Ama­zon ‘tried to sell me race-hate books’

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY RACHEL FLETCHER

THE ON­LINE book­seller Ama­zon. co.uk has been ac­cused of rec­om­mend­ing that users buy an­ti­semitic works.

Mal­colm McA­dam, a JC reader, used the web­site to search for works about the Arab-Is­raeli con­flict by au­thors such as Ilan Pappe, an arch-critic of Is­rael.

But when he later re­turned to the site, he says he was “ap­palled and deeply of­fended” to find that the au­to­matic rec­om­men­da­tion soft­ware had sug­gested a num­ber of of­fen­sive ti­tles.

They in­cluded the no­to­ri­ous an­ti­semitic hoax, Pro­to­cols of the Learned Elders of Zion, al­beit with a note of ex­pla­na­tion at­tached, Mr McA­dam said.

“The of­fen­sive as­sump­tion be­hind th­ese rec­om­men­da­tions ap­pears to be that peo­ple who read se­ri­ous books crit­i­cal of Is­rael, and its sup­port­ers, are just crude an­ti­semites,” Mr McA­dam said.

“While I re­spect Ama­zon’s de­sire to of­fer a com­plete range of ti­tles, it should at least do so with a de­gree of r e s pon­si­bili t y a nd pro­vide dis­claimers.”

An Ama­zon spokesman said that the rec­om­men­da­tion sys­tem was based on the pur­chases of other cus­tomers who had browsed cer­tain ti­tles. It should not be in­ter­preted as a sign of rec­om­men­da­tion from the com­pany it­self.

“ Ama­zon be­lieves in free­dom of speech and does not be­lieve it has the right to cen­sor peo­ple’s read­ing,” he said.

“There­fore, our se­lec­tion in­cludes some ti­tles which many peo­ple may find dis­taste­ful or oth­er­wise ob­jec­tion­able.

“We be­lieve it is cen­sor­ship to make a book un­avail­able to our cus­tomers [even if] we be­lieve its mes­sage to be re­pug­nant. If a book is le­gal, we will stock it. ”

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