The online retailer Amazon has stopped selling three Holocaust-denial books after Jewish groups voiced growing frustration that the website was giving a platform to antisemites.
Amazon has been criticised for years over the revisionist titles for sale on its website, but the recent upsurge in antisemitism across America promoted Robert Rozett, a senior official at Yad Vashem, to write to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos last month calling for immediate action.
On Wednesday morning, the three titles that Mr Rozett had complained about were unavailable for purchase. Two were not showing up in searches, and one was listed but with a note saying that it was under review and could not be bought. This was the case for both US and UK stores.
Mr Rozett said the company had taken a “positive first step” which showed that they were listening to him and other Jewish groups that echoed his demand, such as the World Jewish Congress.
Amazon’s actions this week “indicate that they are taking this seriously”, he added.
The titles in question were: Holocaust: The Greatest Lie Ever Told, by Eleanor Wittakers; The Hoax of the Twentieth Century: The Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry, by Arthur R Butz and Did Six Million Really Die? by Richard Harwood.
Amazon did not answer a request to comment for this article, and did not inform Mr Rozett that the books were being taken down.
Mr Rozett said the real test will be whether it takes related steps to stop feeding antisemitism.
“It’s a complex problem because Amazon is selling books, carrying reader reviews which defend them, and then Amazon recommends related titles to people,” he said.
Mr Rozett wants to know that Amazon will ensure that no Holocaust denial titles are sold, that no review sections on its site are used to propagate denial, and that people who bought denial books in the past are not being recommended books that are likely to strengthen antisemitic beliefs based on their purchase history.
Board of Deputies Vice President Marie van der Zyl said that she was very glad these books would no longer be sold by Amazon. “At a time of record levels of antisemitism, it is very welcome that Amazon has listened and removed the offending titles from their website. These are not works of historical integrity, they are an antisemitic attempt to exonerate the Nazis of their crimes and to stoke the fires of hatred.
“Should any member of the public find further offending works, please get in contact with us and we will report them using the appropriate channels.”