Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Question for the Anti-Defamation League

Here are a couple brief quotes from Jay Michaelson’s review of Peter Schater’s Jesus in the Talmud.
===============

Do Jews Have a Jesus Problem?
By Jay Michaelson
Published in The Forward
April 29, 2009, issue of May 08, 2009.


The image of Jesus that one gets from the Talmud is that of an illicit, sex-crazed black magician who uses trickery to lead Israel astray. In BT Sanhedrin 103a, Jesus is depicted as a poor disciple who “spoiled his food,” which Schafer speculates may be a euphemism for sexual misconduct: “to eat the dish” being a recognized Talmudic euphemism known for the sex act itself. A later emendation adds that he “practiced magic and led Israel astray.” And the virgin birth is ridiculed as a cover-up of Jesus’ true parentage: His mother was an “illicit woman” (another Talmudic locution), perhaps even a prostitute.

Shockingly, however, the Talmud does not shirk responsibility for Jesus’ death. On the contrary, it says that he deserved it and that the Jews did it themselves. Jesus was, the text relates, a sorcerer, an idolater and a heretic who led Israel to idolatry. His conviction was entirely just, and his execution — stoning and then hanging — was carried out in strict accordance with rabbinic law.

Indeed, the texts discussed in the best book of the recent crop, Peter Schafer’s “Jesus in the Talmud,” were once considered so outrageous that they were self-censored from European editions of the Talmud.
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My question for the Anti-Defamation League, and for all those who argue that it is “hateful” to ask for the name, with proof, of one person killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz, who charge that only a bigot would ask: are these passages from the Jewish Talmud, a reference work used by rabbis for centuries to indoctrinate their communities, not a bigoted work? How are they not? Or were these passages written by men who could have been convinced to change their minds?

Rabbi Steinfeld? Have you discussed these passages in the Talmud with a broad swath of Christian students at Humboldt University? No? Why not?

Fredrick Toben convicted of "Holocaust Denial," faces jail in Australia

The Australian reports that my friend Fredrick Toben was ready to go to jail yesterday as he faced a hearing on what punishment he should face for breaching a court order barring him from publishing material denying the Holocaust.

It is reported that he has vowed to go to jail rather than pay any fine imposed on him. Justice Bruce Lander has reserved his decision on what specific penalty he should impose.

The case against Toben was brought by Jeremy Jones, the former president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry. There's a surprise for you.

Here is a link to a brief interview with Toben on YouTube.

Humboldt State University, Update Number Two

Well, those who in fact have the final say as to what goes on at The Lumberjack have convinced the staff that Smith should no longer be allowed to post a reply to anything posted there and have apparently blocked our I.P. address. Here is the URL to the list of Letters to the Editor of the Lumberjack.

If you would like to reply to any of the letters, that would be nice. I would suggest, if I may, that you would reply with civility and some kind of empathy for those who are in the grip of a “true belief.” It can be devastating if you find what you deeply, sincerely believe is being challenged with what appears to be, might be, a sound argument.

Humboldt State University, Update

I was not going to post this letter here, it's necessarily more of the same, but I am unable to post it at The Lumberjack. Don't know why, but the paper is not accepting my comments now. Maybe one of the Lumberjack advisors, or community volunteer advisors, has decided that Humboldt State students have heard enough from me. So here it is. Just trying to keep 'em honest. Good luck with that one, eh?
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Professor Devons:

I am replying to your letter only because some Humboldt State students will read it and I doubt that any professor on your campus will make any attempt to help either them or you.

I see that you received a B.A. in 1994, so you are no longer a kid, but going on 40 years I suppose. And now you have a MSW and are apparently a professional scholar lecturing at Humboldt State.

So there you are with 30 or so others, gasping and sighing over the discovery that a campus newspaper had published an ad asking a question (good grief—asking a question!) about World War II. All that is necessary is to answer the question and it goes away. Didn’t occur to you? Did it occur to anyone else in the room with you that evening? If it did, what was the answer?

You make assertions about the history of WWII about which you do not claim to have any special knowledge, and as a matter of fact do not appear to have any. That’s commonplace on American university campuses, so of course you’re not alone. Nevertheless, you charge the staff of the Lumberjack with having failed to act professionally because the published an announcement asking for the name, with proof, of one person killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz. You assert that they failed to act in the face of hatred,

You reference Elie Wiesel, a man widely known as a fraudster, though this is not addressed by American university professors. For an intro to this issue see a brief text by myself.

And finally, the only hatred in my ad is demonstrated in what you projected onto it out of your own consciousness, your own desire. Look at your language. Again, this is a commonplace among American academics which, as a class, support the taboo that protects the Holocaust story from being examined, freely, in the light of day.

The staff of the Lumberjack, if it wants to stand on the side of a free exchange of ideas with regard to such matters as the history of World War II, is probably going to have to stand alone. The chance that even one professor at Humboldt State would stand with them, openly, in the name of intellectual freedom, is not very likely.

I would hope that I will be proved wrong here but. . . .

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Humboldt State University, where a rabbi responds to our question of "One Person, with Proof"

Rabbi Steinberg:

I published an ad in The Lumberjack where I used 17 words to ask if there is one professor at Humboldt State University who can …. provide, with proof, the name of one person who was killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz. You have written more than 1,000 words to demonstrate that you cannot answer the question and that you will not try to answer it.

I believe there will be students at Humboldt State who will recognize this fact.

Other than that, you have a number of interesting observations to make. I agree that we do not really want to believe that human beings are capable of monstrous atrocities. While you list a string of sites where Germans did, or allegedly did, commit such atrocities, you do not mention atrocities carried out by the Americans during the same war. Such as the intentional slaughter of the helpless, core civilian populations of all the major cites in Germany and Japan, ending with the nuclear destruction of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

I understand, being a rabbi, you are primarily interested in the suffering of Jews, but my sense of things is that it is really rather too shallow to not feel the need to express any empathy whatever for the tens of millions of others who suffered unjustly in that war, particularly when we, our own families, participated in carrying out the slaughters.

It is my understanding that to attain the position of rabbi you have to know how to read with some competence. That being so, I find it difficult to believe that you would suggest that my ad denies the reality of the Holocaust. To begin with, you do not define Holocaust. Next, my ad does not mention Holocaust. What's going on? Really. What's going on?

You do not explain to Humboldt students why it is hateful to ask the question I ask. I believe it can be argued, successfully, that it is hateful to accuse Germans of mass murder using WMD (gas chambers) and at the same time insist that the accusation should not be questioned in the light of day.

While it is true that I address students, I am targeting professors. It is my hope to encourage students to stop following in the footsteps of a professorial class that is committed to suppressing any routine examination of the gas-chamber story in order to preserve the taboo that they have erected to protect it. I hope to encourage students to stand up and ask their professors the question I put in the ad, and to not allow the professor to dance around all over the place. Like you have done here.

You write that Humboldt students are idealistic, eager to understand political events that shape our lives, and deeply concerned about social and environmental justice. This sounds good to me. If only their professors, and should I say their rabbis as well, would encourage that eagerness to understand such political events as the exploitation of the gas-chamber stories to morally justify all manner of atrocities and injustices.

You like to use the word bigot when referring to me. My understanding of the term is that it refers to somebody with strong opinions, especially on politics, religion, or ethnicity, who refuses to accept different views. Let me say that I am willing to be convinced that I am wrong to ask for the name, with proof, of one person who was killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz.

Are you willing to be convinced that you are wrong to believe that I am wrong in asking it? I do not believe you are. I will not characterize what this implies to me with regard to your own character.

You write .... A bigot’s obsession has drawn our students into an examination of world history and the responsibilities of a free press.... I could not ask for anything more. My understanding is that an examination of history and a free press makes the same promise to you as it does to me. I am willing to live with that promise. Are you? Your present letter does not encourage me to believe you are.

If Lumberjack journalists are to listen to guidance from faculty, I suspect that they will find themselves guided toward a free press and intellectual freedom for some, but not for all. For the privileged few. For rabbis, but not the Jewish community as a whole. For the academic minority, but not for the student majority.

I’m willing to be convinced, eager to be convinced, that I am wrong about this. Pray, keep me up to date.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Murray State University, The News, a letter from a student

Holocaust ad degrades survivors, mocks struggle

Sara Settler

Updated: Friday, April 24, 2009

April 21, 2009 may have seemed normal for many students. But for me, it was a day remembering a horrific tragedy for my ancestors more than 60 years ago: The Holocaust.

The only reason I bring up such a sensitive topic is because of an advertisement posted in last week’s issue of The News. At the bottom of page 5b, in a simple black-and-white ad that looks like it was written by a student, the advertiser states a student needs help with a research project. An ad for research help isn’t uncommon for The News, but as I kept reading, I soon found out the truth behind the ad.

It poses the question, “Can you provide, with proof, the name of one person killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz?” My first reaction was, I don’t think anyone can list an exact name unless the person were a relative. Most people wouldn’t even know a relative had died in the Holocaust unless there were a survivor in the family. That’s when it hit me: The ad’s writer is trying to prove the Holocaust never happened. This shocked and appalled me. How could someone even think about writing an ad like this? Just off the top of my head, I can think of many important people from the Holocaust: Elie Wiesel, Anne Frank or the three survivors in my friend’s family. Is this ad suggesting these people are liars?

The ad asks the reader, “You may have been told that it is ‘morally wrong’ to ask this question. Do you think it is? Tell me why.”

Why, YES! I do think this is morally wrong. Can you name for me someone that has died in the Civil War? How about someone who died in something as recent as the war in Darfur? People can look up names for the Civil War, but for the genocide in Darfur there are no papers. Does this mean the war in Darfur isn’t happening? We have historians for a REASON! They share these facts with us and even provide pictures!

There is no way one could say these wars never happened or aren’t happening! So how can someone even question the Holocaust’s validity? All the pictures I have seen would be enough for me to believe, as well as the stories I heard in Hebrew school. I’ve even heard first-hand stories from Holocaust survivors who lost a family member.

I still remember one story: Imagine being in a crowded cattle car, not knowing where you are and without food or water for at least three days. You’re pushed out of the car and formed into a straight line; the only person you know is your brother. You notice a “doctor” is looking over everyone. Some people go to the left, while others go to the right. You go to the left while your brother is pointed right.

You soon realize your brother is nowhere to be found. You look to the right and see a huge pillar with smoke. That is how my friend’s grandmother learned she’d lost her brother that day, all because he didn’t fit into Hitler’s Aryan race. A story like this is absolutely heart-shattering, no matter what you believe.

The end of the ad states, “If you can find the one professor I am looking for, I’ll owe you a beer. At the very least.” This too is appalling! I can’t believe the way of admitting defeat is by giving the student a beer.

The writer of this ad can’t take back everything he or she has done by giving a student a beer. He or she can take back everything said in the project’s Web site, codoh.com, and write an apology to the people angered by this. I’ll be one of the people looking for it!
===============

This is my response,
posted to the Murray State News on 28 April


Ms. Settler:

I can understand why you would be upset to learn that it is being asked if there is one professor at Murray State University who can provide, with proof, the name of one person killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz. Particularly if your family is Jewish, and you have grown up in an environment both at home and at university when such questions are effectively taboo.

Nevertheless, I want to make three observations here. Because of what you have written above, I think it might take some struggle on your part to view these observations with some kind of inner calm. Almost everyone in your community, and probably in your family, will tell you that you are wrong to even consider thinking about it. Still, you are in university, and that is part of what is done there. Questions are asked, taboos are broken, and both sides of even the most sensitive issues are discussed. That, of course, is in the ideal university.

One: The Yad Vashem Archive collection, the largest and most comprehensive on the Holocaust in the world, comprises 55 million pages of documents, nearly 100,000 photographs, film footage and the videotaped testimonies of survivors. The library contains more than 80,000 titles, thousands of periodicals, and a large number of rare documents. And yet you have been led to believe, sincerely, that they cannot provide, with proof, the name of one person killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz. I believe that should set off a warning bell for you.

Two: Germans are human beings just as Jews and the rest of us are. If we are going to accuse Germans of using monstrous WMD (gas chambers) during WWII to murder millions of defenseless civilians, we have the moral obligation to allow the accusation to be examined in the light of day. As a matter of fact, in my view it is morally wrong that at university such questions are taboo and students are discouraged from asking them.

Three: Watch Miami Vice. Blood is found in an alley, a pistol thrown in a dumpster. The murder weapon is investigated with the greatest of care. The identity of the victim is pursued relentlessly. If Miami Vice can do it, I would expect that Yad Vashem with its 55 million(!) pages of documents should be willing to take a run at it.

Why not?

Meanwhile, good luck to you.

Monday, April 27, 2009

University of New Mexico, again

Here is another letter from, apparently, a professor at UNM. I publish it here only to demonstrate to folk how it is with the American Professorial Class when it approaches our question. The professor's letter and my response are both posted here, along with a few other comments.
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Dr Arthur Frederick Ide
posted 4/25/09 @ 9:51 AM MST


The legitimate conduct of inquiry requires the researcher to question all things--thus Darwin questioned creation and came up with the theory of evolution, Jeanette Rankin questioned why only men served in Congress and was the first woman elected to Congress, etc--and so it must be in all cases and all times--as not all evidence exists. While the Holocaust was a crime against humanity by the Third Reich, the numbers of those who perished has never been fully recorded, nor was it only Jews who suffered, for over 500,000 (by estimates) were gays and lesbians, 3 million were (by estimates) White Russians, and countless were Protestant ministers and their congregations, so to claim that the Holocaust was an attack solely on people of the Jewish faith or who identified it is wrong and illogical--for that is tantamount to denying the State of Israel's holocaust launched against the people of Gaza (most are Egyptian) and the Palestinians--and it is a holocaust not just a war. It is the obligation of researchers to verify evidence and attempt to come up with a more concrete accounting.

That is not to say that the holocaust was justified nor did it [not] exist--as records, photographs of executions, etc. as they are graphic proof of Nazi atrocities, but now (and for years to come) a true scholar will assess and reassess this atrocity and come up with something that is more (not absolutely) concrete.

Unfortunately I did not read the advertisement, but the author/sponsor of the advertisement who allegedly claimed the holocaust was a hoax is more than an idiot--for he/she shows no intellectual inquiry nor citations to prove such preposterous claims. Faculty Member Sippert is correct when he writes: " We also have authentic physical remains of the Holocaust, such as the camps themselves and their execution chambers." I have over 500 books in my personal library of photographs of executions as well as photographs of those starved to death, gassed, etc. Only one without any learning would claim the holocaust did not exist--and then only if she or he was a member of David Duke's KKK (and he was just expelled from the Czech Republic).

==========

My Response

Dr. Ide:

The murderous Israeli behavior toward Palestinians is that, but not “genocide.” Genocide refers to the attempt to physically destroy an entire people. The Israelis are not attempting to do that, whatever we think of their brutality and inhumane self-absorption.

More importantly, according to your own words, you had not read the text of my advertisement when you used language referring to me as an idiot, unwilling to show intellectual inquiry, no citations to prove my preposterous claim that the holocaust was a hoax.

Are you a professor, or are you not? My ad did not claim what you write it claims. Who would know best—-the man who wrote it, or the professor who did not read it?

You silly fellow.

You write that only one without any learning would claim the holocaust did not exist. I will suggest to you and to students at UNM that only the silliest of professors would claim anything whatever about a text he has admittedly not read. Meanwhile, I urge students at UNM to read the text of the ad and then talk things over with you. Perhaps they will be able to help you in some small way.

University of New Mexico professor responds to my One Person with Proof ad

The following letter was written to The Daily Lobo by a Ph.D professor at The University of New Mexico. I apologize if all these guys sound alike to you. But I think as we add it up, we will help to make clear that with regard to this issue the professorial class, as a class, has only a generic answer for any serious question about Auschwitz or gas chambers. None appear to be willing to indulge themselves in any independent thinking whatever.
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Burden of proof is on ad writer for showing Holocaust was hoax

4/22/09

Editor,

A recent ad in the Daily Lobo asserts that the extermination of Jews in World War II was a hoax and challenges "professors" to provide proof of the extermination. Since when is it OK to advance a proposition and then shift the burden of proof to others? The extermination of Jews by the Nazis was first reported in the New York Times on July 3, 1944, and was therefore a contemporaneous account. Subsequent reports of the Holocaust from newspaper reporters, photojournalists and liberating Allied soldiers made the news for several years.

And since then, the mutually corroborating accounts of survivors have been recorded ad infinitum. We also have authentic physical remains of the Holocaust, such as the camps themselves and their execution chambers. So, personally, I happen to believe that the Holocaust was an authentic event. This belief is similar to others I happen to hold but cannot personally prove. For example, that the United States declared its independence from England in 1776.

If the ad writer wants to change my mind, then let him bring forth the proof of the hoax. Bring me the positive evidence that shows large numbers of individuals conspired together over many years, across ethnic and linguistic divides, in the midst of a war, to fabricate a story and managed to get that story and accompanying horrific pictures on the front pages of every major newspaper in the world. Bring me the positive evidence of faked photographs of mass graves, of holes dug in the ground and actors dressed up as emaciated corpses. Bring me the evidence of a conspiracy, by Jews and Allied soldiers alike, of epic scale. Until then, I fear that the real danger is not that the ad writer deludes Daily Lobo readers, but that he deludes himself, to paraphrase historian David Hackett Fischer.

Scott S. Sibbett
UNM faculty
===============

Here is my response to Professor Sibbett, posted on The Daily Lobo page

Editor,

Professor Sibbett writes that A recent ad in the Daily Lobo asserts that the extermination of Jews in World War II was a hoax and challenges ?professors? to provide proof of the extermination. The ad does not assert what Sibbett claims it asserts, and it does not challenge professors to provide proof of what Sibbett claims it does. Review the text of the ad.

The key text in the ad asks for help in finding one professor on your campus who can provide the name, with proof, of one person killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz. Professor Sibbett really needs to pay attention to the text, just as if he were in class.

As a matter of fact, Professor Sibbett is wiling to address what was written by the New York Times, other newspaper reporters, photojournalists and liberating Allied soldiers, conspiracy theory, ethnic and linguistic divides, horrific pictures, mass graves, holes dug in the ground and so on and on.

The one point that Professor Sibbett appears to be unwilling to address is the question posed in the ad: is there one professor on the UNM campus who can provide, with proof, the name of one person who was killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz.

If there is such a professor at UNM, apparently it is not our Professor Sibbett. As a matter of fact, he does not even mention gas chambers here, or Auschwitz. Why not?

Why avoid the one question asked, and spend so much time running around the mullberry bush?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Western Illinois University

This letter to the editor by Christopher Kovacs Ph.D. was published by The Western Currier at Western Illinois University. It's a little remarkable for me to understand that, repeatedly, the professors and others respond not to the text of the ad, asking for the name, with proof, of one person killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz, but to what the implications of the text are. Still, if a Ph.D professor does not understand that he needs to address the text that he's going off on, what good does it do to have done all the work he needed to do to get his degree in the first place?
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Letter to the editor

4/24/09


I would like to address the recent "advertisement" submitted by Mr. Bradley R. Smith of the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust in the April 20 issue of the Western Courier. Specifically, I would like to address Mr. Smith's call for research on proof of whether the Holocaust actually occurred. Let's do it. Let us examine the evidence and see if we can provide insight into whether the Holocaust really did happen or was a world-wide fabrication.

As any scholarly researcher knows, you need to begin with gathering background information and primary source data. So I submit to Mr. Smith the following ideas for examining this historical "question":

1. Speak directly with the president of this university, Dr. Alvin Goldfarb about whether the Holocaust occurred and whether there is any direct proof of it's occurrence to him or its effect on his family.

2. Board an airplane to Eastern Pennsylvania and spend some time talking with my sister's father-in-law. Specifically, ask him about those permanently tattooed numbers on his forearm. How did he get them? By choice? Could this be proof?

3. Finally, find a former GI who happened to liberate Buchenwald in the spring of 1945 and ask him if there is any "proof"? Trust me, there are still many WWII veterans out there and it would be important to talk to someone who actually lived during this period of world history that you are questioning.

I realize this may take a little work on your own part, but, really, isn't exposing this supposed "historical lie" worth a little time and effort on your own part?

I am sure that many of us had the same feelings of disgust, sadness, bitterness, anger, etc. when reading this advertisement on Monday. And deservedly so. But as a member of a non-Jewish faith, but with very close personal ties to many Jewish individuals, I also found humor. Humor in the sense that individuals like Bradley Smith and organizations like the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust actually believe that their hate, distorted beliefs, and re-writing of history will be believed by this generation of young students, and the next generation, and the next, and so on.

Give this generation (and all future generations) credit for seeing the truth of the Holocaust and understanding our history. No amount of false advertising or bigotry will ever prevent that from happening.

-Christopher Kovacs Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Kinesiology

===============

Following is the reply I posted to The Western Currier.


Professor Kovacs:

Please read the text of my ad one more time. You will see that it does not call for research on whether the Holocaust actually occurred. Isn’t that right?

I would be glad to chat up your President Alvin Goldfarb if I can be assured he will at least try to provide the name, with proof, of one person killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz. Do you believe that is the case?

With regard to your sister’s father-in-law having numbers tattooed on his forearm, are you saying that he can answer the question posed in my ad?

What does your observation about American military liberating Buchenwald have to do with proof that one person was killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz? There is Buchenwald, you see, and then there is Auschwitz. See the difference?

You can, if you like, project hate, distorted beliefs, bigotry, and false advertising onto the text of my ad, but I would suggest that you should first treat with the specific text, and not what you see as the implications of the text. Once you do this primary work, then it would not appear to me to be unreasonable for you to attach to it whatever ad hominem attack you wish. In the meantime. . . .

Thank you.

Bradley Smith
www.codoh.com

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Life in Baja

This last Wednesday evening my wife and I went for a bit of a walk on the Boulevard. She’s had a cold and we would walk to the pharmacy a couple blocks from the house. We did that, bought some pills and cough medicine, then walked south about ten minutes, rested a bit, and walked back toward our street. The street lights on the Boulevard were out and we didn’t really like being in the dark.

Approaching our corner we found half a dozen police cars and a confusion of people where a half hour earlier there had been only the guardia who checks the cars going in and out of our neighborhood. Now we walked through the confusion, my wife greeting the owner of the cantina one door north of our street. He was talking to two policemen but he took a moment to return her salutation soberly and we walked on. On warm evenings I sometimes sit at an outdoor counter in front of his place to drink a beer while I read.

As it turns out, the story is this. When we first walked out to the Boulevard it was about 9:30. When we returned to find the corner invested with police, it was a few minutes after ten. We have since learned that at 9:45 a white panel had driven up to the guard shack, four masked men with automatic weapons had jumped out, grabbed a fifteen-year-old boy who liked to hang around there, and shoved him into the panel. When the quardia protested the gunmen threw him in the panel with the boy and off they went.

The boy is the younger son of the cantina owner. The guardia is new and has been on the job only five days or so. The kidnappers then strangled the guardia, cut off his head, and threw it off the bridge onto the freeway below. They could have shot him in the head and had done with it, but the supposition is that they wanted to impress on the boy that it would not be in his interest to not cooperate, so they strangled the man and decapitated him while the young man was looking on.

Pretty used to share taxis with the guardia sometimes on the way to her work on the other side, or her return. My wife knows part of his family. He was a swell guy. And so on. I’m a little disturbed. As in depressed. Not certain why. I think it’s because the kidnappers would strangle their victim, rather than shoot him. When Pepe was murdered he was shot in the head. A simple, even generous murder, if I can put it that way. No pain. No distress. Imagine being strangled!

The word on the street is that the kidnappers will demand one million dollars in ransom for the cantinero’s son. Who knows how much they will accept.

Last night I was walking the couple miles downtown, resting the knee a couple three times at bus stop benches. When I was walking in the street in the dark past the big clearing where the city park is going to be created, a small red car pulled up in front of me in what appeared to be more of a hurry than necessary. When three rowdy guys got out from three different doors of the car all at once I had a sinking feeling. I’m not certain that describes it. I felt something, a sudden anxiety maybe. Fright. I don’t like to admit it. I picked up my pace and didn’t look back. It was nothing. I don’t know what it was, but it had nothing to do with me.

Now the neighbors are reviewing other crimes, other murders that have gone down the last few months that I didn’t know about. We’ve been here ten years now. I’ve never had the slightest problem with anyone. I walk in the dark, alone, year after year. Nothing. But now I feel uneasy. I feel uneasy inside the house. My wife doesn’t want me to walk after sundown. Maybe I won’t. One thing in my favor. Kidnappers who know anything at all know I have no money. I’m no good to them. None of us in this house has any money.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

U Louisville Cardinal: the Editor Sets Things Straight

[When I posted this reply to the Cardinal I was in too much of a hurry. The post is full of typos. Here I have corrected the worst of them. I'm trying to get out of town this noonday to meet with my publisher in San Diego. Goes to prove that we are right when we repeat the old saw: "Haste makes waste."]

===============

Ms. Lynch:

Regarding your note “Setting Things Straight”:

You write: "For as long as I can remember, hearing stories about the war and my uncles experiences during it; I have always thought it was Auschwitz he was speaking of. After a phone call and catching up on the family, it came to light that I was incorrect. It was the “Dachau” concentration camp. For that, I apologize. Everything else was as I wrote. The horrors witnessed and the memories stashed away could be similar for any soldier, no matter which concentration camp (of the many) that was entered."

You have done the professional thing, and moreover the honorable thing, to write very simply that you were wrong about your uncle and how he had "entered" Auschwitz. We are all wrong about stuff all the time, including yours truly. At the same time, this raises a couple related questions.

You will note that despite your certainty, you were wrong.

From what you write, no professor at UL came forward to help you. You called "home" and simply asked what was what. If one or more professors at UL attempted to help you here, I have to assume until I learn better, that they did not want their names brought into the matter. I would like to learn that I am wrong about this.

Moreover, while American soldiers were told by the U.S. Government that there were homicidal gas chambers at Dachau where civilians had been murdered, it is now recognized that the U.S. Government was lying about that. To find out the truth about "gassings" at Dachau you only have to call the USHMM and ask. The point I want to emphasize here is that the U.S. Government lied about Dachau to its own soldiers, a lying that continued for years after the war.

Reminds one of the "lying" that went on before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and how the [false] WMD story morally legitimated the invasion and the war.

To wind this up: it is my understanding that students at U Louisville in the overwhelming majority believe that the Germans used gas chambers to murder 4-million (1946), or 3-million (through 1993) or 1.5 million (through 2006) or almost 1-million (today). Why should they not believe it? Why should you not believe it? There is not one professor at U Louisville who will chance going out on a limb to give us the name, with proof, of one (one out a million?) who was killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz?

Why do you believe that no U Louisville academic will come forward? What is your best guess? After you make your best guess, I encourage you to reconsider the commonplace belief among American students that the Germans acted the role of "unique monsters" during WWII, while our own folk, who blasted and burned alive the innocent civilian populations of all the major cities of Germany and Japan, ending with the nuclear Holocausts of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, have been come to be called our "greatest generation"?

No one questions what the Americans did with their WMD (great fleets of heavy bombers) during WWII. At the same time the German WMD are being questioned in many Western nations (where it is "illegal" to question it) and throughout the Muslim world.

Anyhow, if the press in America, and at American universities, is not meant to include among its ideals that of promoting a free exchange of ideas on Historical and other questions, how does it differ from the press in a fascist or communist country?

A free exchange of ideas. We are wrong about things, each one of us. We should have the courage to risk being found out that we are wrong. That means putting ourselves on the line. Not hide behind an academic curtain of silence, lack of commitment, an unwillingness to have it discovered that we are wrong about this or that, and have been wrong for a very long time, and the unwillingness to admit that we have know that we have been wrong.

You have avoided all this yourself [with] a simple, decent act of correction. Would that a couple of your professors could, would, do the same.

===============

Note: I am going to include a URL here that I tried to post on the Louisville Cardinal page but could not. Maybe later. Anyhow it is a chapter from my book

Confessions of a Holocaust Revisionist, Chapter 7

FYI: the entire book in on-line.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

U Virginia Cavalier, Conflicting Views Complete History

A remarkably mature column by a Cavalier columnist. If anything more like this shows up anywhere I would appreciate being notified of it. And then, where is Rana now?

===============

Conflicting views complete history

By Faraz Rana

Published: Friday, April 7 2000


HISTORY, I had always believed, was a study of facts. Questioning these facts was questioning what's already happened. At least in my history class, it was something that rarely was done.

In college newspapers throughout the country, Bradley R. Smith, founder of the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust (CODOH) is attempting to make sure history does not remain indisputable anymore. CODOH publishes a pamphlet called The Revisionist, which includes essays that raise doubts on several aspects of the Holocaust.

Despite the unpersuasive nature of their arguments, CODOH should unreservedly be given the right to publish their opinion. As Smith argues, "It promises a free press, open debate, intellectual freedom, and political liberty. What's wrong with that?" However, the massive controversy that followed the publication of the pamphlet in Wake Forest University's student newspaper, The Black and Gold, along with the Duke University Chronicle's refusal to print the publication has ignited a debate over the limitations of freedom of speech. Additionally, The Cavalier Daily has refused to publish The Revisionist two years in a row.

[….]

The main controversy stems from whether the CODOH should be allowed to express its opinion through a public forum, such as a school newspaper. Aside from the constitutional right to freedom of speech, publishing the CODOH's pamphlets allows for a free flow of ideas and opinions. There is nothing to disclaim that some of those ideas may be offensive and perhaps even wrong, as it seems likely in this particular case.

However, there is no validity in a free marketplace of ideas if it only allows for popular and accepted opinions. An opinion retains its right to be expressed as long as it remains an opinion, and isn't forced upon people as the "truth."

The CODOH, by attempting to convince people to think differently, asserts that its principle aim is to promote "intellectual freedom." It never asserts that its motives are to establish a fact and even maintains that, "we remain open to being convinced that we are wrong."

An even more important consequence of allowing for this "intellectual freedom" is that it allows people to rectify any inaccuracies the CODOH might harbor of the Holocaust. While it may be hard to convince Smith and CODOH through simple rhetoric, publicizing their views probably will bring forth enough knowledgeable scholars to dispute the substance of their opinion, as opposed to their right to form one.

If those who are challenging the CODOH's right to form opinions are confident that their views are "objective fact," then they should be secure in the belief that any misperceptions can be proven wrong. Suppressing dissenting views will only foster their growth, and allow any inaccuracies of history to continue. In the article "Holocaust ads in campus paper renew revisionism debates" published in The Chronicle, editor of Duke's newspaper Katherine Stroup said, "my overreaching philosophy is that harmful, hateful ideas have to be aired so people can be aware, respond and act against them."

The study of history is not entirely a study of facts, as I had once thought. It is also a study of the interpretation of facts. Thus, while history itself will never change, our study of it remains boundless.

(Faraz Rana is a Cavalier Daily viewpoint writer.)











Monday, April 13, 2009

University of Louisville, The Cardinal

Following is the brief text that I was going to post here. Then I discovered the latest editorial, by the editor-in-chief of The Cardinal. That made this text unnecessary. But I have decided to post it anyhow. There is a story here, though it is not the one I thought would surface.
===============

The Cardinal at University of Louisville has published the new CODOH ad, “Are You a Student.” There are half a dozen letters to the editor published on-line. For the most part, predictably, they attack The Cardinal and its editorial staff for allowing the ad to be run.

Now the Cardinal staff is going to be under pressure from individuals on campus and off to not allow the ad to run again. If the staff does not bow down to this pressure all those associated with the paper will be charged with immoral behavior. Those who do not want to deal with the implications of the ad will set aside the ideals of journalism and of the university itself. Everything will be put into the taboo against asking the question. Cardinal staff will not find any segment of the faculty willing to stand with them. They will be alone.

I hope a couple professors on the Louisville campus prove me wrong about all this.

===============

Just found:


Letter From the Editor:

Why you won’t see an advertisement regarding the Holocaust this week

Kathy Lynch

Published: Monday, April 13, 2009
Updated: Monday, April 13, 2009

Over the past week, I have received numerous e-mails, text messages, voice mails and even a poke on my Facebook. To what do I owe all this extra attention? People were upset about an advertisement placed in The Louisville Cardinal by someone attempting to disprove the atrocities of Auschwitz and other concentration camps.

I would like to take a moment of your time to explain that first of all, as editor, I saw the ad the same time you, our readers, did. Although this individual wanted to run the ad again, it was up to me to make the decision of whether or not it would. I decided without hesitation to pull the ad; it will not run again.

Second, let me explain how the paper works. The Cardinal is broken into two groups, the editorial side and the advertising side. This paper is an independent student newspaper, a non-profit organization that makes all its income via ad sales. Those of us on the editorial side do not have anything to do with the ad sales part.

Although, I am sure when this particular ad was purchased, our ad people were under the assumption it was a legitimate request for assistance in a research project, which we get all the time.

And finally, I would like to apologize to anyone who was offended by the ad in question. As the niece of one of the first American troops to enter Auschwitz; I have heard personal accounts of the mayhem committed against an entire race. The genocide has left a scar on mankind, which will never fade. It is important for us not to forget what happened; I know when my uncle thinks back to entering the camp, he becomes emotional. This man, larger than life, the monarch of our large family, cannot escape the memories of what he saw that day.

I am not Jewish; I did not lose anyone in those camps. But I know it happened. The heartrending and hopelessness I sensed through my uncle’s words of the carnage and destruction of human life he and the other troops found left a profound imprint on his soul. But, even as the proud soldier he is, my uncle donated the medals he was awarded to the Patton Museum in Ft. Knox. I have always thought he did not need medals to remind him of that war, or what he experienced during it.

This individual who placed the ad, offered to buy a beer for anyone who can find the evidence he is looking for to disprove this event. I would like to see him spend 10 minutes with my uncle; he would need more than a beer.

================

I wrote a brief note to Ms. Lynch:

“Ms. Lynch: The Americans did not 'enter' Auschwitz. It was liberated by the Soviets.”

Thinking about it now, I hope it is Ms. Lynch who is mistaken here, not her uncle. I would not want to undermine the admiration and good faith she has for the man.

The Cavalier, University of Virginia

From: Bradley Smith
To: t.jenkins@cavalierdaily.com
Sent: Tuesday, April 07, 2009 9:25 AM

07 April 2009

Tyler Jenkins:

We received this note from advertising on Friday last:

“Due to the content of your ad we had to pull it from our newspaper. Our editor-in-chief Tyler Jenkins will be able to answer any questions you may have. A refund will be issued to you, and Tyler will be able to assist you with that. Tyler's email is t.jenkins@cavalierdaily.com. Sorry for any inconvenience. Best, Zahab Adenwalla.”

I appreciate your offer to respond to a few questions. I want to say up front that we understand that The Cavalier has the right to reject any advertising whatever. Nevertheless, as a journalist, you do understand that we are interested in the story.

The ad was accepted by advertising, [which] accepted pre-payment for the ad, so naturally we believed it was going to run.

Did you make the decision on your own recognizance to pull the ad, or were you approached by a faculty advisor or some other individual who convinced you that it would be morally wrong to run it?

What language in the ad, specifically, was most objectionable? We would suppose it would not be our reference to “beer.” But. . . .

We are willing to consider a rewrite of the text of the ad for publication in The Cavalier, but need to know the specific language that you and/or your advisors found unacceptable.

Or is it the subject matter itself? Is there no question whatever about German “gas chambers” that can be posed in The Cavalier? If there are some questions that can be asked about the matter, and some that cannot, can you tell us which is which?

We know that some will see our question as being “insensitive” to Jews. As Germans are the accused, do you not think it “insensitive” to Germans to not allow such a question to be asked?

Thanks again for being willing to answer a few questions. We look forward hearing from you.

Bradley Smith

===============


From: Andrew T. Baker
To: bsmith@prodigy.net.mx
Cc: Connie Huang ; Tyler Jenkins
Sent: Thursday, April 09, 2009 6:00 AM
Subject: Cavalier Daily CODOH Advertisement

Mr. Smith,

You sent an email earlier this week to Tyler Jenkins inquiring as to the reasons why we pulled your advertisement that was scheduled to run last week. Our advertising staffer, Zahab, might have accidentally referred to him as the Editor-in-Chief. In fact, Tyler is our Advertising Manager, and he passed your message along to me.

In terms of the decision to pull your advertisement, I can guarantee you that it was not because of faculty or administrative pressure. The Cavalier Daily has been financially and editorially independent of the University since the 1970s - there's not a single adult in our organization and I make all final decisions regarding our content and business operations.

It is also worth explaining why we originally accepted your advertisement and then later pulled it, after you had sent us payment. Advertising staffers are responsible for contacting clients and booking advertisements. If they come across any ads which they believe may be controversial in their message in any way, they are supposed to flag those ads for review by the Advertising Manager, Chief Financial Officer, and myself. Unfortunately, Zahab is one of our newest staffers, and wasn't exactly familiar with that policy. She should not have booked your advertisement without first submitting it for review, and the fact that she did so without consulting anyone else was an error on our part - unfortunately it caused us to mislead you, and for that I apologize.

Your advertisement was not brought to my attention until the day it was slated to run in our paper. After examining your advertisement, I determined that the content of your message was inappropriate for publication in The Cavalier Daily. My main reason for this decision was the fact that its message, while in the spirit of free and open inquiry, is unquestionably offensive to those of Jewish background. While I strive to produce a newspaper which challenges opinions in a forum of open debate, I consider refuting the Holocaust to be in poor taste, regardless of what context it is in.

While you are welcome to resubmit your advertisement with different language, I will tell you that as long as its message remains the same, it is unlikely that I will approve it for publication.

I hope you are coordinating with our Ads department and our Chief Financial Officer, Connie Huang (c.huang@cavalierdaily.com) in order to make sure that your refund is received - it is certainly not our intention to take your money and then refuse to run your ad. If you have any problems receiving that refund, please don't hesitate to contact me again and I will endeavor to speed the process along as much as possible.

I thank you for your desire to do business with us, and I'm sorry that this arrangement didn't work out.

-Andrew

Andrew T. Baker
Editor-in-Chief
The Cavalier Daily
(434) 924-1082
editor@cavalierdaily.com

===============


On Fri, Apr 10, 2009 at 9:57 PM,
Bradley Smith wrote:


Andrew:

I thought I mailed this reply to you yesterday, but upon checking, do not find a record of it. In any event. . . . [here it is again].

Andrew T. Baker
Editor-in-Chief
The Cavalier Daily
(434) 924-1082
editor@cavalierdaily.com

Mr. Baker:

Thanks for your prompt reply.

I understand how the communication mix-up occurred, what with a new person in advertising. No problem. It’s also good to know, in one sense, that you did not pull the ad because of faculty or outside pressure, which has been the case at other campuses. And I’m not worried about the refund. That will get straightened out.

Here’s the rub. I wonder if you can really talk about it. You write:

“Your advertisement was not brought to my attention until the day it was slated to run in our paper. After examining your advertisement, I determined that the content of your message was inappropriate for publication in The Cavalier Daily. My main reason for this decision was the fact that its message, while in the spirit of free and open inquiry, is unquestionably offensive to those of Jewish background. While I strive to produce a newspaper which challenges opinions in a forum of open debate, I consider refuting the Holocaust to be in poor taste, regardless of what context it is in.”

I asked if “. . . there is no question whatever about German “gas chambers” that can be posed in The Cavalier? If there are some questions that can be asked about the matter, and some that cannot, can you tell us which is which?” You don’t say. Why?

I wrote: “We know that some will see our question as being “insensitive” to Jews. As Germans are the accused, do you not think it “insensitive” to Germans to not allow such a question to be asked?” You do not say. Why?

On the one hand, I don’t want to be a bother, but on the other hand, why not answer?

I believe you might be in a corner here that many, if not most, American journalists find themselves, and not just campus journalists. On the one hand, your work is to ask questions and to go with the truth as you find it. At the same time I am going to assume that you have little and probably no expertise with regard to revisionist arguments about the German gas chambers. That you have not read Mattogno, Crowell, Graf, Butz, Faurisson, Cole or any of a dozen other revisionist writers who have addressed the subject. This is simply a state of affairs in the world of journalism. Please correct me if I am wrong in your case.

The second issue is that of “insensitivity.” I agree that the question will be seen by many as insensitive to Jews. But what about the issue of being insensitive to Germans? You did not respond.

My view is that Germans are human beings much like, perhaps entirely like, Jews. Why be insensitive to either? Unfortunately, I have found that while American journalists are in the habit of being very sensitive to Jews, the issue of being sensitive to Germans is not on the table. Never! We can accuse Germans of any monstrosity we choose without the slightest regard to how it might affect their sensibilities. Is that not true? I could give you a very long list of examples here, but do not think it is quite the right place.

What is lost in this business is that the journalist fails to ask questions -- on principle! A failure of principle, in fact, that beggars the ideal of journalism itself. In this instance it appears that (forgive me) a newspaper editor has refused to allow a question to be asked by a third party in order to protect the sensitivities of one group at the expense of another. Why? Especially if the one who refuses to ask, or allow to be asked the question, has no real familiarity with the subject?

In short then, the two questions:

Are Jewish sensibilities more important than those of Germans? If so, why?

Is there no question about gas chambers that can be asked in The Cavalier? If not, why?

Thanks for your attention.

Bradley Smith
---------------------------------------------
www.codoh.com
http://bradleysmithsblog.blogspot.com/

===============


From: Andrew T. Baker
To: Bradley Smith
Cc: Connie Huang ; Tyler Jenkins
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2009 12:46 AM
Subject: Re: Cavalier Daily CODOH Advertisement

Hi Mr. Smith,

I did indeed receive your reply. While I appreciate your interest in discovering our decision-making process on these matters, I'm afraid that the real answer is that we handle all things like this on a case by case basis, relying on the judgment of our managers and editors. I'm not willing to elaborate more on it than that.

A university-funded newspaper or public company might have to explain such a decision further. However, as we are a private corporation, the most I can tell you is that we acted in our best interests in deciding to not run your advertisement.

Again, I appreciate your desire to better understand our decision in this instance, but at this point I consider this matter closed.

-Andrew

From: Bradley Smith
To: Andrew T. Baker
Cc: Connie Huang ; Tyler Jenkins
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2009 4:04 PM
Subject: Re: Cavalier Daily CODOH Advertisement

================


From: Bradley Smith
To: Andrew T. Baker
Cc: Connie Huang ; Tyler Jenkins
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2009 4:04 PM
Subject: Re: Cavalier Daily CODOH Advertisement

Sorry Andrew: I forgot to copy to those above. No my intention.
================

Andrew:

Thanks for replying.

It was not my intent to discover the internal decision-making process of The Cavalier, though now that you mention it I do not see why it should be secret. I did ask a couple questions I thought relevant with regard to your earlier response.

“Are Jewish sensibilities more important than those of Germans? If so, why?”

“Is there no question about gas chambers that can be asked in The Cavalier? If not, why?”

I am going to assume you do not want to go there for reasons that essentially are very conventional. Your faculty at U Virginia has led you to believe that it is somehow “morally wrong” for you to involve yourself with such questions. That is, it’s taboo. I urge you to consider what that suggests with regard to the ideals of journalism, and of American culture. Being a reporter can be a serious business, or it can be what it almost always is, a conventional evasion of “taboo” information, taboo arguments, taboo questions.

Anyhow, good luck to you.

--Bradley

Friday, April 10, 2009

Combating Holocaust denial far from complete according to Hillel rabbi

Rabbi Kenny Weiss, the executive director of Houston Hillel, agrees with the editor of The Daily Cougar at U Houston that the censorship of the ad asking for "One person, with proof," should be “applauded.”

“As members of the Houston and U of H Jewish communities, we should applaud The Daily Cougar for the well-written editorial that clearly, unequivocally and publicly places Holocaust denial in its proper context. Nonetheless, even a cursory reading of the online comments to the editorial tell us that our work in combating Holocaust denial is far from complete.”

Rabbi Weiss would probably applaud the fact that The Cougar subsequently deleted his “online comments to the editorial” as well. All of them. Censor this, censor that. Just the ticket for the Hillel rabbis. Is there one Hillel rabbi on any campus who would argue against such institutional censorship?

Germans are human beings. They intentionally killed innocent, unarmed Jews. Americans are human beings. We intentionally killed innocent, unarmed Germans and Japanese. It appears that talking up the killing of Jews can create a market for immense profits. There is no market whatever for talking up stories about killing Germans or Japanese, so we remain silent. We don’t worry about it. Follow the money. Follow the money.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Twenty-nine thousand here, one there

The BBC tells us that a US judge has revoked the stay of deportation for John Demjanjuk, who is accused of being “an accessory to the murder of 29,000 Jews in a Nazi camp.”

Dr. Paul Shapiro, Director of the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, cannot provide, with proof, the name of one person who was killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz – one out of a million. Yet the professional nazi hunters appear to have convinced themselves that there is enough new evidence to show that Mr. Demjanjuk is an accessory to the murder of 29,000 Jews.

Twenty-nine thousand here, one there. What’s the difference? The difference is that evidence is so much easier to come by than proof. I have evidence, for example, that the Paul Shapiros in our world are hypocrites, but no proof. It’s a subjective matter. Like anti-semitism.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Work, loneliness, whiskey, sleeping pills, and how not to talk to the young

It’s very difficult to know what to do next. There is so much on the table. Looks like we are going to publish a quarterly journal. I’m thinking about setting up a “Writer’s Group.” I have an artist to draw relevant political cartoons. We have to build a new web page. Have to redo the Blog. Am busy submitting the “One Person with Proof” ad to campus newspapers. And then Hernandez presented me with the idea to do press releases. I think it’s time to sit back and think things over.

Tonight my wife took some nephews ranging in age from three to fifteen to Peter Piper’s Pizza here in town. It must be a chain on the other side. Anyhow, I was left alone this evening after a day crammed full of work form 8am to 6pm. I didn’t like it. Yesterday when she drove with Marisol to the other side I felt as if I were alone. I was, but I felt like I was, which is not how it used to be. Age? Vulnerability? Silliness? No idea.

Just remembered that when I was in Los Angeles for a couple nights last week, alone at night in a motel room, I was lonely. It was never that way before. Tonight, with my wife only a mile from the house, and for only a couple hours, I felt alone. I bought a bottle of whiskey and made two Irish coffees, walked a little unsteadily to the corner to eat a quesadilla, walked back to the house to watch Bill O'Reilly and then Sean Hannity. If I'm a little drunk I can watch them okay. Even at that O'Reilly was especially annoying. Now my wife is back with the kids and I’m typing and all is well. Things change.

Last night I forgot to take my sleeping pill, one prescribed by my oncologist. It was necessary when I was doing chemo because I was given steroids so that I didn’t collapse the couple three days following, but I couldn’t sleep either, so. . . . Anyhow, I got used to using them. I sleep very nicely with the pill. Last night I set it aside, but forgot to use it. I slept okay, but lightly, waking four times to take a leak. But what I noticed this early afternoon was that I did not have to take a two-hour nap. Maybe I have just broken the habit of using sleeping pills, thanks to a failing memory. I have never slept well, and have just lived with it. Maybe I’ll return to that habit.

Habit is a wonderful thing. It saves us from having to be aware of the fullness, the niceties of life.

Yesterday two new campus newspapers agreed to run the new ad—“Are You a Student?” Three agreed to run it, took the money, but one has already backed out, the University of Akron. That’s the way it goes. We’ll see what happens tomorrow and Friday with a couple other papers that have accepted payment. I won’t mention them here until the ads have run. Why is that? I suppose you understand “why is that.”

I think I handled the University of Houston Daily Cougar not so good. I forgot in the moment that the student editors are at the mercy of the professors and those who administer them. It was not the moment for me to lecture student journalists, but to find a way to demonstrate to them that it is not “hateful” to ask questions about a historical event.

Students have been proselytized for so many decades by the professorial class about what to believe and what to say about the Holocaust that they do not really know where they are. Their professors believe the Germans were unique monsters who murdered millions of helpless civilians in gas chambers, just as the professors (it doesn't matter that they were priests--they still are with regard to this matter) used to believe that the sun circled the earth each 24 hours. Nothing will change their minds until other men and women sacrifice their lives to have the truth known.

But then, I’m rambling.