Holocaust Lobby at University of Texas Reels under Multi-Pronged Revisionist Attack

Published: 1993-04-01

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As reported in the last issue of Smith’s, David Cole’s Open Letter to the Daily Texan was run as a half-page advertisement in that paper on Friday 19 February. The ad informed the reader about our video “David Cole Interviews Dr. Franciszek Piper” and pointed out that the Texan , rather than allowing both sides of the holocaust controversy to be discussed in its pages, was betraying its trust by suppressing one side to the controversy to promote the other. The following Monday the Texan ran university president Robert Berdahl‘s milquetoast reply. And we were off and running.

Howard Nirken, president of the U. Texas Students’ Association, demanded that the five students and one professor who voted to run the ad either resign or be dismissed from the board by President Berdahl. Two Texan columnists did an opinion piece straight from the files of the ADL’s secret dossiers on revisionists. How can I say that? It contains the standard ADL half-truths, skewed misrepresentations and, particularly significant, omissions that all those who rely on this dreadful organization fall prey to.

The Austin American-Statesman ran an editorial condemning the ad as “inarguably wrong.” In what way? Because it had no ideas. What is an idea? “An idea is a concept, a theory, a proposal. The Holocaust is a historical fact.” What could be more inarguable, eh?

The ad appeared at a time when election campaigns were being run for student government and a number of positions on the Texan itself. The candidates all found it necessary to condemn the ad. The newly. reconstituted campus branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, however, wrote in our favor, noting that “Cole has civil rights, too” and explained why .

The Houston Chronicle published an hysterically slanderous opinion piece by the Houston ADL with a headline pleading that the press “Stop spreading hatred.”

Eli P. Cox III, Chair of the Executive Committee of the Texas Student Publications (TSP) Board, argued in the Texan that “The board has now established a precedent for running ads it knows are false.” John H. Murphy II, Professor of advertising, answered that “The answer to flawed opinions is not suppression but rather providing accurate information. “

The Texas Union Student Issues Committee met on 4 March in the Texas Presidential Lobby for a debate on “Free Speech --The Daily Texan and the Holocaust ad.”



Spiegelmaus graciously accepts news that Piper interview will appear on Austin TV

Executive director of the American Jewish Committee, Suzanne C. Sachnowitz, wrote to the Texan that “Nazism [is] not open to debate” and added that the AJC hopes that “editorial discretion [indeed!-Ed.] will preclude any additional open letters or ads of such nature to be carried by your publication.” It was the NC that was responsible for convincing Talkers: The Newspaper of Talk Media to censor my ads announcing my availability as a talk show guest on radio and TV. Talkers, edited and published by Michael S. Harrison out of Longmeadow MA, would be a productive vehicle to obtain media interviews, but I’m blackballed from its pages, as I am from all other contact listings in the country. Thanks to the AJC and the rest of those people.

Rabbi Kerry Baker, the maximum leader of B’nai B’rith/Hillel at Texas, is quoted by the Texan as saying of the ad: “This is a safe way to express anti-Semitic feelings.” Speaking of those at Texas who voted to run the ad, he said: “They are willing to sell out groups like Jews in the name of idealized purity.... [and they] are willing to support the rights of a bunch of Nazis over the rights of members of the Jewish community.” Then the rabbi said: “For [the advocators of the ad], what does it mean if Jews are hurt by it? It’s not important.”

There’s a sentiment that makes a guy stop and think. Do I really want to stand for a free press and historical truth at the risk of hurting the feelings of guys like Rabbi Baker? It’s a tough one. After I wrestled the Devil to the ground I’ll get back to you.

The debate sponsored by the Texas Student Union Issues Committee was covered in an article run 5 March headlined “Holocaust ad causes furious debate.” The usual stuff. An opinion piece on 8 March titled “Countries hide genocide” argues that the “Denial of genocide strips victims of opportunity to claim a legitimate right to national independence.” I sense a need here to defend the invasion and conquest of Palestine by European Jews after World War II.

The Houston Chronicle reports on 8 March that Hillel sponsored a rally to protest the ad and condemn the Student Publications Board. Some 400 people participated. Nina Spiegel, president of B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation is quoted saying “We are students, concerned citizens and human beings...“ I would suppose so. History professor Robert Abzug said a precedent has been set “for those who want to print anything hateful.”

Rep. Elliott Naishatat, D-Austin, was at the rally too: “It really offends me that I have to be here today because this should have been settled a long time ago.” You can’t get it settled, Elliott, if you won’t let people talk about it.

The Daily Texan article of 8 March said that more than 500 people rallied against intolerance at the protest. Speaking on behalf of UT President Robert Berdahl, Vice President of Student Affairs James Vick is quoted as saying that the “historical reality of the Holocaust cannot be denied, and neither can the anti-Semitism that caused it.” Another prize for original thinking to the administration at Texas.

“Local president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Jeff Travillion... said the impact of the ad cannot be denied. ‘The record of human action must be set down accurately.... Freedom of speech does not mean freedom to revise history of our own ends.’” Brilliant. If Jeff Travillion really wants to discover how history is used for personal ends, he should break a bagel with Rabbi (no pun intended) Baker.

“Among others speaking at the rally were state representatives Sherri Greenberg, D-Austin, Glen Maxey, D-Austin, Scott Hochberg, D-Houston, and an aide to Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos, D-Austin. Local gay and lesbian groups, and other Jewish community organizations also addressed the crowd. “ A stellar gang of politically correct freedom fighters.

On 23 March, after suppressing everything I have written for close to two years, the Texan published part of a letter to the editor I’d written a month earlier.

What did editor Geoff Henley edit out? Curiously, the passages following the paragraph ending with “the presidency of a great American university.”

And why is David’s letter an “insult” to the religious, or to anyone? I have no religious beliefs but I find it easy to tolerate them in others. Christians and Jews then, Mohammedans, Hindu fakiers, Zen acolytes and Yoruba animists all have my good will and go about their business with no interference from me. They don’t even have my attention.

At the same time that I tolerate the religious beliefs of others, I question the gas chamber stories. The life of the intellect is more than believing (that is, having opinions) and tolerating. It is also doubting. Show me a man who denigrates the value of doubt and I’ll show you a man who, in his heart, is a totalitarian.

There was more, but thought It interesting, there being so much religious interest, and even fervor, on the Texas campus, that these particular passages would be cut.

By this time the Texan was facing another problem—yet another ad submitted by Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust! Nothing like a little persistence. As the Texan reported on 24 March, “The ad is an access television listing for Bradley Smith’s ‘Controversial video on Auschwitz.’” That is, the Cole/Piper video. This ad, a simple announcement informing Texan readers that the video was going to air on Austin cable “public access” TV, was also suppressed.

“The meeting. however, continued months of an emotional battle between TSP board members who believe the ad violated TSP policy, and members who believe that not printing the ad would keep students from being exposed to ideas.“

Professor John Murphy, a TSP board member who has headed past attempts to publish CODOH ads, said: “This board is being paternalistic to students. We’re not debating the Holocaust here ... .J don’t think there is any disagreement with what type of person Bradley Smith is ... [what kind of crack is that?].”

“ ... board member Jay Ashcraft contended that the Daily Texan had an Obligation to run the ad based on the public status of the University. Because the university is a government agency, Ashcraft said, the Texan cannot make content decisions on such things as advertising policy.”

When the "Texan" won’t run our ad for the Piper video, Rolf Hermes drives our ad to the campus.

“Ashcraft also said Smith’s ad promoting a video about Auschwitz was not offensive. ‘This is just a statement of a public access period’ for the video, he said. The prevention of running the ad is ‘pre-censorship, ‘ Ashcraft added.


The Texan published a series of letters supporting running revisionist ads. Hazar Gabriel, a Palestinian graduate student, found the Texan editorial stance “a continuation of the hypocrisy of the pro-Jewish/Zionist writers that seem to be printed practically every day in the Daily Texan... for political reasons the complete history of the Holocaust is denied. The final chapter which occurred in Palestine is not acknowledged.”

Associate professor of journalism, Gene Burd, wrote that “Opposition to the Daily Texan publication of ‘Holocaust’ ads is just another reminder that the University is primarily a political institution rather than a place for intellectual and historical inquiry. “

Writing from the Department of Oriental and African Languages and Literature, however, A. Zilkha whined about the publication of my letter of the 23rd: “Smith’s letter has no value other than to serve the interests of his so-called ‘Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust.’ His aim is to exonerate the Nazis from their heinous crimes against humanity, thus legitimizing the gangs which have adopted their racist philosophy.” Zilkha is making a progressive-forces reference to “skinheads.”

Texan columnist Toby Petzold wrote a blistering attack on those who act the part of censors. Titled “Don’t censor meaning· of First Amendment rights,” the Op-Ed piece highlighted the following paragraph: “As a matter of fact, censorship in itself functions as an enticement to the basest form of expression. What is mysterious and hidden invariably triggers human curiosity. “

Attorney Bob Black took President Berdahl to task (29 March) for his ignorance in law and inability to understand even the standards of the TSP board. He ended with: “Historical truths no less than historical falsehoods invariably offend. The orthodox story insults and offends Germans. The revisionist story insults and offends Jews (supposedly) [sic]. To both groups I say, tough! Grow up! Get used to it! Welcome to the real world! President Berdahl? He doesn’t get out enough.”


When I submitted the ad announcing the air times for the Cole/Piper video to the Daily Texan, I submitted a smaller ad to the .Austin American-Statesman too. This is the newspaper that everyone in State government in Austin reads. The Statesman agreed to run the ad in its own weekly TV and entertainment guide on Sunday 29 March. In addition, the video would be announced each of four days in the newspaper’s daily TV schedule. Maybe the Texan and Rabbi Bakers believed I was putting all my apples into the Daily Texan. Not likely.

This is the ad that ran in the American-Statesman TV Guide

Now it was time for our comrade, Rolf Hermes, to swing into action. I met Rolf at the IHR Conference last year. He was one of those we interviewed on video tape in an upstairs hotel room while the conference was taking place below. He is now CODOH regional director for Texas. Rolf lives and has a business in Mission, Texas, a couple hundred miles southeast of Austin. He uses a truck with a 40-foot trailer for his business.

Rolf set to work with a crew of three to paint 40-foot­-long billboards on each side of his truck and another on the two back doors. The first 40-foot line read “Censored by the Daily Texan, “ the second, “The Holocaust Controversy.” He listed the air times for the four upcoming showings of the Piper interview. It all came out beautifully. Rolf then printed thousands of copies of three leaflets, two that had been censored at the Texan.

On Saturday, the 27th, Rolf drove his semi to Austin. Sunday the 28th our ad appeared in the American Statesman. It was titled: “AUSCHWITZ: A New Look At An Old Story!” That day everyone in Austin who has the habit of perusing the entertainment section of their only daily newspaper, including the entire mob of bureaucrats and politicos who live and work there, saw our ad on the page along with the rest of the week’s movies.

Meanwhile, Rolf was reconnoitering the Texas campus and pulling his trailer billboards round the Texas campus, through the streets of Austin and around the State Capitol building. The next morning he was on the Texas campus with two assistants passing out flyers by the hundreds. That afternoon the Cole/Piper video aired the first time. We have been told that the Austin/U. Texas “public access” TV has the second largest public-access viewing audience in the Nation, second only to that of Manhattan in New York City.

MEANWHILE, at this very hour, David Cole was in Dallas, Texas, being interviewed on a nationally syndicated radio talk show! He had flown in the night before to do TWO interviews in Dallas. Who was David being interviewed by? My old friend, Morton Downey, the loud mouth who threw me off his TV show in New Jersey a couple years ago, though not until I’d gotten some pretty good stuff onto the screen. Contrary to how Downey behaved with me, David reports that Downey treated him with kid gloves, like he was chatting with his own son.

Along about that time our friends at ADL, SWC, AJC, Hillel and the rest of that nefarious lobby must have been wondering what the hell was going on in the State of Texas. By mid-morning their telephones and fax machines must have been pumping a steady stream of bad news into the Texas Yahweh network.


Spiegelmaus reflecting on the success of revisionist campaign at University of Texas

While David’s (live) Downey radio interview went well, that was only one arm of our Dallas Pincer Movement. The Downey gig kicked off at seven in the morning. By ten-thirty David was across town at Dallas Tel-Cable being interviewed by the program’s hostess, Jo Shannon Baldwin.

The subject? “David Cole Interviews Dr. Franciszek Piper.”·Dallas Tel-Cable is a commercial television station and Jo Shannon Baldwin is a well-known personality in the Fort Worth-Dallas area. Ms. Shannon has given us· permission to use the video however we wish and it will be listed in the upcoming first issue of our Video Catalog.

David was a rather surprised by how helpful and cooperative the crew and staff were at Tel-Cable. There was a general interest in the subject, and after the interview was finished some of the crew offered their services if we ever need them. To our surprise, and my relief, the interview was aired that same night, before the ADL agents could get to the station manager.

Additional information about this document
Property Value
Author(s): Bradley R. Smith
Title: Holocaust Lobby at University of Texas Reels under Multi-Pronged Revisionist Attack
Sources: Smith's Report, no. 14, March/April 1993, pp. 1, 3-6
Published: 1993-04-01
First posted on CODOH: Aug. 28, 2015, 4:06 p.m.
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