The Phoenix Flyer

Congress members call on Amazon to stop profiting from hate speech that damages Jewish community

By: - December 2, 2022 5:54 pm

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, via YouTube

South Florida Congresswomen Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Lois Frankel are among the nearly three dozen members of Congress calling on the leadership of Amazon to remove a book and film laced with antisemitic tropes that the online retail giant is selling on its website.

The representatives write in a letter to Amazon Chief Executive Andy Jassy and Officer Executive Chairman Jeff Bezos that they need to “swiftly remove” the book and related film Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America by Ronald Dalton Jr. that is being sold on the platform.

The book and film received international attention last month after Brooklyn Nets NBA star Kyrie Irving posted a link to the film to millions of fans on his Twitter page, ultimately resulting in his suspension by the team. (Irving has since been reinstated.)

“Much like other antisemitic material that Amazon has removed from its shelves in the past, this film and book promote hatred of Jews through the use of multiple antisemitic tropes, including Holocaust denial, by terming the six million Jews who were murdered by Nazis one of the ‘five major falsehoods,'” the letter states.

It adds:

“The film and book also echo a long-standing antisemitic trope common among extremist factions of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement that claims “white” Jews are “not the real Jews” and instead stole the religious heritage of Black people. This same concept has inspired attacks against the Jewish community including a violent rampage at a New Jersey kosher supermarket in 2019 that took three lives.

“Your company’s decision to profit from the promotion of this dangerous hate speech has substantial world costs and consequences for the Jewish community and the greater society. According to the FBI’s 2020 hate crimes report, Jews were the target of 55 percent of all religiously-motivated hate crimes–an alarming statistic for a group that makes up less than two percent of the U.S. population.”

The Anti-Defamation League, which tracks anti-Semitic behavior nationwide, found 2,717 such incidents of assault, harassment or vandalism in 2021. That’s a 34 percent rise from the year before. So far in 2022 they have tracked 1,499 incidents.

Speaking in New York City earlier this week, Amazon’s chief executive, Andy Jassy, said his company had no immediate plans to remove the book and film from its website.

“As a retailer of content to hundreds of millions of customers with a lot of different viewpoints, we have to allow access to those viewpoints, even if they are objectionable — objectionable and they differ from our particular viewpoints,” Jassy said, according to the New York Times.

Amazon officials said last month that they were working with the A.D.L. to explore adding a disclaimer to the film, but have yet to do so.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has covered politics and government in Florida for more than two decades. Most recently he is the former politics reporter for Bay News 9. He has also worked at Florida Politics, Creative Loafing and WMNF Radio in Tampa. He was also part of the original staff when the Florida Phoenix was created in 2018.