Open Letter to Zündelsite Visitors

A standard Web site is next to impossible to use for continuing dialogue, far too many delays and cumbersome procedures.

DvdThomas [page not ready] of the
Committee for the Open Debate On the Holocaust [page not ready]


Since Nizkor initiated contact with the Zündelsite on September 1st [page not ready], 1995, we have been subjected to numerous insults and lies, directed both at Nizkor and at its volunteers personally. We find their tactics to be very unprofessional.

For the most part, we have ignored the attacks, because the issue is not us personally. And the issue is not the Nizkor organization. The issue is the facts of the Holocaust, and the denial of those facts.

Recently, however, the Zündelsite has publicly written [page not ready] a lie which Nizkor cannot ignore: the lie that we are “backpedalling” from a “debate” on the Holocaust.

The truth is that this “debate” is a figment of Mr. Zündel’s imagination. Nizkor is more than willing to educate Mr. Zündel in an appropriate forum such as alt.revisionism [broken link]. But we refuse to spend tremendous effort compensating for the technical deficiencies of an inappropriate forum such as the world-wide web, because we feel our effort is best spent on researching and presenting the facts of the Holocaust.

The bottom line is that we have spent many hours researching and professionally presenting the facts, for the benefit of those who wish to seek them (66 Questions & Answers About the Holocaust and elsewhere on our web site). The Zündelsite has spent many hours preparing propaganda to promote Mr. Zündel’s self-declared martyrdom and his publications — and attacks on their “enemies” (See their web site). The difference in priorities is obvious.

We have written this open letter to explain our position, and to show that the Zündelsite’s staff will lie when it benefits them. We would have been happy to leave the latter topic undisturbed, except that we feel a line was crossed when we were accused [page not ready] of “backpedalling.”

We ask the reader to consider what motivation the Zündelsite might have in announcing a “debate” that never existed, so that they could later announce [page not ready] that Nizkor was “backpedalling.”

A History of Distortion

We want to get away from the mudslinging and settle down to science and reason…

The Zündelsite, September 2nd [page not ready]

We feel it necessary to at least provide some background of the many errors and insults which the Zündelsite has printed about us. Documenting these is not our preferred task; we prefer to document the facts of the Holocaust (which is why this open letter is over a week late — we’ve been busy).

The Zündelsite’s insults and errors include the statements that:

  • Nizkor’s director and webmasters must consult “superiors” who will decide what we can and cannot do (September 2nd [page not ready])
  • all-volunteer Nizkor is “far more lavishly financed” than millionaire Zündel, resulting in a “David and Goliath situation” (September 13th [page not ready])
  • Nizkor has “offered an exchange of links” (no, that’s what we requested) (September 13th [page not ready])
  • Nizkor is “the Holocaust Promotion Lobby Website” (we know of no such organization) (September 13th [page not ready])
  • Nizkor is a “Jewish connection” (September 13th [page not ready])
  • Nizkor engages in “temper tantrums” and has “spoiled-brat attitudes” (September 13th [page not ready])
  • “There are ethnic-specific limits to enjoying the freedom of the Internet” (September 17th [page not ready])
  • “Your Internet goon squad has never allowed a proper debate to happen [on alt.revisionism [broken link]]” (September 17th [page not ready])
  • “a bunch of screeching, screaming network terrorists monopoliz[e] [alt.revisionism [broken link]] to vilify, stifle and distort” (September 17th [page not ready])
  • Nizkor has identified Zündel “by name as a ‘hate monger’ site” (September 17th [page not ready])
  • Nizkor is “abusive and unfair” and has been “given licence” to be so (September 17th [page not ready])
  • Nizkor has “tax-supported funds” at its disposal (September 17th [page not ready])
  • Nizkor is “supported by a synagogue” (October 30th)
  • Nizkor is “apparently, at least in part, funded by a British Columbia area synagogue’s free will donations” (late January)
  • the Zündelsite does not have the resources to provide cross-links (implying that Nizkor has more “manpower”) (September 17th [page not ready])
  • Nizkor is “smearing” and “demonizing” Zündel (October 30th)

We have patiently corrected most of these errors (September 11th [page not ready]October 7th [page not ready], elsewhere). Many were corrected in Ken McVay’s open letter of September 16th [page not ready] — an open letter which Ernst Zündel has failed even to acknowledge. Is that how he plans to conduct the “debate” he speaks of: ignoring his opponents’ corrections?

In fact, to our knowledge, the Zündelsite has failed to acknowledge any of these corrections, much less apologize.

Nizkor’s Position on Debate

Since the first day, Nizkor’s position has been clear: we think it better to cross-link opposing web sites than not, but we do not consider cross-linking “debate.” We’ve explained our reasoning before, but we’d like to make it perfectly clear.

The term “debate” implies some sort of order. One envisions, for example:

  • arguments in a framework that can be traced from their source to their conclusion
  • established standards of citation for documentary evidence
  • standards of evidence
  • the careful avoidance of common fallacies (ad hominem etc.)

And, importantly:

  • a record of who said what
  • easy and quick means to respond to an opponent

A quick visit will verify that, as expected, none of these are present at the Zündelsite. There is no framework of factual arguments, because there are no factual arguments. There is also no evidence, but if there were, no standard of citation for it has been established. There is no agreement on what constitutes evidence. The entire page is ad hominem attacks and self-serving propaganda.

There is no record of what’s been said. That page has changed at least three times since it first appeared. Nizkor cannot take on the responsibility of archiving the entire Zündelsite so that we can catch them in the act of “self-revisionism.”

Most importantly, responding to opponents on the web is a time-consuming, difficult, technical operation. Text cannot simply be typed; it must be formatted with special HTML codes. Adding appropriate links to pages requires complex codes. Putting up many links is time-consuming, more so when the linking is to another site, even more so when the other site has not agreed to keep its pages static.

To paraphrase [page not ready] Ingrid Rimland, the webmaster at the Zündelsite, maintaining a web site is like flying a 747. And, as Nizkor replied [page not ready], trying to engage in debate on the web would be like trying to dogfight in 747s.

They want to call our cross-linking and their propaganda the first round of “debate.” We reject that term: cross-linking is cross-linking, no more. If they want debate, they are welcome to contact us on alt.revisionism [broken link], where responding is easy and an archive is automatically kept.

Until they appear in that forum, or another similarly appropriate one, they are expressly requested to stop using Nizkor’s name in their announcements of “debate.”

The Lie about Nizkor

Nizkor has referred to the linking as linking, from the beginning in September (September 1st [page not ready]) up to the present. We have expressly rejected the term “debate” several times, for the reasons just given. The Zündelsite could not possibly have misunderstood our meaning.

Fearing such a misunderstanding, Nizkor wrote them on January 15th:

Don’t you dare take our request that you reciprocate a simple cross-link, and turn that into some sort of backing-down from this “Great Electronic Holocaust Debate” that you’ve invented out of thin air! (emphasis in original)

Incredibly, they responded by doing just that.

On January 18th, the Zündelsite decided that they would suddenly “discover” that we referred to cross-linking as cross-linking. Furthermore, they decided that they would interpret this discovery as a backing-down from previous months (when we’d been saying exactly the same thing). They did not contact us beforehand, choosing instead to announce [page not ready] publicly:

If you looked out of the window and saw somebody backpedalling furiously, that was the Nizkor crowd. …

Here is what happened, in a nutshell. “…Debate? What debate? Did you say debate? I didn’t say debate! Did anybody say debate? We merely talked of linking…”

Nizkor has in fact been patiently explaining that cross-linking was all we wanted, and that “debate” was an inappropriate term, since September. Thorough documentation of this lie, with references to our correspondence from September 1995 to the present, is available at [page not ready].

Recently, they have also put up a web page [broken link] stating that “the Nizkor people now choose to call it ‘linking'” (emphasis ours). They write on another page [broken link] that “there was total agreement on the merits of a debate,” and go on to say:

In fact, by mid-January, Jamie McCarthy of Nizkor tried to distance himself from ever having wanted a “debate” in the first place. Big Brother apparently convinced him that he merely talked of “linking.”

In short, they continue to repeat the lie — and they are doing so without telling us. Tracking their lies is shooting at a moving target. This is a good example of why we consider the web to be unsuitable for “debate.”

And again, we ask the reader to consider why the Zündelsite would advertise a “debate” that never existed, so that they could later announce that Nizkor was “backpedalling.” Is this the action of an honest organization that has nothing to hide?

Where Do We Go From Here?

Nizkor’s position remains the same as it has always been. We remain committed to discussing the Holocaust in appropriate forums. We are used to being lied about and insulted by our ideological opponents, and we shall not let it interfere with our objective of exposing and refuting what they have to say about the Holocaust.

If the Zündelsite wishes to enter the ongoing discussion, they will be added to the list of people and organizations that see their claims about the Holocaust refuted, on a daily basis, on alt.revisionism [broken link].

We also remain committed to cross-linking our web pages to others’ web pages, wherever it is appropriate to do so.

We will also continue to ask the Zündelsite to cross-link their web pages to ours, wherever it is appropriate to do so. However, we harbor no illusions that this cross-linking, by itself, constitutes a “debate.”

We invite the Zündelsite to respond to our 66 Q&A, or any other pages at our site, as best they can, and we will cross-link to them. If we have the time and resources, we may respond to their response, and ask them to cross-link to us. And so on.

But we will waste no more time on futile discussion. We realize and expect that the Zündelsite will continue to tell lies about us. We shall ignore such lies as best we can. From looking at their site, one might reasonably conclude that their interest lies solely in the promotion of Ernst Zündel, self-declared martyr. Until that changes, we find it unnecessary to comment further.

Readers interested in the facts of the Holocaust, and a refutation of Holocaust-denial, may wish to browse Nizkor, starting perhaps with the 66 QAR.

We have asked the Zündelsite to cross-link all of their web pages which mention “debate” to this page, and to make the readers of their Zündelsite-grams aware of this open letter. As of February 4th, they have refused to do so — please see our documentation [page not ready] of the refusal process.