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Subject: FC: More on Simon Wiesenthal Center & Ebay;


>From: Paul Spirito <[email protected]>
>Subject: SWC vs Ebay
>Date: Thu, 25 Nov 1999 03:27:20 -0500
> Ebay, the online auction service that has come under fire in the past for letting people bid on pornography and firearms, encountered more problems on Wednesday when a group that monitors anti-Semitism complained about its sale of Nazi memorabilia. A letter sent to the service by Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles asked the company "to review its policy of marketing items, many of which glorify Nazism." The letter then noted that the sale of such items is illegal in Germany, a relevant argument because, using the World >| Wide Web, any user anywhere can buy from Ebay. "My goal here is not to get Ebay indicted," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the center, who registered the complaint. "My goal is to keep Ebay from selling Nazi memorabilia in Germany." In addition to sending a letter of complaint, Cooper said that he planed to go to Berlin next week to discuss the >| issue with Herta Däubler-Gmelin, the German minister of justice.
> Just last week, said that it would stop >| selling Hitler's ''Mein Kampf'' in Germany, citing German laws prohibiting sales of hate literature. The move came after Wiesenthal Center filed legal complaints against Amazon and other Web-based booksellers in August.
> [Kevin Pursglove, a spokesman for Ebay] said that blocking sales of items "is not something we want to engage in" because Ebay's goal is to serve as a venue without interfering in commerce. Further, he said, using filtering software to limit such sales would not be feasible, noting that such technology can be imprecise. "It's never quite as easy as entering one or two key words," Pursglove said.

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Date: Thu, 25 Nov 1999 10:06:19 -0500 (EST) From: Charles Platt <[email protected]>
To: [email protected]
cc: Declan McCullagh <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: FC: Simon Wiesenthal Center attacks Ebay In-Reply-To: <[email protected]> Message-ID: <Pine.SUN.3.91.991125095915.5326[email protected]> Errors-To: [email protected] MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII X-UIDL: f56e12e226052da88158ff45275f57dc Status: RO

Ebay's comment about the problem of filtering merchandise categories is of course absolutely correct. The ban on the sale of body parts and organs seems to have been popular (for reasons I cannot understand); but what about prosthetics? If a man with an artificial leg dies, can his estate auction the limb? If a striptease artiste wants to sell her breast implants, can she do so? (Note, there is an active market in second-hand implants already, especially those containing silicone, predating the FDA ban.) How about anatomical donations after death? Or newly manufactured artificial skin? It's all very well to say, "We have to draw the line somewhere." Where?


Date: Thu, 25 Nov 1999 16:45:25 +0100
From: "[anton.raath]" <[email protected]> To: [email protected]
Subject: Re: FC: Simon Wiesenthal Center attacks Ebay References: <[email protected]> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
X-UIDL: a5e2ca68320e9f21cbd10761682ce2f1 Status: RO

This is something that makes me break out in a cold sweat. If any other group or organization tried to flaunt this much power on the web, the online community would kill it.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, as a Jewish organization, has no authority to decide what online users should and should not access or buy. Like any other organization on the web (including real "nasties" like NAMBLA, anarchists, Satanists and Microsoft) the Center has the full right to disseminate its opinions, and to inform people on what they feel is right and wrong.

But banning books (either for or against Nazism) and restricting free trade in goods in a neutral zone are the same abuse of power the Hitler government was guilty of. The Nazis burned books, the Simon Wiesenthal Center would see them banned. The Nazis closed down Jewish businesses, the Simon Wiesenthal Center restricts trade in items it does not care about.

Specifically on the subject on Nazi memorabilia, I know of several collectors who started their collections while serving with the Allied forces in World War II. Doesn't quite make them "Nazi sympathizers", does it? And I have often seen Nazi memorabilia for sale in Germany, quite openly at flee markets and some stores. Not only do they sell serious collector's items, they also sell cheap plastic knock-offs, something much more likely to appeal to the "Nazi sympathizer" than an actual collector's item.

Perhaps it's time for the online community's politically correct veneer to wear thin where people try to restrict our freedom online. And perhaps it's time for the growing online Jewish community to make themselves heard on this as well, making it quite clear that neither the Simon Wiesenthal Center, nor anyone else, have the power or the authorit
y to decide for anyone online what may or may not be said or sold.

---------------------------------------------------------- anton l. raath ICQ:374187 new media pimp
mailto:[email protected]
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Date: Thu, 25 Nov 1999 22:34:00 -0500 (EST) Message-Id: <[email protected]> To: [email protected] From: Doug Carroll <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: FC: Simon Wiesenthal Center attacks Ebay X-UIDL: fe3f1150881aa6c6e65521222e275bc8

Madness. What if people wanted to show fascist symbolism in the Third Reich, and read Mein Kampf to better prevent similar tracts with new names from being accepted? Burying history is a great way to repeat it.


Date: Fri, 26 Nov 1999 22:44:59 -0800
To: [email protected]
From: Doc Holliday <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: FC: Simon Wiesenthal Center attacks Ebay Cc: [email protected]

While, overall, I agree with the activities of the SWC and admire it's founder for his work in hunting down the perpetrators of the Holocaust; the SWC has lately become a "hate" machine of it's own. They use the law and public opinion like a blunt instrument to suppress anything they don't like - civil and human rights be damned.

Overall, Israel has the worst record of human rights of any American "satellite" country that has ever existed. Formerly, I thought that honor belonged to the Diem regime in S. Vietnam. But, Israel practices state sponsored genocide and, particularly, discrimination, which the US people would not rightfully stand for in a country such as Panama, (
although we'll see what happens after the canal is "donated" to them), mainland China or Korea.

"The worm has turned" and now the persecutors have a publicist.

M. Steven McClanahan
B.Sci., MICP, M.Sci.
Holocaust and Genocide Scholar

M. Steven McClanahan
[email protected]
BSci., MICP, M.Sci.
[email protected]
Golden Retriever Technologies


Date: Thu, 25 Nov 1999 15:05:54 +0100
From: Ulf Möller <[email protected]>
To: Declan McCullagh <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: FC: Simon Wiesenthal Center attacks Ebay Message-ID: <[email protected]> References: <[email protected]> Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
On Thu, Nov 25, 1999 at 08:16:36AM -0500, Declan McCullagh wrote:
>>| Just last week, said that it would stop | selling Hitler's ''Mein Kampf'' in Germany, citing German | laws prohibiting sales of hate literature.
It is illegal to reprint "Mein Kampf" (the copyright is held by the state government of Bavaria), but as the Federal Court of Justice decided in 1979, it is legal to sell pre-1945 copies.

Date: Thu, 25 Nov 1999 10:26:09 -0800
To: [email protected], [email protected] From: Lizard <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: FC: Simon Wiesenthal Center attacks Ebay In-Reply-To: <19[email protected]> Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" X-UIDL: 92dd3c14459b4beb881f35585155f543 Status: RO

At 08:16 AM 11/25/99 -0500, Declan McCullagh wrote:
>[The Wiesenthal Center's intentions may be good, but I'm not sure if reasonable people should praise book-banning efforts.]
Censors do not have good intentions. As I noted over two years ago (, the sole 'intention' of the SWC is to keep itself alive and receiving donations now that every remaining Nazi war criminal is either dead or drooling on their shoes.

Consider this: marketing items, many of which glorify Nazism." The | letter then noted that the sale of such items is illegal | in Germany, a relevant argument because, using the World | Wide Web, any user anywhere can buy from Ebay.
And, by the same token, many items the SWC would approve of are illegal in places like Iraq and Iran and Libya. But if EBay were to ban the sales of Israeli military memorabilia, the SWC would be on them like white on rice, as they say in the South. Hypocrisy should not be praised.
That even you treat the SWC with kid gloves is disturbing. They're a bunch of book-burners, and deserve the same contempt as the Christian Coalition, Enough Is Enough, or Morality in Media.


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