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UK booksellers accused of selling far-right and anti-Semitic titles

British anti-racism group Hope Not Hate has accused UK bookselling chains Foyles, Waterstones, WH Smith and Amazon of lending ‘respectability’ to several Holocaust denial books and far-right titles by selling the books on their websites, reports the Guardian.

Among the titles Hope Not Hate accused the retailers of selling are Did Six Million Really Die? by Richard Verrall, The Leuchter Reports by Fred Leuchter, and works by Holocaust denier and convicted criminal Germar Rudolf. The campaign organisers also highlighted the availability of the anti-Semitic text The Protocols of the Elders of Zion; The Turner Diaries, which inspired Oklahoma bomber Tim McVeigh and London nailbomber David Copeland; and The Anarchist Cookbook, which contains bomb-making instructions.

Joe Mulhall, senior researcher at Hope Not Hate, called on retailers to remove the books, stating that while people have the right to write books others disagree with, major mainstream book retailers should not profit from ‘extreme hate content’. Mulhall added that making these books available helped to legitimise their message. ‘These are works which have helped inspire extreme violence and terror plots, as well as driving hate towards minorities, particularly the Jewish community,’ said Mulhall.

In their responses, Waterstones, Foyles and WH Smith said they did not stock the books in their stores and that titles are automatically added to the websites using high-volume title feeds from Nielsen BookScan UK. Waterstones added that it did not endorse the views and opinions in the books and would act to remove a title should it receive notification from the police or judicial authorities.

Foyles chief executive Paul Currie added that after conducting its own research, the retailer found the ‘overwhelming majority’ of titles cited the campaign were not available to order from Foyles. A scan of the websites by the Bookseller also found discrepancies in the availability of the titles listed in Hope Not Hate’s report, although Mulhall claimed this was due to retailers ‘quietly’ removing the titles in question from sale since the campaign began.

In a comment to the Bookseller, Waterstones managing director James Daunt said: ‘It is a difficult subject and one which requires a lot of thought. If you are going to censor things, where do you draw the line? We are using an industry-standard database which draws in books which have been published. The titles are clearly not sensible, some are downright obnoxious, but they are not illegal, so I think for Waterstones it is a very difficult issue.’


Category: International news