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Germany’s Jewish Council says Amazon must pull anti-Semitic merchandise

Jill Petzinger
Jill Petzinger, Germany Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany Josef Schuster speaks at a ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht at Rykestrasse Synagogu in Berlin, November 9, 2018. Credit: Reuters /Axel Schmidt

The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany has demanded that Amazon (AMZN) take responsibility to remove anti-Semitic products and merchandise from its e-commerce website.

Josef Schuster told Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND) on Saturday that it is “totally unacceptable that Amazon distributes T-shirts and stickers that glorify Nazi values or right-wing ideas or incite hatred for minorities.”

Schuster said Amazon had a “moral and social responsibility” as one of the world’s largest retailers and should not see itself as merely a “supplier.”

RND reported that T-shirts with slogans such as “Nordic anger knows no mercy,” and an old Nazi pamphlet entitled “The Jew as World Parasite” were available via Amazon’s third-party marketplace platform. An Amazon spokesperson told AFP that it was taking Schuster’s advice seriously and acknowledged his concerns.

However, the Jewish Council on Monday provided Yahoo Finance with links to products that are still available on Amazon, including a range of T-shirts with Nazi leaders like Erwin Rommel printed on them, and tees with slogans like “Auch ohne Sonne braun”), which means “brown [the colour of the Nazi party], even without sun.” An anti-Semitic Nazi-era book called “Der Untermensch” is also still online.

A report from May this year showed a 10% increase in anti-Semitic crimes in 2018 from the year to 1,646 incidents.

The government’s anti-Semitism commissioner Felix Klein and the Central Council of Jews recommended earlier this year that Jews should not wear the yarmulke in public.

However, Angela Merkel’s spokesman said that it was the state’s responsibility to ensure Jewish people could be able to go out in their skullcaps in safety. Speaking to CNN in May, Merkel said that there was “unfortunately” still a problem with anti-Semitism in Germany.

"There is to this day not a single Synagogue not a single daycare centre for Jewish children, not a single school for Jewish children that does not need to be guarded by German policemen," Merkel said.