Campus Project for 1993/94 Season Tremendous Success

Published: 1994-10-01

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In Smith's Report #17 I noted that our CODOH ad challenging the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington to exhibit proof that homicidal gassing chambers existed anywhere in Europe during World War II had run in student new"papers at 35 colleges campuses around the country. I thought it was over for the summer. But the challenge has now run a total of 38 times.

State University of New York (SUNY) at Oneota, SUNY at Oswego and SUNY at Stony Brook. That makes a total of six (!) SUNY campuses where the ad was run. Buffalo (twice! In The Record last September and in The Pipedream in April), Oneota, Oswego, Binghamton, Potsdam and Stony Brook. It's as if the tremendous ruckus raised at Brandeis University over publication of the ad in The Brandeis Justice in December affected SUNY editors in a way that could not have been expected by The Lobby.

Of the six SUNY colleges that ran the ad, the background to publication in The Stony Brook Statesman is particularly interesting. Back in January, at the same time The Queens College Quad editorial board was wrestling with its conscience over running the ad, and a crew for Mike Wallace at 60 Minutes was filming the debate (in the end The Quad did run the ad, but David Cole and I decided to not do the Wallace interview)—at the same time the editorial board at The Statesman at Stony Brook, after considerable debate, decided to not run the ad. I thought the Stony Brook story was over.

Toward the end of May I received a phone call from one of The Statesman editors asking permission to run the text of the ad as an opinion piece. Why had the editors changed their minds? It was the summer session, the editorial board had lost a few members and gained a few, and the new editors had decided the responsible thing for them to do as journalists would be to run the ad that had been suppressed by the previous editors.

I was pleased, of course, but when I got the issue of The Statesman (6 June) in which the ad was printed as an opinion piece, I was surprised to see that The Statesman had run my open letter to student editors as well. The editors had printed my open letter giving the reasons why the ad should be run, and following it they'd run the text of the ad itself. (See page 3 for the full text of the letter.)

Packet of Press Clippings. In the last issue of SR I noted that I was putting together all the press clippings that the Project had produced during the 1993/94 campaign. All those I could get my hands on. I wrote they might ad up to 150 pages of clippings, and cost about $15 to print and ship.

Last week, a five or six weeks late, I put the packet together. It contains some 330 pages of clippings and costs about $21 to print and ship. On 20 August I began shipping the packets to those of you who helped substantially with The Project this last season. If you have helped substantially and haven't received the packet, contact me and remind me that I owe it to you. I want you to have it. When you see everything together, it's pretty impressive.

For those of you who are new, or for your own reasons could not or did not support the Campus Project last season, $21 will cover the cost of sending it to you. Your donation above that amount will be used to good effect. Contributions are the life blood of the Campus Project.

ADL to Publish Handbook for College Editors on How to Contain the Campus Project? A reader in Michigan reports that such is the case. He read the story in a Jewish Newspaper. If any of you get your hands on this booklet, if it exists, I would very much like to have a copy. (I have now been told that the ADL booklet has indeed been published, but I have yet to see a copy.)

The New Paperback Edition of Deborah Lipstadt's Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory (Penguin, NY), contains a new preface by the author. In the original hardback edition Deborah dedicated one complete chapter to the Campus Project which she called "The Battle for the Campus."

In her preface to the paperback edition Professor Lipstadt expresses her concern with revisionist success in reaching radio and TV. By and large, she's talking about me. It's the Campus Project which draws the media to revisionism, and to me as a spokesman for IHR and CODOH.

"The deniers' window of opportunity will be enhanced in years to come. The public, particularly the uneducated public, will be increasingly susceptible to Holocaust denial as survivor die."

So here the professor is troubled that we might be successful with the great unwashed, uneducated public, for they are the ones primarily who listen to talk radio and watch tabloid TV.

But soon her preface turns into an essay on the success, and danger, of revisionism on the campus (me again). That is, revisionism on radio and TV put the "uneducated public" at risk of beginning to doubt the Holocaust story, while revisionism on campus threatens belief in The Story among our intellectual elites. For Professor Lipstadt the Campus Project is a double whammy, a two-headed monster, a giant pincer movement attacking from below and above, from in front and behind, from this side and that.

When I run the ads in student newspapers, it puts student and even academic beliefs about the Holocaust controversy at risk. Media picks up on the hullabaloo they make over it, which then puts the beliefs of the great unwashed masses at risk.

What's the poor lady to do?

The Two Most Disruptive Influences in our Society Today: a reader writes that he was watching a conference sponsored by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) over C-Span on 13 March, when a lady speaker announced to the gathering that "The two most disruptive influences in our society today are Louis Farrakhan and Bradley Smith."

What do I make of this? First, it makes me laugh happily. Second, I don't believe it. I think the lady who made the observation is unusually neurotic, even for the circle she travels in. But I'm flattered. I'm as disruptive as Farrakhan? Farrakhan travels all over the country drawing ten and twenty thousand people to listen to him rave; I can't even get booked. He runs a national organization with tens of thousands of members and hangers-on, has body guards to baby-sit him, plays the violin and lives in a mansion. I don't have squat and can't play the violin either.

But I'm flattered by my friend at AIPAC mentioning me and Farrakhan in the same breath. Farrakhan has the sweetest smile of any rabble rouser who has ever appeared in public. I feel it's always a mitzvah to be associated publicly with the good or the beautiful, either one.

SKEPTIC Magazine, edited by Professor Michael Shermer of Occidental College in Pasadena CA, has run a special 43-page section on "Pseudohistory." Dr. Shermer was the little fellow who appeared with David Cole and me on The Donahue Show. He told David afterwards it was the worst experience of his life.

A headline on the cover of this issue of SKEPTIC reads: "Who Says The Holocaust never Happened? And Why Do They Say It?" You might be able to guess who the "who" is, and you might be able to guess "why" they say it. They're "racists" and they say it because they're "racists."

The issue includes three major articles on The Controversy, including the lead article by Shermer titled "Proving the Holocaust: The Refutation of Revisionism & the Restoration of History." The article heading alone gives you the drift of what's coming (what does it mean to "restore" history?). If there is some value in what Shermer has put together here, it must be in that his magazine reaches one of revisionism's prime potential audiences—skeptics. In the event, Dr. Shermer doesn't appear to he skeptical about anything having to do with The Story.

David Cole played the major revisionist role in bringing Dr. Shermer into The Controversy. They both are associated with atheist-libertarian-skeptic circles, one thing led to another, and Cole and Shermer spent a lot of time talking revisionism. Early this year, when both the Mike Wallace and Phil Donahue people were talking to me, Dr. Shermer called me up to see if he couldn't be included someplace on the TV roster. I cooperated, put him in touch with producers for both shows, and as it fell out, he did Donahue.

Shermer appeared to me to be personable and someone who "gets things done." What dismayed me a little was that the first time Shermer rang me up, he volunteered that he is not "Jewish." He said it in a way that caused me to sense that he felt I would be more willing to cooperate and even help him, if I understood he isn't Jewish. As a matter of fact, depending on the situation, that might not be true. Nevertheless, I was a little taken aback by a professor of history introducing himself to me in that way.

Another few moments into our conversation, Dr. Shermer volunteered for the second time that he is not Jewish. This time I felt considerable discomfort, and I began to not trust him. Why was he acting in a way that was so obvious? It was deeply unprofessional of him and insulting to me. I have since come to suppose that the reason behind his inappropriate behavior might be — he's Jewish! Am I being cynical?

Aside from all that, if you have an interest in how The Controversy is beginning to play out in alternative intellectual magazines, this issue (VOL. 2 NO.4) of SKEPTIC will probably interest you (Send $6 + $3 for p&h to SKEPTIC, 2761 N. Marengo Ave., Altadena, CA 91001.)

(This is the text of the letter that ran in The Statesman at the State University of New York at Stony Brook (Long Island.)

Dear Campus Editor:

Today I submitted an advertisement to your paper that challenges the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to provide proof of its assertion that the Germans used homicidal "gassing chambers" to murder European Jews during World War II.

A representative of Hillel, the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith (ADL) or some other mainline Jewish organization may have contacted your advertising department, your administration, or you, charging that running the ad would encourage "hate," and urging your paper to suppress it.

The assertion that it is hateful to challenge an historical orthodoxy, in this instance the alleged gas chambers, is both easy and difficult to respond to. It's easy, because if you will read the text of the ad with an open mind, without fear, and with your professional ideals clearly before you, you will see for yourself that the ideas expressed in the ad, while controversial, will not encourage hatred of others but a free exchange of ideas.

On the other hand, it's difficult to respond to a charge of inciting hate when Hillel/ADL representatives, for example, will not point to any specific statement in the ad that is "hateful." They won't commit themselves to charging that even one specific word is hateful. The essence of their argument is, simply, that it is hateful to challenge what they believe, what they insist you believe!

All my life I have seen Jews lead the struggle to maintain a free press and intellectual freedom in America. In the 1960s, when I was a book dealer on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, I was arrested, tried and convicted for selling a book then banned by the U.S. Government—Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer, which today is shelved in every library of note in America—Jews from every walk of life supported my fight against Government censorship. A.L. Wiren, head of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, offered his offices for my defense at no cost to me. After my conviction, when the case went to appeal, Stanley Fleishman offered his services to me pro bono! Fleishman didn't take my cast because he considered Henry Miller to be the greatest writer who ever lived. He took it because he was committed heart and soul—and mind—to the ideals of intellectual freedom and the spirit of the First Amendment.

Today, however, mainline Jewish organizations have reversed direction and committed themselves to the suppression and censorship of open research on one historical controversy—the "Holocaust." What this amounts to is nothing less than a Jewish onslaught against intellectual freedom.

On every campus in America where there is a substantial number of Jewish students, the Hillel organization (the campus arm of the B'nai B'rith, usually led by a rabbi) leads the attack against free inquiry and open debate on the Holocaust controversy. I am astounded that Jewish intellectuals and scholars stand idly by while the reputation of Jews as free thinkers is everywhere corrupted, diminished and burlesqued by a handful of organized Jewish extremists and censors.

Student editors who are Jewish are under special pressure from the Holocaust Lobby to betray their ideals as journalists and to betray as well the long tradition of intellectual liberty for which Jews have worked all over the world. Jewish editors are attacked ferociously, not only by spokespersons for organized Jewry off campus, but also on campus by well-meaning but unsophisticated Jewish students egged on by Hillel rabbis who function as semi­professional censors.

Student editors who are not Jewish, while they experience all the above, must race the additional burden of being slandered as "antisemites" and "haters." I understand why many are unwilling or even afraid to shoulder the burden that the ideal of a free press places on journalists with regard to the Holocaust controversy. Yet without a free press there are no universities worthy of the name, no government that is not tyrannical, and no society that is not a burden on the lives of its citizens.

The issue here is not ethnicity or religious identity. The issue is intellectual freedom. Weighing evidence is not a hate crime, no matter what Hillel or the ADL says about it. Saying what you think about a museum is not a hate crime! And charging that it is hateful to doubt what others sincerely believe is infantile, particularly on a university campus. I can only wonder at the real motives of those who would try to convince you otherwise.

Your university was created as a place for you to think—freely and honestly. You don't need permission from slanderers and special interest groups to think for yourself. Even about the "Holocaust." Whatever else the Holocaust was, it was an historical event. It's all right to weigh the evidence for and against the gas chambers. Historical events can be questioned. Museums dedicated to promoting historical orthodoxies can be assessed. It's all right!

Thirty-odd years have passed since I was a bookseller on Hollywood Boulevard, but my conviction about the fundamental importance of intellectual freedom is the same today as it was then. In the 1960s I went to court and was ready to go to jail to uphold the right of students to read radical literary works. I am no less convinced today that students have the right to read any research paper that interests them, on any historical controversy whatever, including every single word ever written about the Holocaust controversy!

I ask you, simply, to read the text of my ad without pre-judging it, think for yourself, and act on your conscience.


Bradley Smith

Note: If your advertising department rejects the Museum ad, feel free to run the text as an opinion piece. If you want to run this letter as an opinion piece, you have permission to do so. Neither is copyrighted. If you do run either, please send me a tear sheet


Additional information about this document
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Author(s): Bradley R. Smith
Title: Campus Project for 1993/94 Season Tremendous Success
Sources: Smith's Report, no. 18, Fall 1994, pp. 1-3
Published: 1994-10-01
First posted on CODOH: Sept. 8, 2015, 1:33 p.m.
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