Members of Congress: Amazon Must Not Profit From Antisemitic Book, Film

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Washington, December 2, 2022 | comments
Amazon has a unique and critical role to play in ensuring its customers do not consume hate-filled propaganda and misinformation. And as responsible corporate citizens, Amazon should certainly never profit from hate.
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By Mitch Perry
Washington DC
– Today, nearly three dozen Members of Congress called on the top leaders of Amazon to remove the antisemitic book and related film, Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America, from being sold on its platform, and urged the company to stop profiting from the promotion of hate speech that endangers the Jewish community.

“Much like other antisemitic material that Amazon has removed from its shelves in the past, this film and book promote hatred of Jews through the use of multiple antisemitic tropes, including Holocaust denial,” states the letter, which was led by U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23). The letter goes on: “Your company’s decision to profit from the promotion of this dangerous hate speech has substantial world costs and consequences for the Jewish community and the greater society.” 

The book’s antisemitic content attracted intense criticism after NBA superstar Kyrie Irving promoted Hebrews to Negroes to his millions of fans. Sales of the book and film quickly spiked on Amazon, the nation’s dominant book retailer.

In asking for its removal, the lawmakers wrote: “Amazon has a unique and critical role to play in ensuring its customers do not consume hate-filled propaganda and misinformation. And as responsible corporate citizens, Amazon should certainly never profit from hate.”

Among the Members who signed the letter were U.S. Reps: Pete Aguilar (CA-31); Colin Allred (TX-32); Nanette Barragan (CA-44); Sanford Bishop (GA-2); Yvette Clarke (NY-9); Emanuel Cleaver (MO-5); Steve Cohen (TN-9); Jim Costa (CA-16); Henry Cuellar (TX-28); Anna Eshoo (CA-18); Adriano Espaillat (NY-13); Lois Frankel (FL-21); Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5); Steven Horsford (NV-4); Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18); Barbara Lee (CA-13); Ted Lieu (CA-33); Kathy Manning (NC-6); Grace Meng (NY-6); Gwen Moore (WI-4); Joe Neguse (CO-2); Katie Porter (CA-45); Janice Schakowsky (IL-9); Bradley Schneider (IL-10); Brad Sherman (CA-30); Thomas Suozzi (NY-3); Norma Torres (CA-35); Ritchie Torres (NY-15); Lori Trahan (MA-3); David Trone (MD-6); Nydia Velazquez (NY-12); Bonnie Coleman Watson (NJ-12); Susan Wild (PA-7); Nikema Williams (GA-5).

The entire letter including Member signatures, is attached, and the content of it is below:

Andy Jassy                                                      Jeff Bezos

Chief Executive                                               Officer Executive Chairman

Amazon                                                           Amazon

2111 7th Ave                                                   2111 7th Ave

Seattle, WA 98121                                          Seattle, WA 98121

 

Dear Mr. Jassy and Mr. Bezos,

We write to urge swift removal of the antisemitic book and related film Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America by Ronald Dalton Jr., being sold on your platform.

Much like other antisemitic material that Amazon has removed from its shelves in the past,  this film and book promote hatred of Jews through the use of multiple antisemitic tropes, including Holocaust denial, by terming the six million Jews who were murdered by Nazis one of the “five major falsehoods.”

The film and book also echo a long-standing antisemitic trope common among extremist factions of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement that claims “white” Jews are “not the real Jews” and instead stole the religious heritage of Black people. This same concept has inspired attacks against the Jewish community including a violent rampage at a New Jersey kosher supermarket in 2019 that took three lives.

Your company’s decision to profit from the promotion of this dangerous hate speech has substantial world costs and consequences for the Jewish community and the greater society. According to the FBI’s 2020 hate crimes report, Jews were the target of 55 percent of all religiously-motivated hate crimes–an alarming statistic for a group that makes up less than two percent of the U.S. population.

Over the past few months, there has been a deeply distressing rise in antisemitic incidents, among the largest rise in antisemitic incidents in the last half century.  Within this dangerous climate, basketball star Kyrie Irving’s recent decision to promote this film to millions of social media followers, along with his refusal to disavow its antisemitism, has spread this dangerous hate-filled content even further.

Mr. Irving’s actions drew international attention and a dramatic spike in sales of the film and its related book, making it a best seller in multiple categories on Amazon. Amazon’s own guidelines tell filmmakers that “all titles undergo manual and automated reviews” before it licenses them and that certain content is prohibited, such as violating a copyright or explicit sexuality. Amazon also says it prohibits “hateful content,” such as speech that contains “derogatory comments, hate speech, or threats specifically targeting any group or individuals.”

It is alarming that this antisemitic film and book would not immediately qualify as hateful content.

Amazon should not amplify and profit from this promotion of hate. Pulling this hateful content from your offerings should be a value judgment we believe your company should be comfortable making.

Amazon can minimize the damage it causes in searches for Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America, by ensuring customers are not automatically connected to similar publications of a conspiratorial nature.

Amazon has a unique and critical role to play in ensuring its customers do not consume hate-filled propaganda and misinformation. And as responsible corporate citizens, Amazon should certainly never profit from hate.

We urge you to swiftly take action and remove this film and book from your platform. Thank you for your full and fair consideration of this matter.

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