Amazon refuses to stop selling anti-Semitic book

 

Amazon makes no apology for selling one of the most racist books of all time, the anti-Semitic The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, saying giving access to all books regardless of how hateful they are is "one of the most important things we do".

But the Jewish Board of Deputies says Amazon should remove the book about a plan for Jewish world domination, widely considered to be a "shocking forgery", as it could incite violence and hatred.

Vic Alhadeff, the board's chief executive, said it was "bizarre in the extreme" that Amazon's restrictions on selling controversial materials did not apply to books, music, video and DVD products.

"According to them it's a free-speech issue," Mr Alhadeff said. "All freedoms come with responsibilities."

Vic Alhadeff of the Jewish Board of Deputies said Amazon is putting profit before principles by selling The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Picture: Damian Shaw
Vic Alhadeff of the Jewish Board of Deputies said Amazon is putting profit before principles by selling The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Picture: Damian Shaw


He said in selling the book Amazon was putting its commercial concerns above those responsibilities.

"There's been an unequivocal spike in anti-Semitic incidents worldwide. A book like this reeks of hate speech throughout, directed at one group only and that is Jews.

"There's many contributing factors (for the rise in anti-Semitic incidents) and a book like this plays a part."

In a statement this morning, Amazon's press office said: "We take concerns from the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies seriously and appreciate their feedback.

"Additionally, beyond our proactive measures, we also promptly investigate all concerns raised."

 

Amazon provided no details of whether Mr Alhadeff's complaint was investigated but in a response to Mr Alhadeff's complaint on Tuesday, said it had added a note to the product that it does not endorse the book, which had been omitted in error.

"As a bookseller, we believe that providing access to written speech is important, including books that some may find objectionable. We are mindful of a global history fraught with book censorship, and we do not take this lightly," Amazon wrote to Mr Alhadeff.

Amazon's product description note says it sells this book and "millions of other titles" containing conspiracy theories including books about UFOs and demonic possession.

In an email to Amazon Mr Alhadeff said: "By providing a platform for individuals to buy and sell such flawed and racist texts … Amazon is in fact contributing to the deeply concerning global increase in anti-Semitic incidents which we are currently witnessing.

"Despite being repeatedly and unequivocally exposed as a forgery, The Protocols of Zion continues to be translated, published and distributed in countries around the world, and as a consequence is promoted and absorbed by terrorist groups, Holocaust deniers and conspiracy theorists. Included in the text are not only falsehoods alleging global domination, but also graphic images making the same offensive allegation."


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