Amazon and Barnes & Noble, Stop Spreading Hate; Remove the Book, “The Synagogue of Satan”

Let us be clear about this from the start: this post is being written by a member of the clergy and someone who is just about as non-religious as you could find. Why is that important? Simple, we come at things from very different perspectives. When we see something and are both equally appalled, something is up.

One more disclaimer before we jump into the post. Neither of us are fans of censorship. We believe that each individual, family or institution should make their own determination with regard to what is read, watched, consumed. At the same time, we respect those companies who choose not to carry certain kinds of products because they deem them inappropriate or inflammatory; that’s what living in a free country is all about.

This noted, let’s jump into the post and the question we have had since first finding this book.

Judie: The book we are referring to is The Synagogue of Satan, by Andrew Carrington Hitchcock. It is offered as a free eBook download by both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

It was listed under the History genre in my daily eReaderIQ mailing.

I’ll generally go down the entire eReaderIQ list, right-clicking the titles that look interesting and opening them one after another once a selection of books have been made. Figuring it was a thriller  that had been mislabeled, I added it as another tab.

When I opened the tab, my curiosity became consternation. After taking a look inside, and reading some of the “facts” included by the author, I felt the need to speak out.

Dan: Hate-speak is as old as humanity itself. That is a sad statement, but it is true. Too often people build themselves up by knocking others down, rather than achieving for themselves. In antiquity, the message of hate moved slowly because communication networks were slow. In the age of the internet, things are exponentially faster. The result? Anyone with a computer can get their message out. That can be a good thing, as when good works are crowd-funded; it can also be a bad thing, as when someone filled with vitriol writes a book to spread their ugly message.

Judie: And make no mistake about it, Dan and I fully support people’s right to free speech and their right to spread their message, but there is a difference between printing a book that can be ordered through your personal website or that can be found when people Google your name or the subject, specifically looking for a message of this type.

My issue is that this is a book which is freely available to anyone with a Kindle account. There are no real indicators to those who are unwilling to spend the necessary time to fact-check* that what they are about to read is a 2012 version of the same type misappropriated information and vitriol that has been used to justify hatred, discrimination and yes — even murder — throughout history.

The book is described on Amazon as follows:

In 2006, Andrew Carrington Hitchcock self-published, “The Synagogue Of Satan.” This 60,000 word book about the conspirators running the world was translated by independent publishers into several different languages and subsequently featured on bestseller lists worldwide. Now, five years later, Hitchcock’s groundbreaking historical study has been expanded throughout and updated to the end of 2011, forming a chronological encyclopedia of this criminal network which spans over 140,000 words, and features a 30 page index to aid navigation. Included within the wealth of additional information are the complete, “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion,” together with excerpts from each of the eighty articles that make up Henry Ford’s four volume set, “The International Jew,” which are presented for the first time in chronological order. Not recommended for the faint-hearted, this is no ordinary book, and no-one who reads it will ever be the same again…

* I chose two random items from the online text to fact check. It took me well over an hour of online research before I felt I had gathered enough information to feel that I had a good grasp on what was true, what was taken out of context, and what was stated as fact and yet had been proven to be false time and time again. How many people would actually be willing to take that time?

Dan: Hate-speak is often short on intellectual integrity. That is why, quite often, purported “facts” are, when examined more closely, shown to be completely false. An excellent example is the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, a book that purported to be a roadmap for Jews by Jews to achieve world domination. Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion was used a justification for genocide during the Holocaust, and it continues to be used by those seeking to spread their vitriol. In fact, this book uses it as a reference and includes it in the eBook version.

There is just one problem — The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a fake that was written by an anti-semite to promote his agenda.

Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion,  fraudulent document that served as a pretext and rationale for anti-Semitism in the early 20th century. The document purports to be a report of a series of 24 (in other versions, 27) meetings held at Basel, Switz., in 1897, at the time of the first Zionist congress. There Jews and Freemasons were said to have made plans to disrupt Christian civilization and erect a world state under their joint rule. Liberalism and socialism were to be the means of subverting Christendom; if subversion failed, all the capitals of Europe were to be sabotaged.

Encyclopedia Britannica

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a forgery made in Russia for the Okhrana (secret police), which blames the Jews for the country’s ills. It was first privately printed in 1897 and was made public in 1905. It is copied from a nineteenth century novel by Hermann Goedsche (Biarritz, 1868) and claims that a secret Jewish cabal is plotting to take over the world.

The basic story was composed by Goedsche, a German novelist and anti-Semite who used the pseudonym of Sir John Retcliffe. Goedsche stole the main story from another writer, Maurice Joly, whose Dialogues in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu (1864) involved a Hellish plot aimed at opposing Napoleon III. Goedsche’s original contribution consists mainly of introducing Jews to do the plotting to take over the world.

Judie: As further examples of the misinformation that is presented in the book, one of the two items I fact-checked was this quote:

The problem is that it turns out Andrew Jackson never said this.

… this was attributed to a speech before Congress in 1836. That certainly is not the origin of the quote, unless it went unnoticed for almost 100 years.

The first recorded appearance of this quote dates to 1928, almost 90 years after it was supposedly uttered, when it was published in a pamphlet “Andrew Jackson and the Bank of the United States: An interesting bit of history concerning ‘Old Hickory,'” by Stan Henkles.

Henkles, a Philadelphia auctioneer and collector of Americana, is probably most famous for republishing a prayer book that was supposedly hand-written by George Washington. According to Henkles, he found the book in a trunk owned by a Washington descendant, Lawrence Washington. Despite the fact that Lawrence Washington told Henkles that the book had earlier been rejected by the Smithsonian Institute as inauthentic, Henkles sold the original manuscript to a New York collector for $1,250. He also  published a facsmile edition that claimed it had been authored by the first president at the age of 20.

Business Insider

Andrew Jackson and the Bank of the United States, by Stan V. Henkels, p8

The second item I checked was this one:

Whatever President Jackson’s intention may have been (and I haven’t found anything yet to support that he wanted that inscription on his tombstone), according to Marsha Mullin, the Curator at the at the Hermitage, his tomb simply says:


Davidson County Cemetery SurveyPage

Find a Grave

Bear in mind that these are only two facts that I randomly chose to check, and both were either misleading (at best) or completely false? That doesn’t say a lot for the writer’s credibility or for the validity of anything else in his book.

Dan: In addition to using text that has been proven false and promoting it as true, the book in question takes religious text out of context and uses it as proof-text. It also takes historical truths, decontextualizes them and then reframes them to “prove” his point.


It is true that Stuyvesant was an anti-semite who wrote this letter, but that was in the 1600s. To use his letter as a current prooftext in 2012 … that’s not particularly impressive scholarship.


This is another example of using a small historical truth, but framing it to make his hateful argument. Yes, Shabbtai Zevi was a false messiah who, upon his forced conversion sent the Jewish community into crisis. But the book pulls that historical tidbit out of context and then, once again, reframes it to prove his point. That’s not scholarship.

In all, many of the various historical examples the author uses are, at their core, accurate, but they do not serve to make his point. Instead, they offer a window into the flow of hate through the millennia. They DO make one important point — they prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that the author stands as the latest example in a long line of hate mongers. It says nothing about the Jewish community (the target in this example) and everything about Mr Hitchcock’s psyche.


The ebook version has three reviews on Amazon. Here’s what they have to say:

Well, well, well: The more things change, the more they remain the same. Two thousand years of persecution of the Jews with them being nearly wiped out by the Holocaust and we still have this kind of excrement being written. Evil does walk — only here it is through the author and not his intended subjects.

Must be for the KKK members!!!: I was shocked when I saw the title of this book. Then I became disgusted and disturbed at what this book is about. who would want to publish a book like this? The publisher and readers must all be in the KKK. Why would amazon even want this garbage listed??? Racism lives on folks ….and African americans aren’t the only ones who experience it. I know this first hand.

The third and final comment asks the question that we cannot help but ask. That question?

Why is Amazon selling this book?

The author of the comment continues:

Throwing kerosene on a bombfire of hatred: Why is Amazon providing hate mongers a forum for spreading hateful lies? The theories and lies expounded in this book only lend credence to those who want to justify hatred and persecution, pogroms, race riots, terrorist bombings, etnic clensing, etc. all in the name of consipacy propaganda. And today you are offering it for free? Why?


Amazon and Barnes & Noble: the author has the right to self-publish his book and sell it on his own website. You in turn, can choose whether or not you want to carry this type of material. Because make no mistake, if you carry such items then you are helping to promote them, particularly when the download is free.

Some companies say “No! We won’t promote such things.” Apple, for example, enforces a strict policy of not carrying apps, publications or podcasts they deem to be hate speech (see US Affiliate Terms and Conditions and FAQs: For Podcast Makers). Why are you helping to promote hatred?

Amazon and Barnes & Nobile, you have the right to carry this book. You would also be perfectly within your rights to pull it down … and you should.

Categories: Editorials


10 replies

  1. I am of mixed feelings about this. Here are three:
    – First, I go back to Lyndon LaRouche (libertarian nutjob) and think people like this author should be rocketed to Pluto (planet or not).
    – Second, your article is very well written and extremely moving, compelling and upsetting to anyone with respect for every human being.
    – Third … well, it IS censorship. Just like Apple excluding things is a form of censorship. Attempting to block public availability based on whether or not we like what someone says, or whether someone is factually accurate, or whether their work even belongs in non-fiction category … is a slippery slope. Why not block political diatribes against foreigners, women, minorities and so on? Or things that are PRO things that many people don’t like? What about some of the racist, misogynist music and other material that is popular, and so on … ?

    I guess my point is that the bar at which it becomes acceptable to circumscribe speech is – and MUST be – extremely high. The ‘fire in a theater’ argument works because it has direct causality to harm. I am always concerned whenever someone wants to remove something from availability that is clearly NOT even close to that level. And I feel that is the case here.

    BUT … like you say, Amazon and B&N are private companies not obligated to stock anything they choose not to stock. And – like Apple – they can certainly make a stance. Some will decry that move, others will applaud it. But from that moment it becomes a very difficult editorial moment for Amazon/BN, as they will be rightly called to task to remove propaganda from all sides – and one thing I DO know is that for every nutjob with hateful intent there is another nutjob on the OTHER side with equally nutty and hateful intent …

    And I am not sure that I really want Amazon and BN making those content calls.

  2. Judy, I’m appalled by the contents of the book. I’m disgusted by the premise represented. It turns my stomach to read about how facts can be so played with and fiddled with to achieve a desired end. But, the fact that it’s available on B&N and Amazon is not surprising. And, in fact, to reasonable people, the fact that the premise and contents are shocking stand alone as testament to the nature of today’s Internet Age in which IDEAS are available everywhere. Ubiquitous imagination means that the most valuable skill for all of us is discrimination and discernment. And, to be honest, something like this book is not likely to be the most damaging to society– no, it is the small, tailor half-truths told “with good intentions” on facebook pages on Main Streets throughout our country, each attempting to proselytize for this or that political candidate, or alter opinions on this or that social or economic issue –all whilst bending the truth or playing fast and loose with the facts. As an educated scientist, the most valuable thing I can teach my children is to ask, “How do you know?”

  3. See, I agree with the slippery slope concern. And I have real hesitations about asking for any self published title to be yanked from a bookstore, because it puts a lot of power into the hands of the store. And in the case of Amazon, they don’t have the greatest track record on either side of the political spectrum (they “accidentally” removed all gay and lesbian titles from their various top sellers lists for a few days until people bitterly complained about it). As repugnant as I find this book to sound, it does set up the precedent for an opposite title to also be pulled (say, this one, about a transgender teenager: )

    So here’s what I would like to see Amazon and B&N do: Don’t censor your self published titles but allow users to vote on whether said titles should show up in lists or only when searched for by title. In other words, put a voting option on there for “This book is offensive and/or promotes hate”, and if it gets 100 votes (or any arbitrary number), it can only be found by searching for the title. It no longer shows up under “top sellers/top free books” and it will not show up as a suggested title. Basically, it becomes a “by request only” title, which greatly lessens the reach the book has without asking any one person to make the judgement call to remove it. In theory this would work well because it has worked for Amazon’s aggregate review system (see Harvard’s assessment of the “wisdom of crowds”:

    I am just very sensitive to arguing for an outright ban on a title or subject because that tool has been used often and effectively against the gay and lesbian community; as much as I hate the idea of hate speech being out there, I also hate the idea that someone could come in and take away titles they deem “offensive”, even if I think they aren’t…it’s an awful position to be in, because I really want to smack the author of this book. But I also know that every day the same argument is used to take away books from teenagers that address things that are considered taboo. 

    That’s why I think asking the shoppers to vote seems, at the very least, fairer…it doesn’t ask Amazon or B&N to take a stand, and it means that one executive’s views won’t color the entire publishing process.

  4. First, I would like to thank Dan & Judie for their perspective. As mentioned in the article, with the technology available today it is extremely easy for people to express opinions, and influence those who do not research what they are reading. This is evidenced by the trends on social media sites and the rampant endorsements of various scams that people should “watch out for”. I realize that this is not on the same level as the subject matter of this posting, but it bears toward the typical member of internet society.

    That being said, I also feel that the book in question has no place in my home, on my computer, or frankly, in print of any kind. BUT…. As the other posters have said more eloquently than I can say, it is censorship. We as free people, have the right to read what we choose, and believe as we choose. The argument of Free Speech applies only so far as “the end of the speakers nose”. The person on the soap box can speak to their heart’s content. Those who listen can choose to listen, or choose to ignore. The violation occurs when those who choose to walk away are prevented.

    Allowing a person, or group to choose what is appropriate for everyone means that the views of that person or group are forced upon the people they are deciding for. While that is acceptable for parent / child relationships, I don’t believe that anyone should have the right to choose what I can or cannot read. By suggesting that a book be banned because the material is morally reprehensible, or that the issues that it brings up are based on hateful perceptions may appear to be correct. But is that not forcing your belief’s onto others?

    My reply is not intended to offend anyone, or to imply that I subscribe to the beliefs that the material in question purports. I am just saying that I choose to believe that it is a choice of an individual as to what his or her beliefs are. I may not agree. I may find the choices of others to be repulsive. But that is their choice.

    So, now I’ll return to watching animal planet and wait for the people who disagree with my point of view to put me in my place.

    • No one is going to put you in your place. =)

      You stated your position respectfully and very well. And that is why I love being able to discuss these things with the editors, team, and readers like you (and Mike Campeau above).

      As a side note: I do not expect everyone to agree with me, but I do insist on respectful and polite discussion.

      • Ditto what Judie said… and… to reiterate, we are not calling for the book to be banned, far from it. Our position/urging etc was simply that companies can choose which products they carry which they do not and this particular product is one that we wish Amazon and BN would choose not to carry. Let him sell his hate-book directly on his hate-site.

        • I guess I forgot where I was. Too much reading of the comments section of the local news stations and newspapers. People there just make comments and wait for the explosion. I appreciate your comments. That’s why I subscribe to the feed.. Oh. And for the contests.

  5. It’s interesting how the definition of the word “censorship” has changed over the last couple of decades. Censorship used to mean rounding up all the copies that exist, burning them, and forbidding anyone from ever publishing another copy. Now, you’re basically practicing censorship if you express any sort of preference.

    Amazon is unique in that they’re a store that sells virtually every book available. It would be censorship for them to remove this book, but if a small retailer did the same thing, it would not be censorship at all.

    A better solution would be allowing customers to, well, customize what they see at Amazon. Let the customer “censor” to their own tastes rather than just hammering them with constant recommendations based on previous purchases and “likes,” You’d think they’d offer an option for people to customize what sort of products they NEVER want to see.

    I can think of several categories I’d like to block completely, even if I’m viewing general lists like “Recently Added” or “Bestselling.” I’ve seen hard R movies appear on lists right beside Dora The Explorer.

    Something about that just doesn’t seem right.

    • “Censorship used to mean rounding up all the copies that exist, burning them, and forbidding anyone from ever publishing another copy.”

      I never knew it to mean that – it has ALWAYS been about suppressing release of material deemed ‘objectionable’. That might mean removing video segments, book passages, or whatever. Book Burning is an extreme form, but removing the word ‘god’ when used as part of a ‘curse’ in songs on the radio is censorship as well. Making the availability of something extremely rare is another form of limiting expression – though when it is done by private companies that is also a different thing.