Amazon.com Inc. has suspended the affiliate status of the Web site Intifada.com, after a U.S. Internet entrepreneur started an e-mail campaign urging Jewish and business leaders to pressure the company.
Intifada.com, which carries information and links about the Middle East conflict from a Palestinian point of view, had joined the online retailer’s Associates Program, under which Web site operators include a link to Amazon.com and in return receive a portion of the proceeds from any sales made through the link.
On Thursday Intifada.com carried a statement, “Our link with Amazon.com has been suspended and under review by the company. This is due to unjustified e-mail campaign against us. Our site will remain a voice of peace in this insanity of hate.”
“Once the link was severed, I sent a message advocating that people use Amazon, as I will continue to,” said Eric Greenberg, creator of the e-mail campaign, in e-mail to a reporter.
Greenberg, founder of the Web consulting firms Scient Corp., Viant Corp., and the venture capital company 12 Entrepreneuring Inc., had spearheaded a campaign starting last weekend urging “powerful business and Jewish leaders” 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?”
Amazon did not immediately reply to a request for comment. According to information on the company’s Web site, it has over 50,000 affiliate sites. Amazon disavows any endorsement of the views expressed on associate sites, and says it bans any that “promote sexually explicit materials, promote violence, promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, or age, (or) promote illegal activities.”
The operator of Intifada.com, Qasem A. M. Qasem of Dublin denied that he has any ties to groups that advocate or carry out terrorism or violence.
“Absolutely not,” he wrote in an e-mail. “We would not even consider it. But we have links to some of their sites just like we have links to some Israeli sites.”
Qasem, a 24-year-old medical student of Palestinian origin, said he currently pays most of the costs for Intifada.com, originally sponsored by the Palestinian Student Union in Britain and Ireland. He added he simply wants to make Westerners aware of the Palestinians’ plight and the resistance against Israeli occupation known as the Intifada.
As to Qasem’s claim that the e-mail campaign was unjustified, Greenberg said only, “His comment does not dignify a response.”
. The Intifada Website can be reached at http://www.intifada.com/.