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Wiesenthal Centre Commends Amazon: "Now that ‘amazon.de’ has Dissolved its Partnership with the German Extreme-Right NPD, the Company's Next Step Should be to Refuse the Sale of Hate Worldwide”

Wiesenthal Centre Commends Amazon: "Now that ‘amazon.de’ has Dissolved its Partnership with the German Extreme-Right NPD, the Company's Next Step Should be to Refuse the Sale of Hate Worldwide”

Paris, 18 June 2009

In a letter to Amazon.com Inc. Senior Vice-President Worldwide Operations, Marc Onetto, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, commended Amazon for the dissolution by its German affiliate, ‘amazon.de’ of its partnership with the extreme-right National Democratic Party (NPD).

The Centre noted that “Marc Onetto's responsibilities also cover “amazon.de”, and pointed out that “only 10 days ago, in local elections across Germany, the NPD seized over 120 town hall and council seats in major urban centres on anti-immigrant and xenophobic platforms.”

Samuels added that “Indeed, last month, this party, viewed by many as the heir to Hitler’s Nazis and often quoted for antisemitic and Holocaust denial insinuations, was on the verge of bankruptcy.

The amazon.de ‘Partnership Programme’ would have further reinforced the capacity for incitement to hatred, in pouring sales percentage euros into the party’s coffers. Nazi texts, left unsold on the NPD’s own website, would have claimed an ostensible legitimacy when reappearing on ‘amazon.de’.”

The letter continued, “We would like to believe that, rather than the calls for boycott of Amazon across Germany, what really led to your cancellation of the NPD partnership was the set of criteria on your website that defines ‘forbidden articles’ under German law, but, above all, as ‘amazon.de’ policy. This unambiguously excludes ‘discrimination based upon race, gender, religion, nationality, handicap, sexual orientation or age’.”

The Centre suggested that “morality and good practises often drive sales even more than legal compliance”, urging the Amazon “to follow this positive step by similar applications of the quoted moral criteria of ‘amazon.de’ policy in all other of your jurisdictions.”

Samuels stressed that “Politics are frequently colour-coded as green, blue or red. This week, ‘amazon.de’ has rid itself of the brown stain of the NPD”.

“Now let Amazon.com worldwide lead its industry peers, in cooperation with the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, by refusing the sale anywhere of all print and audiovisual products based upon hate.”, concluded the Centre.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400.000 members. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the OAS and the Latin American Parliament.

For further information, please contact Shimon Samuels at +33.609.77.01.58.