To date, Amazon has not responded with an explanation as to why it removed a pro-Israel book, although the company did acknowledge the query from United with Israel. In fact, there was a huge outcry from the anti-Israel community.
A popular pro-Israel book filled with blank pages is no longer sold by Amazon, while other empty books – all with a preview button for customers – remain available. To date, the company has not responded with an explanation.
The book, A History of the Palestinian People: From Ancient Times to the Modern Era, is described as “no doubt the most comprehensive and extensive review of some 3,000 years of Palestinian history, with emphasis on the Palestinian people’s unique contribution to the world and to humanity.”
Authored by Assaf Voll, an Israeli, it consists of dozens of blank pages. Voll, a publicist, editor and creative specialist, has an M.A. in Jewish Studies from Haifa University, where he had taught as an adjunct lecturer.
Before being removed, the book sold hundreds of copies within a few days and climbed to the impressive ranking of 341 in the All Books category. It also ranked 49th in History and topped the Middle East History section. Other online sites still sell the book.
Voll told United with Israel that he received a message from Amazon, stating that “during a quality assurance review of your CSP catalogue, we found that your book(s) are resulting in a disappointing customer experience. Indicators of a poor customer experience may include customer refunds and feedback. As a result, the following book(s) have been removed from sale on Amazon.”
However, Voll explained, anyone interested in the book could have seen exactly what they would get by clicking the preview button. Also, “there are other empty books on Amazon, one of which was even a bestseller by Amazon that topped the sales table, titled, ‘Reasons to Vote for Democrats: A Comprehensive Guide.’”
“There was no intention of deceiving anyone,” Voll affirmed.
Furthermore, the book was initially approved by CreateSpace, described on its website as “an Amazon company [that] helps people independently publish & distribute books, music or films in physical or digital formats.”
Speculation that anti-Israel activists had likely influenced the decision to remove the book were confirmed. For instance, the website Welcome to Palestine, describing itself as “the largest online encyclopaedia of Palestine,” published an article titled, “Amazon removes racist book after international outrage,” reporting that “countless complaints were sent to Amazon.”
United with Israel sent a media query to Amazon a couple of days ago as well as an email to CEO Jeff Bezos, asking for clarification on the matter. A company employee wrote back, saying, “Jeff Bezos received your email, and I’m responding on his behalf. We appreciate your feedback and have forwarded it to the correct team internally.”
Since then, there has been no response and the book remains unavailable.
Meanwhile, Amazon continues to sell items such as t-shirts calling for Israel’s destruction and anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying books. Some shirts feature the entire map of Israel under the “Free Palestine” slogan – in other words calling for Israel’s destruction.
Voll said that since the book originally came to light, “I received emails and Twitter messages with curses and accusations, but no threats.”