Lebanon's Hezbollah deputy leader Sheikh Naim Qassem..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A book by Hezbollah deputy secretary-general Naim Qassem was reportedly removed from the Amazon bookstore following an appeal by a reporter from The Jerusalem Post’s sister paper, Maariv.
According to an article published by the Hebrew website, Amazon was promoting the book, despite the Hezbollah organization being named a terrorist group by the United States and Qassem labeled as a terrorist.
“The US administration has declared Hezbollah deputy secretary-general Naim Qassem an international terrorist and has forbidden American citizens and businesses from maintaining contact with him,” wrote reporter Haim Iserovich in an article last week, “but the Amazon site sold Qassem’s book, which supports murdering Israeli civilians and casts doubt on Israel’s right to exist.” Iserovich first started investigating the book after UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Jan Kubis met with Qassem and recommended his book as “necessary reading.”
Though Kubis did not mention which of Qassem’s 11 books he received, the Maariv reporter discovered that at least one of these books, Hizbullah (Hezbollah): The Story from Within, was being sold by the book giant.
According to Iserovich, the book contains antisemitic and anti-Israel statements throughout, including justifying Palestinian attacks against civilians on the grounds that “soldiers hide from battle, seeking shelter in the villages and towns behind civilians.”
The book accuses Zionism as being in violation of the most basic human rights and claims that Zionists took over Palestinian land, carrying out aggression against a peaceful Palestinian people.
The United States has regarded Hezbollah as a terrorist organization since 1997. Two years ago, the US Treasury Department announced that all members of Hezbollah’s leadership, including Qassem, were international terrorists. As a result, all of Qassem’s US financial assets were confiscated, and US citizens and businesses were forbidden from having any financial contact with him.
“Therefore, the promotion of the book on Amazon.com, which allows Qassem to profit on every sale, raises a clear suspicion of breaking the sanctions and helping to finance terrorism,” Iserovich wrote.
He contacted Amazon with his findings and the company subsequently decided to immediately remove the book from its sales sites in the United States and around the world. Now, when one clicks on the book title, he or she receives a, “Sorry, we couldn’t find that page” message.
An Amazon spokesperson told Maariv, “We have comprehensive policies that outline what may be sold in our stores, and carefully monitor our stores to ensure authors and sellers adhere to these policies.
“Amazon makes a significant investment in, and strictly enforces, our policies. We have developed sophisticated, automated tools that use machine learning to scan listings on Amazon and automatically block or remove listings found to be in violation of our policies,” the spokesperson continued. “These automated tools are supplemented by teams of investigators that conduct manual, human reviews of our listings on a regular basis. In the rare instance where one gets through, we investigate and remove content that does not meet our policies.”