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Amazon faces pressure for selling anti-Semitic film promoted by Kyrie Irving

Amazon faces pressure for selling anti-Semitic film promoted by Kyrie Irving

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The Brooklyn Nets suspended star Kyrie Irving last week for promoting an anti-Semitic documentary and book on social media, and Irving apologized. Now the team and the Anti-Defamation League want Amazon to be held accountable as well.

On Friday, the ADL sent a letter to Amazon on its own behalf and on behalf of the Nets, demanding that the “virulently anti-Semitic book and related videos” be either removed from the platform or provided with context explaining why the works are problematic.

“The book and film are designed to incite hatred and, now that it has been popularized by Mr. Irving, will lead directly to the harm of the Jews,” said the letter, a copy of which was seen by The Washington Post.

“These views are not different views of history, they are pure anti-Semitic hatred. They reinforce longstanding anti-Semitic narratives about Jewish power, greed and claims that Jews control the media.”

American Jewish Committee too asked his supporters to help them call on “Amazon to reaffirm its commitment to combating anti-Semitism by removing this anti-Jewish stain.”

Amazon did not respond to The Post about the future of the book and documentary on its website. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Post.)

The 2014 book “Hebrews to Blacks: Black America Awakens” and the 2018 documentary of the same name are still available on Amazon and are each listed as “best sellers”. Neither currently comes with a Harmful Content Disclaimer.

Two weeks ago, Irving tweeted about the movie to his 4.6 million followers. He deleted the tweet but refused to apologize for it for a week before relenting and posting an apology on Instagram on Thursday. The Nets suspended him for at least five gamesand Nike ended his relationship with an NBA star. The ADL rejected his offer of a $500,000 donation to be used for anti-hate causes.

Kyrie Irving lit the flame. The NBA, from top to bottom, watched the fire spread.

“The book became hot on the news. All retailers, including Amazon, have cashed in,” said Alvin H. Rosenfeld, director of the Center for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and a professor at Indiana University. “It’s very ugly.”

Rosenfeld said banning books is not the answer.

He believes Amazon could continue to sell the book with a disclaimer that clearly outlines its nature. He added that Amazon should donate its profits from the book and documentary to organizations that fight hate speech.

“It is irresponsible to make money from such a poisonous book,” he said.

The book is not the only anti-Semitic book sold by Amazon, said Matt Boxer, assistant research professor in the Hornstein Program in Jewish Professional Leadership at Brandeis University.

The website still sells copies of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. “I’m not talking about the scholarly edition, I’m talking about the original version,” Boxer said.

Rosenfeld is teaching Hitler’s book to his students this semester, as well as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. He believes that it is important to study selected chapters from these texts and to discuss them responsibly.

The delusional, defiant Kyrie Irving is a stain the NBA could no longer ignore

Rosenfeld said the book Irving promoted was “simply recycling old hateful ideas.” The book is full of anti-Semitic accusations that have been refuted many times, he said.

The ADL reported 2,717 anti-Semitic incidents across the United States in 2021, according to its letter. This is a 34 percent increase from 2020. FBI hate crime reports also confirmed increased violence and intolerance against Jews, the letter said.

Last year, days after the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, Amazon removed “Turner’s Diary” from its virtual shelves. The The 1978 novel depicts a group of white supremacists who attack the Capitol to overthrow the US government.

Even before “The Turner Diaries” was removed, Amazon sold it with a disclaimer about its racist content.

“While it is important to defend the right of private companies to sell products as they see fit, free speech does not mean freedom from consequences,” Boxer said, adding that booksellers will have to deal with the consequences of the content of their books.

“There is a lot more anti-Semitism in the public sphere lately because people with such beliefs are less afraid to share them,” he said.

Boxer said he believes Amazon’s screening process for books and documentaries does not recognize products that contain hate speech. “Amazon doesn’t seem to have the knowledge or the engineers to understand if a book is toxic,” he said. “To them, all books are just products meant to be sold.”

On its website, Amazon Studios states that it encourages free speech and that “all headlines pass manual and automated reviews before a license decision is made.”

The draft guidelines that “films or scripts should not be bigoted or hateful when taken as a whole and we do not allow films, scripts, reviews or other content that is nothing more than hate speech.”





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