Within 24 hours of our post in October 2011, noting that the Guardian’s online bookshop was selling Gilad Atzmon’s grossly antisemitic book, The Wandering Who?, they removed the title from their virtual shelves.
However, at some point in the subsequent weeks following the removal, the Guardian placed the book back on their online shop.
Then, in March 2012, we learned that the Guardian reversed course yet again, and noted that “The Wandering Who has [again] been removed from the Guardian Bookshop site”. They attributed the re-availability of the book to a problem with their automated feeds.
The Guardian’s Readers’ Editor addressed the issue in a post (“…On the inclusion of controversial titles in our bookshop“) on March 11:
Gilad Atzmon’s The Wandering Who? was removed because of the controversy it has caused. Atzmon says he is anti-Zionist but he has been accused of making antisemitic remarks, including past praise for the “prophetic qualities” of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a falsified tract purporting to show plans for Jewish domination of the world that was written by agents of Tsarist Russia. [emphasis added]
…After strong protests last November about the inclusion of Atzmon’s book in the Guardian’s online bookshop, we removed it from the electronic feed but it was later restored on our bookshop lists and therefore other newspapers’ feeds. One reason was the technological problem but the others were considered to be broader issues. At the time Guardian executives considered that:
• If a book is removed, the impression may be created that the Guardian “approves” of all the other books on the Guardian’s bookshop feed.
• Removing a book lends an unjustified cachet to it.
When the book was restored to the list, a much clearer explanation of what the list represents for the Guardian was used:
In addition to our recommendations, our browsable selection of books also includes a feed of the top 5,000 bestselling titles through independent booksellers (not including Amazon) as supplied by Bertrams. Inclusion in this automated feed does not necessarily denote recommendation by GNM.
Now the book is off the list again following renewed protests. It will remain so.
However, while browsing the Guardian’s online bookshop just yesterday, we noticed that Atzmon’s book was once again available.
Here’s a snapshot of their page this morning (Feb. 23).
We of course don’t know how this book (described by CST as “probably the most antisemitic book published in this country in recent years.”) returned to the Guardian’s online shop, but we certainly intend to find out.
We’ll keep you posted.