Virgin Megastore in Qatar ‘Recommends’…’Mein Kampf’ — Then Pulls Book After Complaints
A Virgin Megastores outlet in Qatar removed Adolf Hitler’s anti-Semitic tract Mein Kampf from its recommended reading display after facing a backlash of complaints and negative social media comments.
Arabian Business reports:
The retailer was blasted after a Twitter user posted a picture on the social network of the book in the store’s branch in Landmark Shopping Centre in Qatar.
“Mein Kampf’s next stop: Oprah’s Book Club,” said US executive Charles Gandelman. “I have seen it being sold in places everywhere, and that’s not objectionable,” he said later. “But I thought it was quite shocking to see Adolf Hitler’s manifesto promoted in a British branded store like this.
The UAE based website The National received a statement from the company which tried to distance itself from its local staff:
“Each Virgin Megastore in the Middle East is responsible for the merchandising of products within its respective store and is not merchandised via a planogram from headquarters.
“Recently, one of the region’s Virgin Megastores included in its book section the Arabic translation of Mein Kampf, by Adolf Hitler, a title available worldwide in major bookstores and online.
“For one day, the book was included in the recommended section. The recommended tag was not an endorsement of the book’s author or its content. In response to a customer, we removed the title from the display. Commentary in the public domain was also taken seriously by Virgin Megastore and our policy is always to listen and respond immediately.”
A pro-Israel blogger has been following the incident and provides examples that this was not an isolated case. He found this blog post from November 1st written by an expat living in Bahrain who saw it on Virgin’s recommended shelf in Bahrain too:
While I don’t believe in banning the book, it has its place as a ‘warning from history’ for scholars and historians, it certainly should not be produced as cheap paperback racist porn to fuel hatred while lining pockets. To see it on the shelves of the Virgin Megastore in Bahrain’s City Centre as recommended reading’ is a shocker, I wonder what the politically correct global minded Richard Branson would have to say about it?
Arabian Business points out Virgin Megastores were sold in 2001 and are no longer part of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. Additionally, its stores in the Middle East are operated by Beirut’s Azadea Group.
The Mein Kampf displays reflect a troubling fascination in the Arab world with deeply bigoted, classical anti-Semitic texts. This reporter has personally seen the anti-Semitic, fraudulent text Protocols of the Elders of Zion for sale and prominently displayed at a luxury hotel’s bookstore in Amman, Jordan. The 1903 Russian book, which inspired Adolf Hitler’s plan for exterminating European Jews, presented fiction as fact, describing a Jewish grand scheme for achieving world domination.
The Protocols are frequently cited by Arab opinion-makers presenting paranoid, conspiratorial ideas about alleged Israeli policies aimed at mind-control and manipulation of the Arab masses.
Last month, MEMRI reported:
Lebanese columnist Bushra Gharz Al-Din wrote in the daily Al-Diyar that the revolutions of the Arab Spring are part of a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world, as described in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
An excerpt from the Lebanese column:
“About 100 years ago, 300 of the most arrogant elders of Zion convened. [They were] members of 50 Jewish groups who held secret meetings at which they plotted how to enslave the world. Some [of our readers] may be thinking that these are events of the ancient past that are no longer important and should not be remembered or raked up again. But what would [these readers say] if they knew that what was decided 100 years ago is being implemented today, down to the last detail? Yes, that is the bitter truth. These are The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
It also stated:
“Yes, that is their hidden goal. They want to rule the world, but in a different way, and that is why they have been persisting in their plan for 100 years. All their previous plans have been successfully executed, and the Arab peoples are their greatest victims, for between the [two] jaws – of the dictatorships and the Protocols – there hides the Arab citizen, yearning for freedom, democracy and justice…
“[They instigated] revolution after revolution, in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and Syria, and what is yet to come will be even worse. Governments are collapsing, tyrants are falling, and countries are being destroyed, incinerated in the furnace of anarchy and devastation.
“Yes, the Arab governments have fallen, the clerics have lost their status, anarchy and division are rampant throughout the Arab world, economic troubles are gnawing at the societies, and the peoples are being killed and suffering poverty and disease.
“After all this, the only question left to ask is: How long will we continue to let them toy with us, like puppets on hidden strings?”
That Arab columnists perpetuate this objectionable ideology is troubling, but perhaps even more so is the fact that until an American traveler pointed out Virgin’s Mein Kampf promotion, the Western franchise was all too happy to feed the region’s delusional and dangerous tastes and make a quick buck.
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