A new tongue-in-cheek challenge to the Palestinian narrative was a best-seller on Amazon until the eCommerce forum bowed to BDS pressure and subsequently removed it from the site thus revealing several ugly truths contained within the dialog surrounding the Middle East.
Two weeks ago, Assaf Voll, a former professor at the University of Haifa who currently works in advertising, published a book entitled, A History of the Palestinian People: From Ancient Times to the Modern Era. The tome, filled with 120 blank pages, quickly skyrocketed in popularity before Amazon removed Voll’s book from their site and refused to pay him the proceeds from the sales to-date.
Voll told Breaking Israel News that Amazon had sent him a message stating that “during a quality assurance review of your CSP catalogue, we found that your book(s) are resulting in a disappointing customer experience. Indicators of a poor customer experience may include customer refunds and feedback.”
Amazon’s letter implied that the major complaint was that people were misled into buying a book which was, in fact, blank. Of course, the description of Voll’s book stated explicitly that it was blank, and the preview graphically showed that.
Additionally, Voll’s idea, albeit clever and poignant, was not original. Another blank book titled, Reasons To Vote For Democrats: A Comprehensive Guide, published in February, is still being sold on Amazon and is quite popular.
Voll responded to Amazon in a letter.
“I agree that Amazon should be sensitive, and react positively to purchasers who claim to have ordered the book unwittingly,” he wrote. “However, criticism based on the statement this book makes, should be ignored. To stop selling my book because of a complaint campaign organized by those holding anti-Zionist views would be to make Amazon’s entire array of what is offered to the public susceptible to whoever applies the most pressure.”
As Voll correctly noted, the “disappointing customer experience” cited by Amazon was actually not a consumer issue but a political one. Amazon received a flood of complaints led by the anti-Israel Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement, many of them claiming his blank pages were a racist commentary.
It should be noted that Amazon still has the following books available for purchase: Mein Kampf– Adolf Hitler’s manifesto, Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion-an anti-Semitic fabricated text purporing to describe a Jewish plan for global domination, and numerous volumes containing explicit Holocaust denial considered a criminal offense in many countries.
Voll is currently seeking help in finding legal recourse out of concern for the basic issues involved. The book is still available on Barnes and Noble, where it currently holds at #16 in popular reads, as well as the author’s website.