Thursday, March 4, 2010

Holocaust Denial Ad Sparks Controversy

MADISON, Wis. -- Issues of free speech, advertising and the Holocaust clashed on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus on Wednesday as about 150 students rallied to honor the victims of the Holocaust and call for an end to an ad in a campus newspaper.

The controversy was sparked by some anti-Semitic comments posted on an online version of a Badger Herald article earlier this month. It erupted when the online edition of the student paper posted an ad paid for by a man who doesn't believe in the Holocaust.

Hundreds of students and others, including UW Chancellor Biddy Martin, turned out for a Holocaust awareness rally and to honor the millions who died in the Holocaust. They denounced the hate they believe is being fueled by the Badger Herald.

"Memory is a way of honoring the victims, the innocent victims of criminal murder, of murder about which there can be absolutely no doubt," Martin said.

For $75, the paper agreed to post for 30 days an advertisement that reads, "The Holocaust question: the power of taboo." Click on the ad and it goes to the Web site of the man who bought the ad, Holocaust denier Bradley Smith and his "Committee For Open (Holocaust) Debate."

Rally organizers called it "sickening."

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