The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/american/codoh/university.response/mit.001

Subject: CODOH's paid advertisements: MIT
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Distribution: world
Organization: The Old Frog's Almanac
Keywords: CODOH,Harvard

Archive/File: orgs/american/codoh/university.response mit.001
Last-Modified: 1993/10/20

The following articles are reprinted, with permission, from the March
3, 1992 edition of //The Tech//, MIT's student-run independent
newspaper.  They are Copyright 1992 by //The Tech//.  Typos are
probably mine.
No Room for `Revisionists' in The Tech
Column by Josh Hartmann
Over the last year, the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust has
submitted full-page advertisements to college newspapers across the
country entitled, "The Holocaust Controversy: The Case for Open
Debate." The ads essentially claim that the Holocaust perpetrated in
Germany during World War II did not occur. Roughly half the newspapers
who received it, including those from Northwestern, Duke, Cornell, and
the University of Michigan, ran the ad, while newspapers at Harvard,
Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, and several other schools
refused it.

CODOH, led by a gentleman named Bradley R. Smith, is a historical
revision organization. The advertisement, which is also distributed as
a leaflet, makes extensive arguments about how claims of the Holocaust
come from a Zionist conspiracy. Smith quotes "noted" historians, all
of whom claim that gas chambers and organized plans for killing Jews
never existed.
Smith probably figures that the most open-minded (read: gullible)
audiences will be on college campuses. It is likely that he also
figures that while //The New York Times// would not hesitate to refuse
the ad, college editors and publishers will face a tough decision in
their zeal for freedom of speech. Additionally, Smith probably
realizes that all college newspapers are strapped for cash and would
gladly take thc money for a full-page ad.
The publishers and editors of these newspapers each had their reasons,
many very convincing, for running or refusing the advertisement.
"It wasn't a decision we came to easily," said Helen Junt, last year's
executive editor of //The Daily Pennsylvanian//. "Our executive board
voted. We decided 5-2 not to run it. I didn't want to be accepting
their $1,000 to accept their ad that had lies that promoted hatred. We
weren't worried about offending the community."
Kim Barker, the editor in chief of //The Northwestern Daily//, had
different reasons for running the ad. "We were the first school to run
it. We were sort of the litmus test for Bradley Smith. It was on the
basis of free speech. I don't really think it is our job to be
censoring ideas, no matter how offensive they may be."
But, when Smith tried to place a second ad in the //Daily//, it was
refused. "Once an idea has been aired the ad is no longer needed,"
Barker explained.
Barker also said the ad generated extraordinary debate on
Northwestern's campus, including threatening phone calls to editors at
the //Daily//.
Freedom of speech was not an issue for //The Daily Pennsylvanian//.
"This is an advertising issue," Junt said. "The press has freedom to
accept ads, if it wants to, and it also has the right to reject ads.
It's not like we were telling them they couldn't come down to campus
to distribute leaflets."
This was also //The Harvard Crimson//'s argument. In an editorial, the
Crimson said, "CODOH is free to pour their $700 into copying machines.
They can print up flyers and hawk them around Harvard Square to their
heart's content." Their explanation continued "But we are under no
obligation to run CODOH's hateful nonsense beneath the banner of //The
Harvard Crimson//."
When running the ad, //The Cornell Daily Sun// used the advertisement
as an exercise in education. It ran articles and columns about the
advertisement in the same issue, said Niraj Khemlani, cditor in chief.
"Is it our duty to protect readers from offensive idcas? I don't think
so," Khemlani said. "It benefits people by knowing that such a person
exists; then people can shoot him down. Any time someone has an idea,
they shouldn't be shunned. Those allegations are opinions."
Last week, CODOH sent the ad to //The Tech//. We refused to print it.
//The Tech// will publish an advertisement with anyone's opinion. We
are not afraid of offending readers with the opinions printed in our
pages, since all opinions are debatable.  But the fact of the
Holocaust is simply not dcbatable. The overwhelming evidence of the
last 45 years leads to only one conclusion --- that over 6 million
pcople were killed under a plan masterminded by Adolf Hitler designed
to eliminate Jews and other "undesirables."  To deny that the
Holocaust happened is tantamount to saying that slavery never
In refusing to run this advertisement, we refused to run a series of
allegations which are entirely unfounded. While Smith cleverly worded
the text of the advertisement in an attempt to avoid telling direct
lies, the spirit of the ad is straightforward: It is intended to
brainwash curious, gullible people to believe things that simply are
not true.
Printing the advertisement does little to further education about the
Holocaust. First, we believe that the members of thc MIT community are
intelligent and are already educated about the Holocaust. Second, any
debate about the advertisement would not focus on the Holocaust;
instead, it would center around the issue of whether //The Tech//
should have printed the advertisement. The issue of education can be
equally served through this and other columns and letters to the
Any coherent, carefully thought-out attempt to justify the Holocaust
is welcome and merits publication. But there is no room in this
newspaper for the vicious lies found in CODOH's advertisement.
//Tech// Has Responsibility to Print Truth
Column by Blll Jackson
As I write this column, a pamphlet from a gentleman named Bradley R.
Smith sits in front of me. Brad is a Colonel Sanders-looking guy with
a really bad attitude. Smith wanted to take out an advertisement, to
present a full page of what he calls "historical revisionism" in //The
Tech//. Smith has been sending the ad to college newspapers all over
the country.
You may have already heard about Mr.  Smith's brand of history, in
which he calls for ``open debate'' on the Holocaust. Setting aside the
pathetic insinuation that debate isn't already open, reading this
literature makes it clear that Smith is not promoting open debate, but
pushing anti-Semitism.
Still, there was a great deal of argument among //Tech// staff members
about whether to accept or refuse the advertisement. I am not a member
of the Executive Board, but I was allowed to listen in on and
participate in the discussion. One standard argument we discussed says
that //The Tech// has a responsibility to print all points of view,
and just because this is a minority opinion, //The Tech// shouldn't
refuse the ad.
If someone were to enter the office of //The Tech// to place an
advertisement about Charles Vest being from an alien planet trying to
steal Earth technology, our readership would expect us to turn the
advertisement down. The Holocaust ad is no more plausible or
acceptable from a standpoint of being responsible to //The Tech//'s
What I mean by ``being responsible'' is that //The Tech// has an
editorial responsibility to its readers. While this responsibility is
lessened for advertisements, The Tech can still refuse anything it
feels does not fit in with the standards of the publication.
It helps to think of the problem in reverse: if //The Tech// were
obligated, either morally or legally, to print Smith's ad, then in a
sense //The Tech//'s right to free speech --- its right to publish and
not publish whatever it chooses --- would be violated.
I defend Smith's right to disseminate his information. However, there
is an enormous difference between defending someone's right to speak
and actively committing your own resources to helping that person
speak. I defend the rights of random LaRouchies to wander
Massachusetts Ave. Iooking for converts and handing out pamphlets, but
in order to defend that right, I do not have to stand out there and
pass out copies.
In debating this issue, //The Tech//'s Executive Board mulled over
many different possible courses of action, including printing the ad
alone, printing the ad with a disclaimer, and not printing the ad.
Printing the ad with a disclaimer would have been a mistake. By
choosing to give space to both ``sides'' of this non-issue, //The
Tech// would implicitly give credence to Smith's side. In printing
arguments from both sides of an issue, //The Tech// implicitly agrees
there is a valid issue to be debated and that each side has something
worthy to say on the issue.
By this criterion, I, as an opinion editor, would endorse a series of
columns debating the abortion issue, but not a series of columns
debating the shape of the earth. I would not, however, actively stifle
the Flat Earth Society.  This responsibility to decide the difference
between "fact" and "debatable issue" is the main reason //The Tech//
was right not to run the Holocaust ad. Is it worth printing an obvious
piece of garbage just to provoke violent response?
The final argument, and one which came close to convincing the board
to run the ad, states that //The Tech// should run it in order to make
people aware that such anti-Semitism exists. I disagree for one
reason; the column you are now reading should make you aware that such
anti-Semitism exists. If you need more confirmation, I suggest you
write to the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, which will send
you more information about Smith and his group. This is, in my mind, a
much better way for //The Tech// to get the word out about this
The Executive Board of //The Tech// should be commended for its
decision not to run the ad. I hope that other campus and local papers
follow this example and decide not to commit their own resources to
help spread hate speech.


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