Leading booksellers this week agreed to remove some titles by controversial Holocaust deniers after an anti-fascist organisation named and shamed them in a report.
Big names such as Amazon, Foyles, Waterstones and WHSmith were asked to self-censor by HOPE not hate, which said a “wide range of neo-Nazi hate material” was for sale on their websites.
The organisation said that since publishing its findings, WH Smith and Foyles had removed some books, including ‘Did Six Million Really Die?’ by Richard Harwood, a Holocaust denier who said the figure was exaggerated to facilitate the establishment of Israel, and The Leuchter Report by Fred Leuchter, who argued that the gas chambers in Auschwitz were not used to kill people.
Earlier, HOPE not hate had called for retailers to take action, saying anti-Semitic works including Holocaust denial and notorious forgery ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ were being advertised alongside bomb-making manuals.
Books by authors such as David Irving are on sale together with neo-Nazi terror novel ‘The Turner Diaries’ which inspired Oklahoma bomber Tim McVeigh and London nail-bomber David Copeland. The Anarchist Cookbook is also advertised.
Board of Deputies’ president Jonathan Arkush said he was “dismayed,” adding: “I hope these outlets are not profiting from these heinous books and that they urgently amend their policies and correct this appalling lapse.”
Labour MP Ruth Smeeth, who is Jewish, said: “Extremist, hate-filled books have no place on the websites of respected retailers like Waterstones or Foyles. No-one is saying we should ban these books but why do these high street chains want to give these vile authors the veneer of respectability?”
Joe Mulhall, a researcher at HOPE not hate, said the booksellers were “providing a veneer of legitimacy to some of the world’s most extreme neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic tracts” which had “helped inspire terror and driven hate towards minorities”.
However, he acknowledged the important principle of free speech in the West, adding: “While we abhor these books, we are not saying that people do not have the right to write and publish books we disagree with… We are arguing that mainstream book retailers should not profit from extreme hate content.”