Assemblymember Charles Lavine calls for removal of antisemitic merchandise sold on Amazon

Assemblymember Charles Lavine calls for removal of antisemitic merchandise sold on Amazon
Photo courtesy of the Office of Assemblymember Charles Lavine

State Assemblymember Charles Lavine (D–North Shore) has called for Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to remove what he is calling antisemitic merchandise from the e-commerce website.

Lavine, the president of the New York chapter of the National Association of Jewish Legislators, wrote a letter to Bezos denouncing the company’s sale of items with the phrase “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

He said several Jewish groups see the phrase as an “antisemitic chant” calling for the removal of all Jews living in Israel.

“The overwhelming majority of Amazon shareowners and customers would be nauseated that your platform is selling clothing with the logo ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,’” Lavine said in the letter. “…You may as well sell clothing bearing the words ‘Kill all Jews.’”

The Anti-Defamation League, an organization that addresses antisemitism and the defamation of Jewish people, also says that the slogan is antisemitic. They state that the phrase is chanted at demonstrations, associated with anti-Israel rhetoric and supporters of Hamas.

“It is fundamentally a call for a Palestinian state extending from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, territory that includes the State of Israel, which would mean the dismantling of the Jewish state,” the Anti-Defamation League states. “It is an antisemitic charge denying the Jewish right to self-determination, including through the removal of Jews from their ancestral homeland.”

The organization said the phrase can often ostracize or make Jewish individuals feel unsafe.

They state that demanding justice for Palestinians or calling for a Palestinian state “should not mean, as this hateful phrase posits, denying the right of the State of Israel to exist.”

Lavine went on to say that the “primitive acts of murder and viciousness” from Hamas on Oct. 7 are influenced by the movement that uses the phrase.

Lavine urged the Amazon CEO to use his authority and stop the company’s sale and distribution of the products, calling them “death-glorifying items.”

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