French publisher pulls Ilan Pappé's seminal 'Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine' book

French publisher pulls Ilan Pappé's seminal 'Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine' book
France publishing house pulls 'Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine' amid a rising clampdown on Palestinian expression in the European country.
2 min read
15 December, 2023
Israeli historian Ilan Pappé authored 'The Ethnic Cleaning of Palestine' detailing the dispossession of over 700,000 Palestinians in 1948 [Getty/file photo]

A leading French publishing house has reportedly withdrawn copies of the book 'The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine' from its shelves as Israel continues to pound Gaza, amid a wave of pro-Palestinian censorship in Europe.

The book has been discontinued since 7 November, French website ActuaLitté reported last week, raising eyebrows amongst customers as the book’s withdrawal came one month after Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip began.

The book, authored by Israeli historian Ilan Pappé and published in 2006, is considered among the most significant works on the violent expulsion of around 720,000 Palestinians from their villages and towns in 1948 to make way for the creation of Israel.

The book has been praised for challenging the Israeli narrative on the 1948 creation of Israel - known as Nakba, or "Catastrophe" by Arabs - and has been recommended over the years for a better understanding of the mass dispossession and displacement of Palestinians 75 years ago.

The Paris-based Fayard had been distributing the book since 2008, and sold at least 307 copies this year, according to French data website Edistat. Around 158 copies of the book were sold between 9 October and 12 November, following the start of Israel’s brutal onslaught on Gaza, which has killed at least 18,787 Palestinians as of Thursday.

Israel has also gone on to place Gaza under a complete, siege depriving residents from basic essentials, and has targeted journalists, bombed schools, refugee camps and hospitals - which rights groups have described as tantamount to war crimes.

Maxime Lledo, head of the Press Service and Communications Director of Fayard told ActuaLitté: "Regarding this title, the contract had lapsed since February 27, 2022. The [publishing] house therefore had its last operation on November 3."

Fayard has been contacted by The New Arab for further comment but we did not receive a response at the time of publication.


Hachette Livre, Fayard's umbrella company, was bought by controversial right-wing French billionaire Vincent Bolloré in November, who has been dubbed the 'French Rupert Murdoch'.

The move also comes amid an increase in the censorship of pro-Palestinian activism in Europe and the US.

At the beginning of Israel's military campaign in October, pro-Palestinian demonstrations were initially prohibited by the French government. Rallies, however, still went ahead despite the ban.

In November, the popular channel TV5Monde "disowned" French-Algerian journalist Mohamed Kaci after he questioned the Israeli army’s spokesperson about the siege on Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza.