Fury over distribution of 'racist' Gilad Atzmon book

By Marcus Dysch, October 19, 2011
"An 'utterly contemporary racist' - Israeli-born Gilad Atzmon

"An 'utterly contemporary racist' - Israeli-born Gilad Atzmon

Britain's largest book distribution database company has said it cannot withdraw a new book by an Israeli-born antisemite from its listings - unless the title is found to have breached race hate legislation.

Gilad Atzmon's The Wandering Who is described by its publishers as "an investigation of Jewish identity politics and contemporary Jewish ideology".

The Community Security Trust has said the book contains "utterly contemporary cultural racism".

The Wandering Who largely comprises articles and blogs from Atzmon's website. One chapter is headed "Swindler's List". In others Atzmon questions elements of the Holocaust.

Retailers, including the Guardian's online bookstore, received complaints from readers and criticism in the blogosphere for advertising the book.

But the JC can reveal that The Wandering Who's appearance on dozens of British websites stems from its inclusion on a list of new titles sent to retailers by Nielsen BookData.

Nielsen provides details to retailers and other data compilation companies, with an automatic feed of thousands of books ultimately appearing on each retailer's website under their own branding.

In the book Atzmon discusses his belief that "the Holocaust religion was well-established" before the Nazis carried out aspects of the Shoah including the Final Solution and Kristallnacht.

He also adds: "It is more than likely that 'Jews' do not have a centre or headquarters. It is more than likely that they aren't aware of their particular role within the entire system, the way an organ is not aware of its role within the complexity of an organism."

A number of retailers, including the Guardian and Daily Telegraph, have already removed the book from sale on their websites. But others, including The Times, the Independent and Tesco, were still advertising The Wandering Who on Tuesday.

A Nielsen spokesman said the company would only remove the title from its listings if it was found to have breached legislation on incitement of racial hatred or libel laws.

The company does not see copies of the books it lists and relies on information provided by each book's publisher, including its synopsis, description and review details.

The Nielsen spokesman said: "It is not our responsibility to censor the information we distribute… we would generally stand in favour of freedom of expression.

"However, we must and do work within the law. If we came across material that caused us concern we would consider alerting the police or taking legal advice - but we saw no obvious cause for concern in this case."

The CST's Mark Gardner said Nielsen should "at the very least be alerting their clients to the allegations levelled against this hateful book, rather than promoting it as an urgent exposé of Jewish identity".

A Guardian spokeswoman said the way its books were advertised online would be reviewed following complaints about The Wandering Who.

Last updated: 12:00pm, October 19 2011