The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/m/mcvay.ken/press/jta.950824

           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

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,

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

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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