Re "Hebrews to Negroes"
Jeffrey P. Bezos, Executive Chair
Andy Jassy, President and CEO
David A. Zapolsky, Senior VP, General Counsel and Secretary
Dear Mr. Bezos, Mr. Jassy and Mr. Zapolsky:
More than a week ago I wrote you, along with the Brooklyn Nets, to express our concerns about a virulently antisemitic book and related video, “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” by Ronald Dalton Jr., being sold on Amazon. We asked that either Amazon remove the works from their shelves or at the very least stop auto-recommending these works and add explanatory context that clarifies why these works are problematic.
We were encouraged when you reached out so quickly after the November 4 letter and expressed to us that Amazon would take action. A spokesperson for Amazon even told the New York Times that you would work with ADL to “explore adding a disclaimer to the film.”
It’s now more than a week later and it appears you are still “exploring.” We’ve since learned that Barnes & Noble has removed the book from its online store.
Let’s be crystal clear here: by platforming this film, and other clearly hateful content, you are knowingly and willingly propagating antisemitism. Not to mention, when one types in “Hebrews” into the Amazon search bar, practically every single result is some iteration of the antisemitic book/film mentioned above.
We understand the free speech and slippery-slope arguments that you face in managing a retail service like Amazon. Nonetheless you are making a decision when you choose to keep this content on your service. It’s a different decision than the one reached by Barnes & Noble. It’s a different decision than the one reached by, as far as we know, every other library across America, let alone other ecommerce services and streaming platforms. We believe it’s the wrong decision, plain and simple.
Nonetheless, if you feel that stocking this content somehow is absolutely necessary, ADL remains ready to work with you to prepare a disclaimer that you can append to these works so that they are property contextualized for consumers. Indeed, we previously worked with Amazon to do just that for titles like “Mein Kampf” and other historically antisemitic and hateful texts. We can do this again here.
Moreover, this is not the only issue that we have found on Amazon.
It is overdue for the company to conduct a top-to-bottom search of your platform for other similar works that promote antisemitism, anti-black racism, extremism and hate. In fact, our experts at the ADL Center on Extremism found a shocking number of antisemitic and white supremacist "products" on Amazon this past week. We are happy to provide you with a list of titles that our experts have found so far that fail to meet basic content standards.
As I mentioned in our letter to you last week, in 2021, ADL tabulated 2,717 antisemitic incidents throughout the United States. This is a 34% increase from the 2,026 incidents tabulated in 2020 and the highest number on record since ADL began tracking antisemitic incidents in 1979.
The book and film mentioned above, along with a number of problematic materials on Amazon, are designed to inflame hatred. Make no mistake, this could lead directly to the harm of Jews.
It’s time to do the right thing.
We thank you in advance for your cooperation and for joining us in the fight against antisemitism. Again, we remain available to collaborate with you when you are ready to tackle this issue.
Jonathan A. Greenblatt
CEO and National Director
ADL (Anti-Defamation League)