Two Israelis told Ynet about several items that contained strong anti-Semitic elements displayed on the online giants' websites in April, including a yellow Star of David and a costume of a rabbi counting money. After the browsers registered their complaints, the two offensive items were removed.
The rabbi's costume which was available in several versions was put up for sale—with the price ranging from five to 13 euros—on Amazon's website in Germany.
Amazon used a model wearing the costume which appeared to predict an avaricious Jew redolent of traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes. The Israeli citizen who reported the item, which was not available in Israel, found it through the Facebook group "Israelis in Berlin".
On the same day that the item went on the site, one of Amazon's browsers commented on it saying: "Is this some sort of a joke that the rabbi is counting money? Amazon, I demand you remove this anti-Semitic picture. It's such a disgrace. "
Possibly out of concern that his Amazon account would be blocked, or that matters could be taken further, the seller replaced the original photo of the costume with another one. Nevertheless, he continues selling items on Amazon in Germany.
For sale on eBay: Yellow Star of David
Several weeks ago another Israeli citizen living in Berlin informed Ynet that a yellow Star of David was being offered for sale on eBay. According to the site, the seller resides in Thailand and goes by the user name virginshop_9.
The seller has been advertising the yellow Star of David, which contains the word "Jude", for several weeks. The star was used in Nazi Germany to mark Jews in the country and in Europe as their persecution intensified.
According to the seller, the star that came to symbolize Jewish persecution "looks perfect on jeans, jackets, clothes, vests, hats and bags."
After contacting the seller, the Israeli was told that she would be given a discount if she purchased a large quantity of the stars.
When Ynet contacted him and asked for his e-mail address or phone number, the seller refused to identify himself and said he is willing to communicate only through the eBay website.
A few days later, the item was removed from the site, but the seller's account remains active and he continues selling a variety of patches bearing other symbols.
eBay told Ynet that the offensive item was removed after it had been brought to the attention of the US eBay team. eBay also noted that while the seller's account had not been disabled, he was warned for violating the website's terms and conditions which are available on the site and which prohibit advertising offensive materials.
When asked why the man's account was not shut down after he had been caught selling offensive items, eBay said that in such cases the items are removed from the website, but the seller's account is not automatically closed. Nevertheless, the site assured that such an incident would not recur in the future.
After reviewing eBay's policy regarding selling Nazi-related items, Ynet discovered that such items are still being sold on the website.
According to eBay's policy, the site says it "acknowledges the historic importance of WWII and the fact that many people across the world invest their time in collecting military-related paraphernalia.
"We authorize the sale of some of the historical items, but ban those who include Nazi propaganda, or items that offend the victims," the policy explains.
Among Nazi-related items approved for sale by eBay are stamps, letters and envelopes with Nazi postmarks, money issued by the Nazi government, kits containing Nazi symbols and other religious and historic items that were manufactured prior to 1933, including swastikas.
The items forbidden for sale include prison uniforms and personal belongings of concentration camps inmates, Nazi uniforms, symbols related to Jewish persecution such as the yellow Star of David, photos from the Holocaust showing dead bodies, executions and other violent and degrading scenes, books written by Nazi leaders and swastikas manufactured after 1933.
A year ago, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem staff found anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denying books put up for sale on Amazon. After contacting Amazon about the matter, the site immediately removed the items. Among the offensive content that was removed was the book "Did six million Jews really die?"
Another case was reported three years ago in which several different items with an imprint of the Israeli flag splattered with blood were offered for sale on the website. Israelis contacted Amazon to complain about the anti-Semitic items, which led to their removal.
The websites urged users to flag offensive or anti-Semitic items, thereby helping Amazon to track down their sellers during computerized scans and manual searches.