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eBay bans Nazi memorabilia

LOS ANGELES, May 6 (JTA) — Jewish groups are applauding eBay’s decision to ban Nazi memorabilia from its online auction site, effective May 17.

“eBay has made clear that those who wish to profit by the sale” of Nazi memorabilia “have no place in the eBay community,” Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement.

The decision, which also bans material associated with murders committed in the past 100 years, exempts wartime German stamps and coins, as well as books and movies about World War II.

eBay previously had discontinued auctions involving recent hate-filled memorabilia, with the exception of items more than 50 years old that it deemed “historical.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which had lobbied for the policy change for two years, welcomed the decision, noting that eBay had become the largest retailer of Nazi material online — much of which is believed to be fake.

“Because eBay charges for auction listings and gets a cut of successful sales, it is morally responsible for what is available on its massive site,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Wiesenthal Center’s associate dean.

The move by eBay, one of the most popular e-commerce auction sites, brings it in line with stricter European rules against Nazi material.

Not everyone lauded the new policy, however.

One person protesting was Arthur Rosenblatt, a Florida- based collector who has sold thousands of crime- related items through eBay, according to wire service reports.

“I’m Jewish, and I think if people want to sell Nazi memorabilia on eBay, that’s their business,” Rosenblatt was quoted as saying.

But Cooper disagreed.

“This is not a matter of free speech rights. We’re talking about commerce,” he said.

The Internet portal Yahoo similarly banned Nazi and Ku Klux Klan memorabilia in January after adverse court decisions in France and international protests.

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