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Arab Group in Tangle With Amazon Over Carter Book

The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee is taking on internet behemoth Amazon.com, for reprinting Jeffrey Goldberg’s critical review of former President Jimmy Carter’s new book, “Palestine: Peace not Apartheid.”

Keep reading to see the group’s boycott-threatening letter, which seems to have been sent out to activists, and was forwarded to our offices by a Jewish politico.

To: Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon.com

As longtime Amazon customers, we are deeply disturbed by your treatment of Jimmy Carter’s important new book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.

Under the “Editorial Reviews” heading – a space normally used either for the publisher’s own description of a book, or for short, even-handed summaries from listing services such as Booklist and Publishers Weekly – you insist on running the complete, 20-paragraph, 1,636-word text of a review unabashedly hostile to Carter’s viewpoint. You have refused to add information shoppers should have in evaluating this review: the fact that the reviewer, Jeffrey Goldberg, is a citizen of Israel as well as the United States, and that he volunteered to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces, for which he worked as a guard at a prison for Palestinian detainees. And you have refused to balance his negative review by giving comparable space to a favorable assessment of the book, even though positive reviews by qualified experts have appeared in many reputable publications.

Because giving so much space in this location to such a negative review is so unusual – if not unprecedented – for Amazon, and because you have refused requests from many customers that you take a more balanced approach, we can only conclude that you are deliberately trying to discourage shoppers from ordering the former President’s book.

This is contrary to Amazon’s own interests as a bookseller. More important, it’s also contrary to the interests of understanding, peace, and justice for all parties to the Israel/Palestine conflict.

We are not interested in supporting a corporation that uses its power in the marketplace in such a biased and unconstructive way on such an important issue.

Accordingly, if you do not, by Jan. 22, remove the Goldberg review, move it to the more appropriate “See all Editorial Reviews” page, or restore a semblance of balance by giving comparable space and prominence to a more positive evaluation of Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, we the undersigned pledge to:

  1. Stop shopping at Amazon.com;

  2. Completely close our accounts on your service; and

  3. Encourage our friends, family, and associates to do likewise.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

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