Author: Gladstone, Bill Article Title: Holocaust denier targets Internet discussion group Publication Name: Jewish Telegraphic Agency Publication Date: 08-24-95 Page: p. 13 Holocaust denier targets Internet discussion group. What would you do if you received e-mail from a Holocaust denier? This was the question confronting nearly 1,000 people last week after they received two essays that had been dispatched over the Internet by American Holocaust denier Greg Raven. The recipients were all members of a cyberspace discussion group that includes Holocaust educators, writers, survivors and their families. "Raven has sunk to a new level of degradation," said Kenneth McVay, a 54-year-old resident of Vancouver Island, who received the pseudoscholarly essays at his computer terminal. "In all my years of experience, I've never seen anything even approaching this sort of behavior." McVay, who works full time to combat hatemongers on the Internet, called the distribution of the essays an "attack" that has put "a flood of Nazi propaganda into the mailboxes of Holocaust survivors and children of survivors." Although Holocaust deniers have long used computer bulletin boards and the Internet to disseminate materials, "as far as I know, this is the first attack on folks who are doing genuine Holocaust work using the Internet," said Avi Hyman, a computer communications specialist for the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in Toronto. Raven is editor of the quarterly journal of the Institute for Historical Review, an American Holocaust denial organization based in Orange County, Calif. Mark Weber, who heads the institute, wrote the essays sent unsolicited to the on-line Holocaust discussion group. Although Raven did not break any laws, experts say, he probably violated the still-evolving ethical code concerning cyberspace etiquette. But Rick Eaton, a researcher with the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, downplayed the incident. "It is akin to sending unwanted faxes," Eaton said. Legislation to prevent Internet mailings such as Raven's "may come down the line, but it hasn't yet," said Eaton, citing as a reason the medium's relative newness. Eaton noted that the essays sent by Raven over the Internet were "standard pamphlets they've had for years that were available on their Internet site." Raven e-mailed these essays because he and his group were simply "looking to get attention," Eaton said. But the attention Raven and his colleagues got from the e-mail recipients was anything but appreciative. "This was a very insidious act and a betrayal of the principles on which the Internet is based," said Bernard Katz, head of library academic support at the University of Guelph, Ontario. Katz, who lost almost 100 relatives in the Holocaust, said he "blew his lid" after receiving Raven's messages. "I was insulted because this came to me personally," he said. "It was like someone had given me an obscene phone call." He responded by sending Raven "probably the most hostile and aggressive message that I have ever sent on the Internet." Katz also complained to the company that provides Raven with on-line access, arguing that because of his unethical behavior, Raven had forfeited his right to use the Internet. Despite their wrath, McVay and others argue that, under normal circumstances, the best response to Holocaust deniers is to counterbalance their propaganda with historically accurate information. Working in coordination with a team of nearly 100 volunteers, McVay has assembled one of the world's most extensive electronic libraries about the Holocaust and fascism. Dubbed the Nizkor Project, it has become a leading resource for educators, students and persons battling the white supremacy movement. According to McVay, who recently won the Order of British Columbia for his crusade against Internet hate, the Nizkor Project "demonstrates the power of education over censorship and repression."
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