Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos appears to be listening to neither Congress nor the Jewish community.
It’s charitable endeavor, AmazonSmile, which launched in 2013, has allowed customers to select a charity to which .5 percent of their purchase can be donated. Recently, Amazon has prevented customers from selecting charities solely based on a list published by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). This list identifies which charities the SPLC considers to be “hate group” and therefore are ineligible to receive donations.
An outside group, the SPLC, is determining which organizations are or are not charitable and which ones Amazon customers can or cannot donate to through their purchases, which have nothing to do with the SPLC.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, and 14 other U.S. House Judiciary Committee members, sent a letter to Bezos seeking “a briefing on how AmazonSmile makes its eligibility determination based on information from the SPLC,” arguing the SPLC was discriminating against “conservative voices.”
In July, Gaetz pressed Bezos at a U.S. House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee hearing as to why he used SPLC to determine which groups to exclude.
“We’re trying to make it possible for people to donate to any number of, from millions of different charities, and we need to have some sort of data to use,” Bezos told Gaetz. “And, while I accept what you’re saying, that the Southern Poverty Law Center … [is] not perfect — and I would like a better source if we could get it — that is what we use today.”
The SPLC has long been plagued with controversy over its treatment of minorities, women, and children. Its co-founder, Morris Dees, allegedly attempted to molest his step-daughter more than once in 1977.
According to an Alabama Court of Civil Appeals document, during Dees’ 1979 divorce proceedings from his now ex-wife and former employee, Maureene, Morris attempted to molest his 16-year-old step-daughter more than once with a vibrator.
Holly Buck, Maureene’s daughter from a previous marriage, testified that in the summer of 1977 Morris attempted to molest her more than once, according to the brief.
In 1994, the Montgomery Advertiser in a series alleged that Morris Dees discriminated against SPLC black employees, who said they “felt threatened and banded together.”
It was not until 2019, that the SPLC finally fired Dees– after 24 employees had complained to management about concerns of “mistreatment, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and racism,” which they argued, threatened SPLC’s moral authority and integrity.
This doesn’t appear to be the only thing threatening the organization’s “moral authority and integrity.” In fact, the SPLC has been identified as a hate group itself. It also has a reported history of “inventing hate groups” while ignoring actual hate crime perpetrators, critics note.
Which is why, another group, this time, 100 Orthodox Jewish rabbis, sent a letter to Bezos asking him to stop using the SPLC immediately.
The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV) writes in its September 1 letter that “the SPLC ‘hate map’ is uniquely detrimental and even dangerous to the Jewish community,” and urged Bezos to “directly to terminate the association of your generous AmazonSmile charity-support program with the SPLC and its ‘hate map.'”
“The SPLC specifically avoids identifying radical Islamic groups as the leading source of modern-day anti-Semitic violence, instead identifying anti-Semitism as characteristic of a variety of supremacist and separatist groups that does not include radical Islam or Islamic terror organizations.
“The SPLC even partners with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which — according to both the FBI and a Federal Judge — once conspired to provide material support to Hamas, an internationally-recognized terrorist group with beliefs rooted in radical Islam and genocidal anti-Semitism written into its charter.
“… more Jews have been murdered in the past 50 years due to radical Islamic terror organizations than all those groups that the SPLC does mention — combined. This level of dishonesty directly endangers the Jewish community.”
Its president, Rabbi Pesach Lerner, told Fox News that Amazon’s practice of denying funding to organizations that fight hate against Jews while also granting funding to organizations that fund hatred towards Jews, “is certainly anti-Semitic in effect if not in intent.”
Signers to the letter include Jewish leaders from across the country who represent a range of institutes, centers, educational institutions and hospitals, including the Rabbinical Alliance of America, Yeshiva University, Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Mount Sinai South-Nassau.