SUPERMARKET giant Tesco has apologised for selling antiJewish literature to customers in Ireland and Britain.

Tesco issued its apology after being informed by the Sunday Tribune last week that it was selling one of the most controversial items of antisemitic writing, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, described by a leading Dublin-based Muslim cleric as "absolutely vile and disgusting".

Sheikh Dr Shaheed Satardien, head of the Muslim Council of Ireland, said the book was one of the most effective texts in "polluting the minds of impressionable young [Islamic] people with hate and anger towards the Jewish community and, as a consequence, anyone seen to support Israel".

Tesco is offering the book for 25 on its online store. Irish and British customers with Tesco loyalty cards can buy it at a reduced rate using evouchers which they have accumulated via Clubcard points.

Despite being a proven hoax, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is the most infamous anti-Jewish text in existence and has been used for decades to spread anti-Semitic sentiment. The book was an inspiration to Adolf Hitler. Historian Nora Levin described it as "a manual in his [Hitler's] war to exterminate the Jews".

Court rulings in the US and Russia show that the book was written by members of Czar Nicholas II's secret police in 1903. The text, which was largely lifted from anti-Semitic literature being distributed in France at the time, was used to drum up hostility towards Russian Jews.

The document purports to describe an agreement between Jewish elders plotting Jewish hegemony through the destruction of Christian civilisation.

A spokesperson for Tesco UK, which operates the online store, told the Sunday Tribune this weekend that the company would take immediate steps to remove the book from the website.

"We are unhappy this book, which could cause offence to customers, found its way on to our site and will take immediate action to remove it now it has been brought to our attention, " the spokesperson said.

"In common with other internet book retailers, our supplier lists virtually all books published in the UK. This sometimes means there is a delay removing titles we do not wish to sell. We are reviewing this system in an effort to ensure this does not happen again. We do not wish to cause offence and would like to apologise to those who have been offended."