Major booksellers Amazon, Foyles, Waterstones, and WHSmith are facing strong calls to stop selling extreme material, after a HOPE not hate investigation revealed a huge variety of far-right hate and antisemitic works listed for sale via their websites.

Conservative and Labour MPs, authors and faith leaders have united to call on the retailers to remove the vile books such as notorious antisemitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and neo-nazi terror novel The Turner Diaries, an inspiration for Oklahoma bomber Tim McVeigh and London nailbomber David Copeland, from their online shelves. The Anarchist Cookbook is advertised for sale on several websites.

Labour MP Ruth Smeeth, 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? 

Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, said:

Of course, people have the freedom to write and publish, even if their views are abhorrent to the rest of us. But there is no requirement for high street retailers to sell those books on their websites. I hope these otherwise respected retailers will think again about their approach. 

Jon Cruddas, Labour MP for Dagenham, said:

The fact that vile books like the one which inspired David Copeland to bomb Londoners are openly available from the websites of high street retailers is a cause for concern. They shouldn’t be profiting from these books, or giving these books a veneer of respectability. 

Jonathan Arkush, President, Board of Deputies of British Jews, added:

The Board of Deputies has raised issues about such books with retailers like Amazon in the past, and we were dismayed to learn that these vile hate-filled books, are openly available on the websites of respected retailers. 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. 

Jon McGregor, author of the Costa Novel of the Year, said:

These booksellers have earned the high esteem in which they’re held by writers and readers alike. That’s what makes it so important they don’t lend their credibility to these horrifyingly extreme books. Instead they can make a choice to remove these books from their websites. 

Sunjeev Sahota, author of the Man Booker-shortlisted The Year of the Runaways, said:

What’s so disappointing about this is that these retailers have done so much to foster a culture of reading and intellectual curiosity in this country. I hope they respond to this research by taking the necessary steps to remove these hateful books. 

Joe Mulhall, Senior Researcher at HOPE not hate, said:

These booksellers are providing a veneer of legitimacy to some of the world’s most extreme neo-nazi and antisemitic tracts. These are works which have helped inspire extreme violence and terror plots, as well as driving hate towards minorities, particularly the Jewish community.

It beggars belief that Amazon, Foyles, Waterstones and WHSmith would remain silent after the true nature of these works have been brought to their attention. It took too long for social media companies to react to hate and extremism on their platforms; surely the booksellers won’t make the same mistake in providing such easy access to racial hatred and vile antisemitic works now.”

While we abhor these books HOPE not hate is not saying that people do not have the right to write and publish books we disagree with. We are arguing that major mainstream book sellers such as Waterstones, Foyles, Amazon or WHSmith should not profit from extreme hate content such as this,” he said.

Our further major concern is that these extreme books and authors gain respectability by virtue of their publications being available on the websites of trusted and mainstream sellers. 

 

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Hate for Sale

Some of the extreme material HOPE not hate has discovered available for sale via the retailers’ websites include a manual which includes bomb-making instructions, extreme antisemitic tracts venerated by Hitler, numerous works by some of the world’s most infamous Holocaust deniers, and a neo-nazi “race war” novel which has been linked as the template for the 1995 Oklahoma City truck bomb attack.

For example, Amazon, Foyles, Waterstones and WHSmith all sell the infamous The Turner Diaries, a fictional account of a race war written by one of America’s leading neo-nazi figures, William Pierce, owned by Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh (who killed 168 people in 1995) and which featured a nearly-identical truck bomb as that carried out by McVeigh.

The Turner Diaries was also found among London nailbomber David Copeland’s possessions: Copeland killed three people (including a pregnant woman) and wounded scores of others targeting the black, Asian and gay communities in London in 1999. The book was owned by Pavolo Lapshyn, a Ukrainian neo-nazi who murdered an elderly Muslim man in Birmingham in 2013 and attempted to set off nail bombs at three mosques.

Despite being informed about this and scores of other extreme far-right material being sold via their sites, only one of the booksellers has responded to HOPE not hate’s requests for comment. In fact, purchasing titles such as The Turner Diaries at Foyles still gets you 48 Foyalty points as part of its loyalty scheme.

Amazon has previously removed three Holocaust denial titles from its online ordering service.

Other extreme works

There are many other extreme works available via Amazon, Foyles, Waterstones and WHSmith.

The infamous 1971 book, The Anarchist Cookbook, which contains instructions for the manufacture of explosives, is available to purchase via the Waterstones, Foyles and Amazon websites.

The same three companies also sell the one of the world’s most infamous antisemitic forgeries, The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, originally produced by the Tsarist secret police and which was venerated by Hitler (and by conspiracy theorists ever since), and which has been described as a “warrant for genocide”.

Large amounts of extreme Holocaust denial literature are available via all four booksellers. The infamous Holocaust denial work Did Six Million Really Die? The Truth at Last is advertised on the Waterstones and Foyles websites, for example.

In addition, books by some of the most extreme and dangerous neo-Nazis are advertised, including pro-National Socialism works by the now-deceased leader of the World Union of National Socialists, Colin Jordan, on the Waterstones, Foyles and Amazon websites.

There are scores of other extreme far-right books available, including those by leading Holocaust deniers such as David Irving, Nick Kollerstrom, Italy’s leading denier Carlo Mattogno, and one of the world’s most active deniers, the convicted criminal Germar Rudolf.

During a time of rising racial tensions, warnings from HOPE not hate and Britain’s leading counter-terrorism police officer about rising far-right terrorism, and hatred spreading rapidly online, the time has come to call ‘enough’ on the sale of these hateful works.

HOPE not hate is urgently calling on Amazon, Foyles, Waterstones, and WHSmith to remove scores of books it has identified in a detailed briefing from sale.

 

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