E-mail campaign targets Amazon.com over Intifada site

An Internet entrepreneur is spearheading an e-mail campaign against Amazon.com Inc., accusing the online retailer of helping to fund violence in the Middle East through a link from the Web site www.intifada.com.

"Through supporting intifada.com, your organization is now part of a killing machine -- one intent on eradicating the Jewish state and potentially all Jewish people," said the message, addressed to Amazon's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jeff Bezos, and signed by Jeff Greenberg, founder of the Web consulting firms Scient Corp., Viant Corp., and the venture capital company 12 Entrepreneuring Inc.

Intifada.com carries information and links, from a Palestinian point of view, about the Middle East conflict, and appeals to "people in the West" to lend their support. It includes the text, "At Intifada.com, we feel that the Western media, in many cases, has not reported the full facts behind the current trouble in Palestine. Indeed, this is one of the reasons we have put together this Web site."

Intifada.com is registered to Qasem A. M. Qasem of Dublin, who did not immediately respond to e-mail and phone calls seeking comment.

Greenberg sent copies of his e-mail to dozens of recipients, noting, "On this distribution list are many powerful business and Jewish leaders, and many of us will pass this on to every other we can think of." In a second e-mail he urged readers to "vote with your dollars" against Amazon, adding, "is this a company where any Jew would want to have stock ownership, whether as an individual or manager of an institutional fund?"

The object of Greenberg's rage is a link on Intifada.com, carrying the text, "You can buy books about the Intifada and Palestine from Amazon.com. As a member of the Amazon.com Associates Program, Intifada.com earns referral fees based on a percentage of sales made via the Amazon.com link on our website. This will go towards developing the site."

Under Amazon's Associates Program, Web site operators can earn up to 15 percent of sales generated through their links. Amazon.com claims over 500,000 affiliated sites through the program.

According to the company's terms, sites that are barred from the program include those that "promote sexually explicit materials, promote violence, promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, or age, (or) promote illegal activities."

Amazon also expressly forbids associates from "expressing or implying that Amazon.com supports, sponsors, endorses, or contributes money to any charity or other cause."

But that's not good enough for Greenberg, who accused the company of "generating funds for the Palestinians to murder innocent people."

An Amazon spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

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Rick Perera

PC World

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