Leading booksellers were this week asked to self-censor by an anti-fascist group which said a “wide range of neo-Nazi hate material” was for sale on their websites.
The call from action comes from HOPE not hate, which said anti-Semitic works including Holocaust denial and notorious forgery ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ were being advertised alongside bomb-making manuals.
Activists identified Amazon, Foyles, Waterstones and WHSmith as among those faith leaders and Conservative MPs have asked to reconsider what they sell.
Books by authors such as David Irving are on sale together with neo-nazi terror novel The Turner Diaries, an inspiration for Oklahoma bomber Tim McVeigh and London nail-bomber David Copeland. The Anarchist Cookbook is also advertised for sale on several websites.
“We were dismayed to learn that these vile hate-filled books, are openly available on the websites of respected retailers,” said Board of Deputies’ president Jonathan Arkush.
“I would hope that these outlets are not seeking to profit from these heinous books, and therefore should 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.”