By Vic Alhadeff
The Daily Telegraph
January 23, 2020
Imagine there was a book which accused Christians of being so stupid that they would massacre each other. Which claimed there was a secret plot to control children’s brains, the media, the banks and our education system. Which branded Catholics as an enemy. Which maintained there was a plan to hijack the medical profession so that Christian lives could be destroyed. Churches would be demolished. And ultimately, the world would be taken over by an evil force.
Unfortunately, there is such a book. Every one of these wild allegations is directed against Jews in one of the most vile antisemitic texts ever published. Not only that, but it is being sold worldwide by none other than Amazon.com. Worse, if you click on the Amazon.com website, you will be confronted by random reviews from random voices applauding this outrageous book, ranging from the known antisemite Henry Ford (yes, the car-maker) to a Canadian MP to The Times of London to Scotland Yard’s Intelligence Directorate. A recent review, dated 2019, shockingly states that the book is “highly recommended for anyone with historical interests and how we got to where we are as a society, there really are puppet masters tugging at the strings to shape the future”. Just in case you weren’t sure.
The book is The Protocols of Zion. First published in Russia in 1903, it was translated into multiple languages and distributed internationally in the early 20th century. It claims to be the minutes of a 19th-century meeting in which Jewish leaders discussed their goal of global Jewish control – but it has been repeatedly and unequivocally exposed as an utter forgery.
When we were made aware that Amazon.com was selling this appalling publication, we wrote to Amazon Australia. We pointed out that the book has been proven to be a fraud. That its description of a Jewish plan for global domination is a fabrication. That it continues to be translated, published and distributed around the world, and as a consequence is promoted and absorbed by terrorist groups, conspiracy theorists and Holocaust deniers. That it has been discredited as racist, inflammatory and fraudulent.
Given the above, we respectfully asked that Amazon.com stop selling it. The response ranged from the appalling to the mind-boggling. Amazon Australia noted that it has guidelines which point out that it does not sell offensive and controversial products which incite racial or religious hatred, violence or racial, sexual or religious intolerance – but that those guidelines don’t apply to books. Wait, what? It claims to “exercise judgment in allowing or prohibiting listings” and it keeps “our global community of cultural differences in mind when making a decision on products”. It does?
And it readily acknowledges that Protocols is “one of the most infamous, and tragically influential, examples of racist propaganda ever written” and that it blatantly promotes antisemitism and persecution of Jews.
Having said all that, however, it asserts that providing access to written speech – no matter how hateful or ugly – is important, and “the best remedy for offensive speech is more speech”. Even if it’s more offensive speech?
Coincidentally, this is happening against the sobering backdrop next Monday of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz – the Nazis’ largest death camp which saw the murder of approximately 1.1 million people – and also against today’s backdrop of an alarming escalation of antisemitic incidents worldwide. By providing a platform for individuals to buy one of the most heinous racist texts of all time, Amazon is contributing to this increase in antisemitic incidents which has become a global phenomenon, including here in Australia.
It is self-evident that publishers choose what to sell – and what not to sell. And it is clear that Amazon is profoundly aware of the inflammatory and fraudulent content of this vile book, which was obviously written with one agenda only – to denigrate the Jewish people. We urge Amazon to act on principle, remove this listing and publicly take a vitally important stand against the rampant escalation of antisemitism.
Vic Alhadeff is chief executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies.