Amazon Pressed To Pull Anti-Semitic Film in Wake of Kyrie Irving Scandal

Kyrie Irving (Getty Images)
November 7, 2022

Amazon is under pressure to stop selling an anti-Semitic film that has become a certified best seller on the retail website since basketball star Kyrie Irving promoted it on social media.

Sales of the film Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America skyrocketed on Amazon after Irving promoted it. The film labels the Holocaust one of "five major falsehoods" and promotes the view that white people of the Jewish faith are "not the real Jews."

Amazon’s decision to cash in on the film’s popularity is fueling calls from an anti-Semitism watchdog for the retail giant to pull the documentary, according to a letter sent on Sunday to Amazon and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

"It is imperative we learn the lessons from history and accordingly urge you to immediately remove Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America from your platform," the International Legal Forum (ILF), a pro-Israel advocacy group composed of international lawyers, wrote to Amazon executive chair Jeff Bezos and company CEO Andy Jessy. "With antisemitism exploding to record levels across [the] United States, including violence against Jews, there can be zero tolerance for the promulgation of such hatred, incitement, and antisemitism."

The film’s newfound popularity, the group warns, could contribute to a rising tide of anti-Semitic violence across America. The film "is no different to the notorious antisemitic conspiracy manual The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, just adapted for modern consumption and made even more toxic by virtue of social media glorification," the ILF wrote. The ILF is sending out similar letters to the film's other major distributors, including Apple, Spotify, Walmart, and Barnes & Noble. The organization says it wants to make sure the movie "does not see the light of day."

Irving, a member of the Brooklyn Nets, sparked a scandal last week with his promotion of the movie and prompted the Nets to suspend him after he refused to apologize for mainstreaming anti-Semitism.

The Irving scandal also dealt a blow to one of the United States’ most venerable Jewish community organizations, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The organization said it had helped educate Irving on the harm his rhetoric caused but was forced to walk that back after the ball player doubled down on his promotion of the film and its anti-Semitic content. The ADL also was forced to reject a $1 million donation from Irving and the Nets that was supposed to help the group combat hate.

The film not only denies the Holocaust but also claims Jewish people falsified the historical record about it in order to "conceal their nature and protect their status and power." It also claims that white people cannot be authentic Jews, a belief that inspired the deadly 2019 shooting at a kosher supermarket in New Jersey.

The film also "gives voice to and amplifies a host of other common and long-standing antisemitic tropes and conspiracy theories about Jewish power, greed, and control," according to the ILF.

While free speech remains a cornerstone of American public life, "words also have consequences and inspire real life action, violence, and acts of racial hatred," the group wrote, adding that it "calls for the immediate removal of this film and book from distribution."

Irving’s "social media glorification" of the work is turning it into a modern-day Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notoriously anti-Semitic tome revered by Jew-haters globally.

There is precedent for Amazon removing such content. Earlier this year, the company pulled dozens of Nazi propaganda films and other anti-Semitic movies from its streaming platform. Prior to that, Amazon was "the world's largest purveyor of original Nazi propaganda films," according to a watchdog group that provided the Free Beacon with information about the films in January.

"It is extremely disappointing that Amazon is yet to issue any official response. For a company that prides itself on being a responsible corporate citizen, committed to prohibiting hateful conduct on its platform, they are seemingly instead content to profiteer from Holocaust distortion and Jew hatred," ILF CEO Arsen Ostrovsky told the Free Beacon.

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.