TEL AVIV – Israel’s Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem has called on Amazon to stop selling Holocaust denial books, charging the retail giant with promoting anti-Semitism and hate speech.
Yad Vashem’s director of the libraries, Dr. Robert Rozett, penned an appeal to the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, in which he called on the online site to “curb the spread of hatred.”
“It has been clear for many years now that Holocaust denial literature is freely available for purchase over Amazon. Many of the items appear with glowing readers’ reviews and recommendations for further reading in the same vein,” Rozett wrote.
He included several examples of glowing reviews of books sold on the site such as “True History of the Holocaust. Did six million really die?” “The Hoax of the Twentieth Century: The Case against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry” and “The Myth of the Extermination of the Jews.”
Rozett noted that he had in the past approached Amazon with the same request but was told that the site would not stop selling inciting material.
Rozett said that an uptick in anti-Semitic events had prompted him to broach the subject again, but as of yet, he has not received a response from Amazon.
“Once again, given the presence of antisemitism around the globe, which has become more prevalent in recent years, we strongly urge you to remove books that deny, distort and trivialize the Holocaust from your store,” Rozett wrote to Bezos.
“Holocaust denial and other forms of hate speech indisputably nurture prejudice and hate crimes,” he continued. “Open discussion of ideas is certainly essential to pluralistic and democratic systems, but facilitating the spread of such hate-filled ideas is irresponsible, to say the least. As a major agent for the dissemination of ideas, it is incumbent upon Amazon, as it is also incumbent upon Internet providers in general, to act to curb the spread of hatred.”
He added that Yad Vashem would willingly assist Amazon in any way it could, including identifying literature espousing Holocaust denial.
Gideon Falter, chairman of the British charity Campaign Against Antisemitism, told the Independent, “Every day, Amazon promotes a selection of literature advocating Holocaust denial and Jew hatred. Anybody searching Amazon for books about the Holocaust, including children working on school projects, will inevitably be shown Amazon’s squalid cesspool of neo-Nazi titles.”
“Amazon’s conditions prohibit the sale of ‘offensive material,’ but these titles are ‘dispatched and sold by Amazon.’ Amazon is profiting from the trade in titles promoting Holocaust denial and anti-Semitic conspiracy myths,” he added.
One customer who complained to Amazon told the Sunday Times he received a message from the company saying, “If you feel this book constitutes hate speech and malicious lies, then please check out the other hundred thousand books we carry to find something you like. I hope this helps!”