The US bookstore chain Barnes & Noble recently removed The Protocols of the Elders of Zion — a noxious antisemitic tract fabricated by czarist Russia — from its online site following a flood of complaints.
The book, an outright forgery describing a diabolical plan by a Jewish cabal to take over the world, was designed to foment suspicion of and hatred of Jews.
From the authors’ malicious point of view, the Protocols has been an astounding success, having been translated into numerous languages and having incited antisemitism. It was particularly well received in Nazi Germany.
Astonishingly enough, Barnes & Noble justified its sale on the ground that it is “an interesting book which deserves to be studied,” much like Orson Welles’ notorious 1930s War of the World broadcast, which was a hoax but which millions of American listeners regarded as the gospel truth.
Continuing in this harebrained vein, Barnes & Noble said of the Protocols, “We neither support nor deny its message, we simply make it available for those who wish a copy.” In other words, the veracity of this obscene volume was left open to debate.
Having been apprised of the Protocols’ presence on its site, Barnes & Noble issued a contrite statement: “We regret that it was listed inadvertently. As soon as we are made aware of such offending titles, we take prompt action to remove the offending titles in accordance with our policy, as we did with this title.”
The company explained that the book, retailing for $24.95, had been fed automatically to its website from industry databases, and was only sold online rather than in its brick-and-mortar stores.
Presumably, Barnes & Noble’s made an honest mistake that will not be replicated. Yet the Protocols is still being sold online by Walmart, Thrift Books, Hudson Books and Book Depository, according to The Jerusalem Post. If true, these companies should immediately delete it from their respective sites. At a time of growing antisemitism, the Protocols only adds fuel to the fire.
Amazon, the online retailer, is equally guilty of selling books that support or endorse antisemitic views.
Under pressure, Amazon has removed racially scurrilous books like William Pierce’s The Turner Diaries, a primer on race war in the United States that led to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, carried out by the white supremacist Timothy McVeigh.
But if you surf the Amazon site, you will find a disgusting selection of books for sale written by racists, neo-Nazis and apologists for Nazi Germany — Walther Darre’s A New Nobility of Blood and Soil, Savitri Devi’s Lightning and the Sun, and Richard Spencer’s The Uprooting of European Identity.
In addition to these titles, you can also order Eustace Mullins’ antisemitic rant about the US Federal Reserve and books published by Antelope Hill Publishing that glorify the Third Reich, fascism and antisemitism.
The aforementioned books sow bigotry and division and definitely should not be sold by a mainstream company like Amazon. Is Amazon so concerned by the bottom line that it will merchandise anything that sells?
There is definitely a market for racist literature out there, but respectable companies like Amazon and Barnes & Noble should most certainly not cater to it.