After lobbying from Canadian Jewish organizations and follow-up complaints from their supporters, Amazon Canada has agreed to the removal of some of the offensive items relating to the Holocaust that were found on their website late last year.
The “Never Again Amazon” campaign, sponsored by B’nai Brith Canada, the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Students (FSWC) and Liberation75, demanded that Amazon end the sale of “hateful items” that trivialize the Holocaust.
But the organizations in a joint release said that they remained “dissatisfied with [Amazon Canada’s] continued silence, refusal to stop facilitating all sales of offensive items, and failure to provide a plan to prevent further appalling sales.”
Earlier in January, the groups united in the campaign to stop Amazon Canada from selling the items, which was described as “unacceptable” and “intolerable.”
In December, B’nai Brith Canada described being “outraged and incredulous” after discovering that everything from “books promoting anti-Zionist conspiracy theories to prints featured emaciated bodies in concentration camps” were for sale on Amazon Canada.
B’nai Brith slammed Amazon Canada for what is said was the facilitation of a “wide range of hateful and appalling items…on Amazon’s website during this holiday season, [including] irrefutably disgusting Hitler and Nazi images, Holocaust-themed prints and Jewish ritual items presented as beachwear.”
These items were for sale despite Amazon’s guidelines of not tolerating hate material, B’nai Brith noted.
“While we are pleased that Amazon has removed some of the items we objected to, much more needs to be done,” B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn said. “At a minimum, the company must acknowledge our concerns and pledge to eliminate antisemitic listings from its website.”
Mostyn stressed that the groups wanted to see a “plan from Amazon, not silence.”
“At a time of rising antisemitism, leaders in the national landscape, including multinational corporations, have a specific responsibility to stand against Jew hatred. Amazon must do the right thing and stop facilitating the sales of these disgusting items,” he said.
FSWC CEO Michael Levitt applauded the removal of some of the items flagged by the organizations but reiterated that “troubling items still remain.”
“These items are really just the tip of the iceberg concerning merchandise sold by Amazon Canada that trivialize the Holocaust and promote hateful ideologies,” he said. “It’s not good enough for Amazon Canada to be playing whack-a-mole as hateful content is flagged. We need to see leadership from Amazon Canada recognize the issue and commit to proactively addressing the deeply rooted problem they have with hateful materials.”
Marilyn Sinclair, the founder of Liberation75, said that the hateful items are traumatic to Holocaust survivors.
“We still have many Holocaust survivors with us who are re-traumatized by these offensive items being sold online,” Sinclair said. “Symbols of antisemitism cause these elderly individuals much pain and sadness. As a child of a Holocaust survivor, I sincerely appeal to Amazon to act with compassion and remove all such items now.”