And they say there is no such thing as a Jewish conspiracy...From: Final Conflict
10,000+ Amazon.com Customers Demand Fair Treatment for Jimmy Carter's Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid
Online giant favors hostile review, omits former president's latest book from bestseller list Berkeley, CA
More than 10,000 customers of Amazon.com have signed an online petition threatening to close their accounts and take their business elsewhere if the Internet shopping site continues to present a new book by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter in an unusually negative light.
The petition, posted at http://www.petitiononline.com/Amazon07
, accuses Amazon of treating Carter's Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid
unfairly by posting a lengthy and unabashedly hostile review on the page where it lists the book, in a section normally reserved for short, even-handed descriptions of the title in question. In addition, Amazon simply omits the Carter book from its version of the New York Times bestseller list. In reality, the book ranked number 5 in the Times' latest list of hardcover nonfiction bestsellers. Amazon's version of the same list, however, avoids mentioning Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid by brazenly omitting the number 5 slot it jumps directly from number 4 to number 6!
In the book Carter, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for helping to bring about a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, points to Israel's 40-year-long occupation of the Palestinian territories as the key obstacle to peace in the region. He compares Israel's treatment of the Palestinian population to the brutal apartheid system that once kept South African blacks subjugated. The review that provoked the petition, written by New Yorker staff writer and former Israeli prison guard Jeffrey Goldberg, labels the book "cynical," disparages Carter's understanding of the conflict as "anti-historical," and accuses him of being "easy on Arab aggression and Palestinian terror." The review originally appeared in the Washington Post. According to Henry Norr, a former journalist and initiator of the petition, its purpose is not to challenge Amazon's right to post a negative review, but to demand the same kind of nondiscriminatory treatment most books get on the site. The Goldberg review appears on the Amazon page < http://www.amazon.com/Palestine-Peace-Apartheid-Jimmy-Carter/dp/0743285026/sr=8-1/qid=1168556613/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-2193402-4648137?ie=UTF8&s=books
> under the heading "Editorial Reviews," a section that on most Amazon book pages contains only one- or two-paragraph synopses from book-listing services such as Publishers Weekly or the American Library Association's Booklist, or descriptions by the book's publisher or by Amazon itself.
Currently, the "Editorial Reviews" section on Amazon's U.S. site includes a one-paragraph, 198-word blurb from Publishers Weekly followed by the full, 20-paragraph, 1,636-word text of Goldberg's totally negative review. The petition, which is addressed to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, suggests several possible remedies: removing the Goldberg review, moving it to a secondary page Amazon already uses for additional material on the book, or "restor[ing] a semblance of balance by giving comparable space and prominence to a more positive evaluation of Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid." If Bezos doesn't choose one of these options by January 22, petition signers pledge to stop shopping at Amazon, to completely close their accounts, and to urge friends, family, and associates to do likewise. "I think Amazon should stick to their usual formula of posting only brief, more or less neutral descriptions on the main page for any book," said Norr. "But if they insist on including Goldberg's attack piece on the U.S. site, they owe it to their customers as well as their shareholders - to put something more positive alongside, something that mentions the many merits of the book." "If you want to see what a normal review looks like, you have only to go to the Amazon UK treatment of Carter's book," said Paul Larudee, who worked with Norr to publicize the petition. "It is a single paragraph, mildly promotional, but not grinding any particular political ax. By comparison, the North American site is hatchet job."
Other international Amazon sites also present the book even-handedly, according to reports by signers of the petition. So does the U.S. site of Amazon's chief competitor, barnesandnoble.com . Before creating the petition, Norr, Larudee, and others sent e-mail directly to Bezos, objecting to Amazon's one-sided treatment of the book and suggesting several favorable assessments from publications such as the Wall Street Journal, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The Nation that could be added. "Unfortunately, Bezos turned us all down flat," Norr said. Responses from Amazon's "Executive Customer Relations" staff suggested that the letter writers post their own reviews. In fact, Amazon does display reader reviews on its book pages, and in the case of Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, a large majority of the posted reviews are positive about the book. Reader reviews, however, are not displayed as prominently on the page as "Editorial Reviews," and they may not carry as much weight with potential buyers. The petition also complains that Amazon does not include information customers need in order to evaluate Goldberg's attack on the book such as the fact that he volunteered to serve in the Israeli military and served as a military policeman guarding Palestinian detainees in a prison camp notorious for its harsh conditions. The petition was first posted on January 10, when it garnered 84 signatures. The next day 693 more customers signed on, and since then the total has climbed steadily. Signers come not only from the U.S., but from all over the world. Many added comments expressing admiration for Carter's book, disappointment over the site's apparent bias against it, and determination to follow through on closing their accounts if Amazon doesn't correct the situation. The petition will be sent to Bezos later this week. As of noon PST on Jan. 17, the total number of signatures on the petition stands at 12,989 and continues to climb rapidly.
Other assessments of Carter's Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid: Ali Abunimah, "A Palestinian view of Jimmy Carter's book," Wall Street Journal, Dec. 26, 2006: http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6310.shtml
George Bisharat, "Truth at last, while breaking a U.S. taboo of criticizing Israel," Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan. 2, 2007: http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/editorial/16363618.htm
Chris Hedges, "Get Carter," The Nation, Jan. 8, 2007: http://www.thenation.com/doc/20070108/hedges
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