[ISMAP] [IMAGE] ISRAEL'S TOP ONLINE NEWS SOURCE Thursday, May 8, 1997 1 Iyyar 5757 ISRAEL TIME: [INLINE] [INLINE] ISRAEL TIME: Columns SURFING THE NET: How to answer Holocaust deniers By JEFF ABRAMOWITZ (May 4) It's a curious fact that attempts at censoring the Internet focus mainly on keeping the sex sites away from the curious eyes of the young. [IMAGE] Obviously, those who would guard our morals haven't yet realized that forbidding anyone under 18 to enter a site is the easiest way of making sure they do. I would feel a lot better if the moral majority stopped getting all het up about sex and started doing something about the hate sites. I've been thinking a lot about these sites this past week, because this week's column deals largely with Holocaust sites. The Internet is a perfect vehicle for neo-Nazis and Holocaust-deniers. Here you have a great mass medium, and it's uncontrolled. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence and enough resources can use it. Forget intelligence - at least in the case of neo-Nazis and Holocaust-deniers. Attempts to stop them invariably make headlines, and accusations of freedom of speech are bandied about. This, of course, is just the publicity these creeps want. On the other hand, do we really want to let these people use the Web freely? It boils down to the question of whether freedom of speech is divisible or not. Despite fears that the Internet is being hijacked by Holocaust-deniers and hate merchants, the situation is not as black as some would have it. There are plenty of "authentic" Holocaust sites on the net; it's just that they don't get the publicity the hatemongers receive. But those who know where to go and what to look for can find enough ways to commemorate Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day via the Internet. THE NIZKOR Project (http://www1.us.nizkor.org/index.html) is one of the best educational tools I found. This is not a collection of Web pages, but a "collage of projects focused on the Holocaust and its denial." It includes FAQs (frequently asked questions); a link to the Holocaust Web Project, which offers, so say the site's authors, "the largest on-line collection of information on the Holocaust, and its denial, on the Internet"; and a features section, which includes the 66 questions and answers, aimed at rebuffing Holocaust-deniers. Another site attempting to provide tools for rebutting the deniers is Virtual Jerusalem. Located at (http://www.virtual.co.il/education/education/holocaust/quote/index.h tm), this is a collection of documents and speeches which is cursory at best. While there are some documents I did not see elsewhere (which in itself means nothing - I didn't search all the Holocaust sites), I couldn't help feeling that if the authors of Virtual Jerusalem are serious about this site, they have to do a lot more work. The same is true about Virtual's page of links to Holocaust sites (http://www.virtual.co.il/education/education/holocaust/). In fact, I mention this page only because of one or two links that I didn't find elsewhere. And on the subject of Virtual Jerusalem, I found their page providing information on Holocaust Remembrance Day (http://www.virtual.co.il/city_services/holidays/yomshoa/ brief to the point of seeming almost an afterthought. You'd think a leading Israel Internet domain would, and could, do better, especially on this subject. A FAR better list of Holocaust links can be found at Nizkor's "Other Sites: Holocaust Information Page" (http://www1.us.nizkor.org/other-sites). Here you have links to Anne Frank, commercial Holocaust educational resources, institutions and organizations, and private Holocaust educational resources. The list is not exhaustive, but it is thorough and offers a brief synopsis of what each link contains. The institutions and organizations section includes links to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (disappointing; instead of trumpeting its existence, the museum site should concentrate on the reasons it was set up), the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Yad Vashem. The address of Yad Vashem, by the way, is (http://www.yad-vashem.org.il). Of the "private" Holocaust pages listed by Nizkor, the best, or pretty close, is David Dickerson's Holocaust Page (http://www.igc.org/ddickerson/holocaust.html), which is extremely thorough and very well organized. Dickerson has done an outstanding job. His site is arranged in categories, such as organizations, educational projects and tools, survivors and rescuers, and even has a list of conferences. It also includes information on the Third Reich, a subject essential for understanding the Holocaust and one which most Holocaust sites seem to ignore, or at best gloss over. Another "private" page worth mentioning is the Holocaust Primer, set up by Alexander Kimel (http://haven.ios.com/~kimel19/index.html). Kimel, a Holocaust survivor, has put together a collection that serves as a very good introduction to this most complex of topics, and includes some stories from survivors which make for harrowing reading. The Cybrary of the Holocaust (http://www.remember.org/) is a very well-designed site with a lot of good links. The main problem I encountered was deciding what to look at first. It is divided into six main sections, and is worth visiting. There are, of course, other sites dealing with the Holocaust, but the ones listed above are those that, for one reason or another, stand out and are worthy of mention. IN FACT, there are a great many other sites dealing with the Holocaust. Infoseek, for example, came up with more than 23,000 entries when I used it as part of the research for this column. Even taking into account the fact that some of those 23,000 deal with other Holocausts, and some, too, refer to Holocaust-denial sites, you're still going to be left with an awful lot of sites to look at. What is needed is a search facility that will not only find the sites you're looking for, but will screen out the sites that are irrelevant. Unfortunately, and despite my first impressions, the search facility known as "Ask Jeeves" is not the answer. Ask Jeeves (http://www.askjeeves.com/) is named after the butler in the Jeeves and Wooster stories, and, like a perfect butler, is supposed to bring you exactly what you ask for. In which case all I can say is that I don't know what the help is coming to. Maybe I'm being unfair. Ask Jeeves isn't a conventional search facility, and the idea behind it is good. The way it works is that you ask it a "question" and instead of Jeeves coming back with a list of sites, it will take you right to the site. This, say the people who program Jeeves, "eliminates the search through countless sites which don't help you at all." That's true, up to a point. But of the many times I experimented with Jeeves, only once was I taken right to where Jeeves thought I wanted to go. The other times - and there were enough to make it the rule, and not the exception - Jeeves came back with a list of questions dealing with my query. I suppose you could say these questions were ways of refining my search. So, on the one hand, Jeeves takes searching the net a step further, by eliminating the prospect of having to look at more than 23,000 sites to get what you want. That's the good bit. The not-so-good bit is that there is no way of judging how meticulous it is. But give it a try anyway and see what you think. THE FRIEND who told me mournfully, a few days after his wedding: "You know those mother-in-law jokes? Well, they're all true," should look up the anagram for mother-in-law in the anagram hall of fame, part of the Internet Anagram Server (or, as it calls itself, I, Rearrangement Servant), at (http://www.wordsmith.org/anagram/index.html). The server (like most who play with anagrams, it can't resist showing off), is ... well, I'm not sure what its purpose is, beyond coming up with anagrams. Simply write the word in the space provided, click the icon and see what comes up. What does come up is sometimes funny, sometimes clever and often both. For example, the anagram for "dormitory," as anybody who's ever had to clean one can tell you, is "dirty room." "Funeral" comes out as "real fun," while "Salman Rushdie" (he's still alive, apparently) is anagrammed as "Read, Shun Islam." Most names can, in fact, be changed to something else with the anagram server. Considering what else I've been called in my time, "A Fab Jew from Zit" is pretty complimentary. Whether or not anagrams never lie, as the site claims, is something that depends on your point of view. I don't think too many people will say the anagram of "Ronald Reagan" - "A darn long era" - is inaccurate, but one of the anagrams for "William Clinton" ought to get his supporters thinking. It is: " I'm it, an ill clown." Send comments, queries and ideas for reviews to firstname.lastname@example.org Previous Next Columns PARENTING: A new view of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder SURFING THE NET: How to answer Holocaust deniers BUT SERIOUSLY: Growing up on Jesus Island SHABBAT SHALOM: Passionate moderation NOT PAGE ONE: When Filipinos take off their aprons DEAR RUTHIE: An audience with the teen DISK-COVERY: The Jewish world on a disk VIEW FROM NOV: What is a Jew? 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