The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/m/mcvay.ken/press/Edmonton_Journal.9603

Edmonton Journal, March 30, 1996, p. B4

"Hearts and Minds:  Battle For Both Rages in Cyberspace,"
by Andy Riga, Southam Newspapers

Surf to the World Wide Web site maintained by McGill
University's Hillel Society and you might be startled by what you

     Along with information on the Jewish organization's activities and
news from Israel, there are connections to snazzy sites run by
Holocaust deniers and white supremacists.

     Click on one of those connections and you'll instantly have access
to thousands of documents claiming that Nazi gas chambers never
were, that drug-crazed immigrants are on a cross-Canada crime spree,
and that whites are inherently more intelligent than blacks. Or you
can download neo-Nazi symbols and the latest sound clips from
white-power rock bands.

     Jump back to Hillel's Net Hate Web page and you can also visit
anti-racist Web sites at which you can learn about what really
happened in the Nazi death camps and get a rundown on who's behind
the neo-Nazi and racial-supremacist groups.

     ``Technologically, you can't stop the proliferation of the hate
sites -- you can't stop the proliferation of anything on the
Internet,'' said David Abitbol, a former Hillel member who designed
the site.

     ``The most efficient way of dealing with these hate-mongers is to
bring things out into the open. Flush out the facts; let everybody's
ideas sink or swim in the marketplace of ideas.''

     Hate groups have latched onto the burgeoning computer network as a
cheap and easy way to recruit supporters -- especially young people,
the Net's biggest fans.

     While lawmakers and human rights organizations all over the world
mull legislation and codes of conduct for the Internet, cybernauts
are dealing with Net hate in their usual libertarian way.

     Instead of trying to muzzle the hate-mongers, they're facing off
against those who lurk on the dark side of the Net, spreading
Holocaust-denial material and denigrating blacks, Jews and other

     Some, like those in the Hillel Society, do it by creating
anti-racism sites that also let surfers know what the extremists are
saying and doing.

     And then there's Ken McVay, the Net Nazi's worst nightmare.

     Since 1991, McVay, a Vancouver Island resident, has spent 14 to 20
hours per day, every day, surfing the Net in search of lies spread
by Holocaust deniers. When he finds neo-Nazis using Internet
discussion groups to say the Holocaust was a hoax, McVay
methodically picks apart their arguments.

     The former convenience store worker has his own site on the Web,
the multimedia part of the Internet that features color graphics and
pictures along with sound and video. On his site, called Nizkor
(Hebrew for ``We will remember''), are more than 4,000 documents
detailing the atrocities of the Nazi death camps.

     McVay has been threatened so many times by extremists that he
refuses to give his phone number out, even to reporters. He prefers
interviews by electronic mail.

     ``I don't think any (of the hate Web sites) are dangerous, so long
as folks are willing to confront and refute their ideas,'' McVay
said in an e-mail interview.

     Like many Internet users worried about the heavy hand of
censorship, Abitbol and McVay rebuff those who want the government
to somehow regulate the Net.

     ``The Ostrich Syndrome, I call it,'' said McVay, whose project is
funded through donations. ``When we as a society have found
something distasteful, we have tried to legislate it out of
existence. I defy anyone supporting legislation to demonstrate that
it has done one iota of good.''

     Alain Dufour, president of Quebec's Anti-Fascist League, said
Canada's existing hate laws haven't been successful in stifling
people like Toronto's Ernst Zundel when he was distributing
Holocaust-denial material on paper -- and they certainly won't now
that he's in cyberspace.
    Copyright Edmonton Journal 1996

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