Israel’s official Holocaust memorial has asked Amazon to stop selling literature on its site that denies the genocide of 6 million Jews during World War II and otherwise promotes anti-Semitism.
Yad Vashem’s director of libraries Robert Rozett said he has dispatched a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos offering his assistance to “curb the spread of hatred.”
Rozett said Sunday that Yad Vashem has approached Amazon before on the subject but the internet retailing giant insisted it would not halt sales of offensive and inciting material, citing freedom of information. Rozett says he hoped that given the recent spike in anti-Semitic incidents in the United States, particularly a vandalism attack on a Jewish cemetery near St. Louis, Amazon would reconsider its position.
He said he has yet to hear back.
Amazon removed books that deny the Holocaust from online stores in countries where Holocaust denial is illegal, but they remain available in the United States and the United Kingdom.
The British newspaper The Independent reported Sunday that the books were removed in some countries, including Italy, France and Germany, after Amazon was contacted about the sale of such books by The Sunday Times of London.
Among the books still available on Amazon’s US and UK online stores are “Did Six Million Really Die?” by Richard Harwood; “The Six Million: Fact or Fiction?” and “The Myth of the Extermination of the Jews.”
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.”
One Amazon customer who complained to the company told The Sunday Times he received a message from Amazon 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!”
Steven Goldstein, executive director of the US-based Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, called for a boycott of Amazon until it stops selling the books everywhere.
“When Amazon sells Holocaust denial books and even offers readers an opportunity to ‘borrow’ Holocaust denial books on Amazon Kindle, Amazon is a repugnant accomplice to Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism of historic proportions,” Goldstein wrote in a statement.
“This makes Amazon a worldwide embarrassment to human decency. We call on everyone to stop shopping at Amazon until all divisions of Amazon in every part of the world stop selling Holocaust denial books and other works immediately.”