Britain’s biggest bookseller promotes Mein Kampf for Christmas (& other stories)

December 30, 2011

* Norwegian journal publishes an article by a Swedish professor suggesting Israel was behind the massacre of Norwegian teenagers last summer

* Professor at a leading British University accused of deliberately giving low marks to a student because she was Israeli

Mein Kamp is “the perfect present for Christmas”
according to at least one branch of Waterstone’s



1. Britain’s biggest bookseller promotes Mein Kampf for Christmas.
2. Swedish professor says Israel behind last summer’s Norway massacre
3. UNESCO finally stops funding Palestinian children’s magazine that thanked Hitler
4. Professor at British University accused of deliberately giving low marks to a student because she was Israeli
5. Luckily, Havel wasn’t a Guardian reader

[All notes below by Tom Gross]

I hesitate to bring depressing news during the Christmas-New Year period, but I thought these stories from Europe are so important that they shouldn’t be overlooked.



Several branches of Britain’s biggest bookseller, Waterstone’s, promoted Hitler’s book Mein Kampf as the “perfect” Christmas present.

Mein Kampf, of course, paved the way for the genocide of European Jews. Waterstone’s has now issued a half-hearted apology.

Staff at a Waterstone’s branch in the northern English town of Huddersfield, for example, used a festive point-of-sale sticker to promote the book as “the perfect present” with an accompanying personal recommendation message by a staff member trumpeting the book as “an essential read for anyone”.

According to the (London) Jewish Chronicle, Waterstone’s stores in Manchester, Liverpool and elsewhere also displayed front covers of multiple copies of Mein Kampf, a sales technique designed to attract shoppers.

There has been remarkably little coverage of this story in Britain’s national press, though The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian did run short news items, and so did Fox News in America. (I have seen no editorials or comments pieces or letters to the editor.)

Several Jewish leaders regarded Waterstone’s apology as less than satisfactory.

A Waterstone’s spokesperson said: “We do not believe we actively promote this book; our customers are capable of forming their own opinions on whether to purchase it or not… However staff should not have used inappropriate seasonal stickers on the book. We will also communicate with all our branches at the earliest possible opportunity to remind them of the sensitivities surrounding our stocking of Mein Kampf.”

Update: Alan Dershowitz (who is a subscriber to this list) reminds me that Waterstone’s is the same store that also refused to stock his book “The Case for Israel” when it was published, claiming that “There is no case for Israel”.

“The perfect present” according to a staff member called Tom at Waterstone’s in Huddersfield



In the latest burst of anti-Semitism from Scandinavia, a Swedish professor, Ola Tunander, at the (questionably named) “Peace Research Institute Oslo”, has published an article in the Norwegian academic journal “Nytt Norsk Tidsskrift” in which he suggests Israel was behind the massacre of Norwegian teenagers committed by Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik in July.

Tunander suggests that Brevik didn’t act alone and had help from a foreign government, implying it was Israel.

Far-right extremist Breivik, 32, has already confessed to acting alone when he perpetrated the Oslo bombing, which killed eight people, and the youth camp massacre in which he murdered 69 youngsters on the small island of Utoeya, northwest of Oslo, on July 22.

Among the reasons Professor Tunander gives as “evidence” for his theory is that July 22 was also the date of the bombing at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem carried out by the Irgun on July 22, 1946.

Others in Norway have criticized Nytt Norsk Tidsskrift for publishing the article.

Many of the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories now found on the European far left originate in Iran, which in turn is copying anti-Semitic hate mongering from the European far right.

* For more, please see my dispatch of August 2, 2011: Iran: “Zionist regime directed terrorist attacks in Norway” (& Iran to sue West)



The UN cultural organization UNESCO has said it will stop funding a Palestinian youth magazine which praised Hitler.

In February 2011, Zayzafouna, a magazine for Palestinian children which supposedly promotes democracy and tolerance, published an article by a ten-year-old Palestinian girl that praised Hitler for his policies.

Zayzafouna is also funded through the Palestinian Authority, which in turn is funded by European and American taxpayers.

UNESCO, which has long been criticized by Jewish groups for its bias against Israel, has said it will be more careful in future.

A UNESCO spokesperson said “We are deeply committed to the development and promotion of education about the Holocaust, and UNESCO disassociates itself from any statement that is counter to its founding principles and goals of building tolerance in the full respect for human rights and human dignity.”

Another statement issued from the agency’s Paris headquarters, said “UNESCO strongly deplores and condemns the reproduction of such inflammatory statements in a magazine associated with UNESCO’s name and mission and will not provide any further support to the publication in question’.”

The article in Zayzafouna was brought to the public’s attention by the NGO, Palestinian Media Watch.



Smadar Bakovic (also written as Berkovich), an Israeli postgraduate student at Britain’s prestigious Warwick University, has finally succeeded in having her dissertation re-marked after it was originally given a poor mark by Nicola Pratt, a professor who is known for her attacks on Israel.

After a year’s battle with the university authorities they allowed her dissertation to be re-marked by two other professors overseen by an external marker from outside Warwick University, and she obtained a distinction, with a score 11 points higher than when it was first marked by Pratt.

Professor Pratt was one of more than 100 British academics who wrote to The Guardian in 2009 under the title “Israel must lose” and calling for Britain to implement a campaign of boycotts and sanctions against Israel and Israelis.

Bakovic, 35, from Harei Yehuda, near Jerusalem, spent a year challenging Warwick’s original rejection of her appeal. Pratt is associate professor at the university’s politics and international studies department.

However, the authorities at Warwick University are refusing to discipline Prof. Pratt, and there has been remarkably little national newspaper coverage of this story in the British press, which usually has no problem running articles about Israelis.

One wonders if there would have been so little media coverage if a student was marked down by a politically active professor at a top university for being African, or Arab, or anything else other than an Israeli Jew.



On a completely different topic, this is note and short item from The Weekly Standard that I sent to some people on December 22.


I wrote a very small item about Vaclav Havel today (below). I don’t have much to add to what others have written but thought I would share it with some of my Czech friends and a few other people. One other point I would like to mention is that one of the very first things Havel did, in his inaugural speech as president on New Year’s Day 1990, was to say that the newly liberated Czechoslovakia would recognize and establish relations with the state of Israel. He simply announced it without even informing the Czech foreign ministry (which was still then staffed with many communists) that he was going to do so.

Luckily, Havel Wasn’t a Guardian Reader
By Tom Gross
Weekly Standard (website)
Dec 22, 2011

I first met Vaclav Havel in 1988, shortly after he had been released from prison and a year before he led his country out of the Communist abyss. As a young undergraduate in England I had decided to travel round eastern Europe that summer, and was given various books and other materials to smuggle to Havel on behalf of Czech dissident friends of his in London. In the years since, especially when I lived in Prague, he occasionally found time to speak to me because, as he said, he was very grateful for receiving those items.

Havel was a true liberal and understood the nature of communism better than most, which is why so many distinguished people will be attending his funeral tomorrow. But Neil Clark won’t be there.

When it published Clark’s article on Monday, The Guardian was parroting 1970s Soviet-style propaganda. Clark wrote: “Havel’s anti-communist critique contained little if any acknowledgment of the positive achievements of the regimes of eastern Europe in the fields of employment, welfare provision, education and women’s rights. Or the fact that communism, for all its faults, was still a system which put the economic needs of the majority first.”

Who needs Pravda when you have The Guardian?

[All notes above by Tom Gross]

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.