opinions or the presence of people that I would not necessarily like to have here.” © Sebastian Gollnow / dpa

Freedom of expression is a valuable asset, stressed book fair director Juergen Boos (60) on Tuesday. “The book fair is the place that stands for it. And unfortunately we also have to endure opinions or the presence of people who I would not necessarily like to have here.”

The book fair stands for this discourse that is as open as possible. “We will always have the whole spectrum here, as long as people want to show themselves here. But we don’t have to like it. But it has to be possible because for us freedom of expression, the freedom to publish, is the highest good.”

The presence of new right-wing publishers had already led to protests and a demonstration in 2017.

The trade fair will be open to the specialist public from Wednesday (October 20), and for all visitors from Friday (October 22).

The fair ends on Sunday (October 24th) with the awarding of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade to Tsitsi Dangarembga (62) from Zimbabwe.

Because of the presence of the new right publishers at the Frankfurt Book Fair, users are calling on Twitter to boycott the fair.

The tweets are with the hashtag #Book FairBoykott marked.

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