“If this is a decision that they made out of their concerns about what the symbol itself stands for and what it has inspired, then I think they’re gonna have to revisit they’re overall policy on other issues,” Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) associate dean, Rabbi Abraham Cooper told The Algemeiner on Friday. “like the swastika, the Celtic cross, which is used by many white supremacists and Nazis… the Hamas flag, Hezbollah, and all the other terrorist groups on the State Department’s terrorist list.”
Amazon announced earlier this week that it would stop selling Confederate flags and merchandise following last week’s deadly shooting at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina. An ongoing debate over the use of the Confederate flag, which is seen by many as a symbol of the slave-holding South, intensified in the aftermath of the shooting.
While all merchandise depicting the Confederate flag has been removed from Amazon, a quick search on the website shows that it still sells Nazi SS and Hamas flags as well as other items featuring the banners, such as T-shirts, magnets and even a baby’s bib. Amazon also offers various merchandise bearing Nazi swastikas, such as jewelry and iPhone cases.
Cooper said the online retailer should explain its decision to ban the selling of Confederate flags while still offering customers other flags with hateful symbols such as the banner of ISIS, which was used in the bloody terror attack on Friday in southern France.
“I think it’ll be very hard for them to explain why they made one gesture, which is obviously a gesture against racism and extremism, and leave other symbols unaffected,” he said.
The SWC associate dean held back from calling on Amazon to ban Hamas and Nazi flags, and other hateful symbols from its site. He said a move to ban symbols of extremism all over the Internet is a mistake, not very practical and “it won’t go very far.” An alternative solution, according to Cooper, would be for online companies to resolve not to profit from the sale of items that utilize hateful symbols.
“There’s nothing wrong with full profit entities on the Internet to say, ‘you know what, that’s not why we’re in business, we don’t want to market these symbols, we’re not gonna carry them anymore,’” he said. “I think that’s an appropriate decision to make.”