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soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Holocaust, Antisemitism, Missionaries (9/12)
Section - Question 16.4: How do I counter antisemitic postings such as the infamous "Protocols"?

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                                  Answer:
   
   A good starting point is the web page
   <[5]http://www.igc.apc.org/ddickerson/protocols.html>. This site
   contains a number of links with information on how to counter the
   protocols.
   
   Another page that might be of use is
   [6]http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Cyprus/8815/. This Web site
   provides refutations to various alleged quotes from the Talmud which
   are distributed by anti-Semites as well as refutations of other
   anti-Semitic claims.
   
   In a related issue, there is an urban legend circulating about Barnes
   and Noble stocking the Protocols as a Jewish book. Here is a
   refutation of that legend, from the fellow who started the protest,
   Rabbi Eric Silver:
   
                                                              March 1999
     
     This will be (I hope) my final statement on the Barnes and Noble
     issue, and because of its content, I would ask that it be given the
     widest possible distribution. (I probably don't need to say that.
     My e-mail box, my fax lines and my telephone have been jammed for
     days.
     
     As many of you know, some weeks ago I contacted Barnes and Noble
     over the fact that they were carrying "The Protocols of the Learned
     Elders of Zion" under the rubric of "Judaica" (yes and no-depending
     upon how and where one looked on the net and in the retail stores,)
     and that their web site contained a review by a person purporting
     to be a university professor, attesting to the historicity of the
     book and claiming that many of the dire predictions and plots in
     the book were already coming to fruition. Barnes and Noble told me
     that they saw it as their mission to carry every title in print,
     cited the First Amendment, and you can guess the rest, so I wrote
     an e-mail describing the situation, sending it out to the various
     lists on which I am a subscriber. Friday afternoon I received a
     phone call from Gus Carlson who heads up the Communications and
     Customer Relations Department at Barnes and Noble, and Laura Dawson
     who manages the company's data base for the on-line and retail
     stores. They had just gotten off the phone after a session with
     ADL. That call was followed by a phone call from Tom Simon, Vice
     President of Content Development at the company. They deeply
     regretted the earlier response I had received, and both wanted to
     assure me that at no time did any anti-Semitic intent color Barnes
     and Noble's actions in this matter. I think they are to be
     absolutely believed on this score. This company carries many books,
     and each book has its adherents and its detractors. The company's
     initial response to me was to cite First Amendment freedoms, and
     indicate that they would carry even controversial books. I would be
     the first to agree with that position. "Protocols," however, is in
     a different category altogether, and the three B&N executives with
     whom I spoke all agree with that. They made plain to me that the
     company was not aware of the book's true nature at the outset of
     all this brouhaha, and that had they been, the book would have been
     classified differently. They also assured me that new company
     policy would ensure that reviews would be carefully screened to
     ensure that a spurious review does not pop up on their web site.
     
     A bit of clarification is in order: very often a book will be
     classified by its distributor, and Barnes and Noble will accept the
     classification. An out of print version of "Protocols" that carries
     the label "Judaica" will be classified that way on the Internet
     site because no one at B&N knows any different. That's a far cry
     from malice. Similarly, if it finds its way onto a shelf in a
     retail store, there are obvious reasons why the manager would place
     it in the Judaica area. The title itself is misleading, and pity
     the poor store manager who obviously doesn't have the time to read
     every single book in the store.
     
     I think we're done with this issue, and in the best possible way.
     Please-don't boycott Barnes and Noble. They don't deserve it. They
     are honest book merchants who go out of their way to provide the
     reading public with the best in books and service. At no time in
     any of this was there even a scintilla of malicious intent.
     Occasionally even a good company will slip up, but once B&N became
     aware of the book's true nature, they acted with alacrity. The fake
     review was pulled, and the book is being appropriately identified.
     They have taken steps to ensure that spurious reviews don't pop up
     on any book that might be controversial, and they have also taken
     steps to prevent a vendor from classifying a book under a
     particular heading (i.e., Judaica,) without that classification
     coming under B&N's scrutiny. Moreover, Mr. Simon has asked me to
     prepare a review of "Protocols" and he will post it on the web site
     as the first review. He also proposed that I include URL's to sites
     that would advise readers about the nature of propaganda, hate
     literature, and so forth. Lastly, he advised me that the company is
     considering setting up a new classification called "propaganda,"
     "hate literature," or something like that. That would ensure that
     hate literature (sic!) doesn't inadvertently pop up in the wrong
     section. I want to commend Barnes and Noble for cleaning up their
     own act, and I also want to commend the many of you out there who
     have taken the time to let B&N know of your concern. More than
     anything else, it proves that this is a company that listens to its
     customers, and that's what good business is all about.
     
     Rabbi Eric A. Silver
     
   Similar comments were raised about Amazon.com, which prompted the
   [7]ADL to raise the issue to Amazon's corporate office. Here is the
   result, as [8]documented by the ADL at
   [9]http://www.adl.org/frames/front%5Fprotocols%5Fzion.html:
   
     New York, NY, March 28, 2000...
     
     The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said today that Amazon.com and
     Barnes & Noble.com have agreed to prominently place on their Web
     sites ADL's statement that The Protocols of the Learned Elders of
     Zion is an anti-Semitic Czarist forgery. ADL said the online
     booksellers would state that they do not endorse the views
     expressed in the book or the publisher's description should one
     appear, which Amazon.com has had instituted for some time. Abraham
     H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
     
     We are pleased that Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com have
     responded positively to our concerns and those of the public, and
     have instituted ways to alert their customers to the fact that the
     Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion is a forgery. Since we are
     not in the business of banning books, no matter how reprehensible
     they may be, we sought and achieved the best solution to inform
     book buyers. Both Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com have
     demonstrated corporate responsibility and we commend them for it.
     
     Following is ADL's statement on the Protocols which will appear on
     Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com:
     
     "From the Anti-Defamation League: The Protocols of the Learned
     Elders of Zion, circulated by the Czarist secret police at the turn
     of the 20th century, is plainly and simply a plagiarized forgery.
     The Protocols has been a major weapon in the arsenals of
     anti-Semites around the world, republished and circulated by
     individuals, hate groups and governments to convince the gullible
     as well as the bigoted that Jews have schemed and plotted to take
     over the world."
     
     In addition, Barnes and Noble bookstores will no longer shelve The
     Protocols under "Judaica," but under "World History."

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Top Document: soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Holocaust, Antisemitism, Missionaries (9/12)
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