Smith's Report no. 9, February/March 1992

Published: 1992-03-01

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Bradley Smith in the 'New York Times'

Nice photo, eh? I'll be 62 years old by the time you receive this. I never really expected to have a mug shot in the New York Times. But then our national paper of record has been turning its attention to CODOH with some regularity recently. On 11 December the Times published an opinion piece by David M. Oshinsky and Michael Curtis who are, respectively, professors of history and political science at Rutgers University. They called upon college newspapers across the country to stop publishing my article/advertisement "The Holocaust Controversy: The Case for Open Debate." Why? Because "if the Holocaust is not a fact, then nothing is a fact, and truth itself will be diminished." I understand their point of view, and I sympathize with these two distraught men. The profs were upset because the ad had appeared, under particularly grating (to them) circumstances in the Daily Targum, the student-run newspaper at Rutgers (see below).

On 15 January the Times ran an editorial discussing the College Project. The Times didn't mention either the name of the organization carrying it out or the title of the article in question: "The Holocaust Controversy: The Case for Open Debate." While the Times wants to talk about the Project, can no longer avoid talking about it, its editors understand that it is important to them to suppress the purpose of CODOH. This is the tack that other commercial newspapers are using, and now the college newspapers have taken to it as well, as at Ohio State, where I am addressed simply by my first name. It's not easy to get information from a "Bradley" in a country of 250 million individuals. I think I see the machinations of an invisible hand behind this maneuver. This may be what's called a conspiracy.

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17 January 1992, Letters To The Editor, New York Times

The Times editorial, "Ugly Ideas, and Democracy," wants to pretend that I alone am responsible for writing the article/advertisement titled "The Holocaust Controversy: The Case for Open Debate," that is appearing in university student newspapers. Wrong.

I'm not a historian. All the information in the ad is based on the work of Revisionist scholars in North America and Europe, published over the last 35 years. I have no funds of my own to buy space in campus papers. I depend on the kindnesses of interested laymen all over America.

No journalist or academic has revealed a single error of fact in the ad. In almost every case where either has expressed an opinion about it, he has contented himself with the childish amusement of name-calling or a call for censorship.

Holocaust scholarship, suppressed by our academics and newsmen, who for half a century have bought the State line on the story, has been discovered by the people. The old guard believes it can go on exploiting narrow ideas of "democracy" in order to suppress free inquiry and open debate on this one historical event.

It isn't going to work any more. The cat's out of the bag. The new scholarship is being delivered into the hands of the people.

(signed) Bradley R. Smith

Other prestige press stories and editorials about the College Project include: "How Should Scholars Respond to Assertions That the Holocaust Never Happened?," The Chronicle of Higher Education (11 December). "A Growing Fray Over Holocaust Ad Reaches Rutgers," The Philadelphia Inquirer (6 December). "When Anti-Semitism Is Easy To Identify," New York Post (28 November). "Humbug Ads about the Holocaust," Los Angeles Times (23 December). "Further Thoughts on 'JFK' from an Accused Conspirator," Chicago Tribune (31 December). "College Ads and the Holocaust," Washington Post (21 December). "Student Protest Over Holocaust Ad," Editor and Publisher (21 December). "Hoping to Change Minds of Young on Holocaust," New York Times (23 December).

(If you'd like to read these stories, editorials and some responses to them, ask for "The National File." Contains 20-25 pages.)

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS, The Daily Texan. This caper had more twists to it than I was prepared for. Last issue I reported that, after the ad had been accepted at the Texan, it was challenged, passed through a review committee, was challenged again and was finally passed for publication by the Publications Committee of the Board of Trustees. David Cole and I returned to Los Angeles, savoring our victory. What we didn't take into sufficient consideration was the determination of the rabbi who heads Hillel on the Texas campus. He got hold of the Anti-Defamation League and they flew in a trouble shooter from Houston, "re-educated" the editorial staff of the Texan, saw that the Board met again where it changed its rules, and under the new ones voted to reject publication of the ad. The truth is, the Hillel rabbis are getting under my skin.

RUTGERS UNIVERSITY, The Daily Targum. I like this story very much. This was our last chance to be published in early December, before the winter break. The Cornell Daily Sun had published a couple weeks earlier and it had caused such a flap, and the rabbis were in such a stew, that I didn't have high hopes for success at Rutgers. My fears were borne out when Steve Gottlieb, business manager for the Targum, called to say that the ad was too controversial for him to allow publication "at this time." He said he was returning my check.

Next day the managing editor of the Targum, Joshua Rolnick, called and asked for permission to publish the ad as an "opinion" piece. The Targum editorial staff had decided to stand with the spirit of the First Amendment against all the political pressure groups on the significantly Jewish campus, including the rabbis. It hadn't occurred to me that a paper would do such a thing. I said of course he could publish it. He would publish pieces opposing the ad in the same issue of the paper. Was that all right? I said sure. That's the purpose of the ad, to encourage open debate.

I held my breath. On 3 December I began getting calls from the media in and around New Brunswick, New Jersey and I discovered that the ad had indeed been published as an opinion piece, at no charge. It was then that the New York Times began to take the College Project seriously and published the article by Rutgers professors Curtis and Oshinsky.

I called Joshua Rolnick, told him how much I admired what he had done, that I understood that

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publication of the article under his supervision did not mean that he accepted as accurate everything in the ad or that he agreed with its premise. He didn't say anything. I asked him to send me an issue of the paper that carried the article and he said he would. But I didn't hear from him, the winter break came and went, and I called the Targum to inquire about buying past issues and subscribing to upcoming ones. I was told there were no more copies of the issue in which my ad had appeared. The Targum office didn't even have its own copies any longer. They could send me all issues of the winter quarter except that one. I arranged for it.

Then a couple days ago Joshua Rolnick rang me up. He apologized for not sending me the Targum issue with my article in it, but he would photocopy it for me and send along the articles that would interest me. He apologized for being so late with it. It had just got away from him over the holidays. Meanwhile, I had received the back copies of the Targum and as I was clipping them I came across a photograph of Joshua Rolnick over an article he had written for the sports page. I was a little flabbergasted by it. His face bears a striking resemblance to a young man I helped raise, at whose Bar Mitzvah I read, whose wedding I attended three years ago, and who I am no longer absolutely certain is still talking to me. I was moved in some peculiar way, and I felt a sentiment flow out from my heart toward Joshua Rolnick that wasn't very rational and very well might not have been appreciated by its target.

Meanwhile, the reaction to the running of the ad as an opinion piece produced articles with such headlines as "Conspiracies Against the Truth," "Censorship Codes?," "Faculty and Administrators Condemn 'Holocaust Revisionists' As Fraudulent" (signed by about 100 individuals including Curtis and Oshinsky), "Hundreds Refute Holocaust Ad," "Some Types of Speech Targeted by Government," "Divisive Response to CODOH Ad Plays into Their Hands," "Targum's Advertising Shows Prioritization of Bigotries," "A Requiem For Dachau," "Concentration Campus Could Be a Good Idea," and "Holocaust Ad Stirs National Controversy." There is also an interesting cartoon exploiting the human-skin lamp shade story.

About this time I discovered that both the Anti-Defamation League and the Simon Wiesenthal Center were sending letters to colleges all over American arguing that CODOH's ad should not be published because it is "misleading" and full of falsehoods. I wondered how likely it would be that after the winter break, after the letters, and after the extent of the scandal was fully realized that the Project would be able to pick up again toward the end of January where it had left off the first week in December.

No need to have worried.

OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY, The Lantern. My first batch of submissions in January went to Princeton, University of Virginia, Rice, Vanderbilt, Louisiana State, Nommo (the Black paper at UCLA), Portland State and Ohio State. Virginia, Nommo, and Portland State rejected the ad without fanfare.

On the morning of 20 January the ad manager of the Ohio State Lantern called to say that they would run the ad on Thursday the 23rd. I was elated, though I don't like to admit to such excitement at my age. On the morning of 21 January he called again to say that the Anti-Defamation League had got wind of the ad and had gone straight to the president of the university, E. Gordon Gee. The result was, publication would be delayed, and that it would go before the publications committee to be voted up or down. I felt a little rush of anxiety, though I don't like to admit to such things at my age. I sweated it out for two days. On the afternoon of the 23rd he called again to say that the ad had been voted down. I hate to say it, but I was very disappointed. Ohio State is the largest university in America. What a coup if we could have gotten in there! That evening I did a three hour radio interview by telephone with Steve Cannon over WTVN Columbus. During the program there was some talk that the editorial staff at the Lantern was going to publish the ad as an opinion piece. I didn't bother to take it seriously.

The next morning I began getting phone calls from Ohio media. The ad had, indeed, been published, as an opinion piece, by the editorial staff on First Amendment principles. The managing editor is Samantha Haney. She's 22 years old. She has a lot of courage. At the same time, the staff purged the ad of its advertising material and changed the headline from "The Holocaust Controversy: The Case for Open Debate" to the misleading one of "Writer Claims Holocaust a Hoax." An editorial appeared excoriating racists and anti-Semites, myself among them, without demonstrating that I am guilty of either charge, together with a foolish and ignorant column by Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee. His column was described in the Lantern editorial as a "beautiful" piece of work. Sucking up a little to "the Man?"

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Letters to the Editor, The Lantern, Ohio State University

President E. Gordon Gee writes (24 January) that I use "emotionally charged rhetoric" to urge open debate on the Holocaust story. He appears to think that's bad. Gee then charges that I use the techniques of "the big lie," the "pernicious lie," "insidious fabrication," "intentional falsification," "devious design" and "propaganda." He doesn't demonstrate that any of it is true, but what's that to a scholar of Gee's dimensions?

President Gee charges that I write that "the Holocaust was a hoax" (I do not), that "crematoriums did not exist in the German camps" (I do not), and that I convey "derogatory ideas about Jews," implying that the article attacks Jews as a people (it does not).

What President Gee knows and does not know about the alleged genocide of the European Jews can be very easily addressed. He writes that there are members of the Ohio State community who know "personally" that their "parents, grandparents and children were gassed...."

All Gee needs to do to change my life around is to present The Lantern with one demonstrable, wartime generated proof for one "gassing" in an extermination gas chamber of one relative or any individual associated with Ohio State. I shouldn't think it would be all that difficult for a man of Gee's intellectual stature.

However, if he can't do it himself (forgive me), he can call upon any one of the hundreds of scholars currently working at Ohio State, or a team of them, say, all of whom know more about everything than I do and are nicer guys too. Such a band of stalwart men should well be able to pull Gee's chestnuts from the fire of his righteousness.

I'll wait.

(signed) Bradley R. Smith

(In a sense, it's a little pointless to reproduce here the texts of letters I've written to newspaper editors that remain unpublished. I only do it so you can get a sense of how I respond to men like E. Gordon Gee.)

LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY, The Daily Reveille. I received funding for this ad back in November. I submitted it the first week in December but by then it was too late to be published effectively. The ad manager assured me there was no problem. He had run it by a couple of the editors and they didn't see any problem with it. But we would have to wait until 22 January for publication. It didn't look good. Too much time for too many things

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to go wrong, too many people to hear about it, too much pressure to be exerted against the paper.

Meanwhile, I was still working on the ad. I'd gotten a number of suggestions on how to improve the text and I wanted to incorporate as many of them as I could. As the 22nd approached, I decided to replace the text of the ad that had been in the hands of the Reveille for close to six weeks with the new, revised text. But I had waited too long to come to a decision and now I was told that publication would have to be delayed another seven days because the new text had arrived too late to go in on the 22nd. Based on past experience, I had a very bad feeling about what was going down.

Nevertheless, on the 28th I began getting calls from Baton Rouge media wanting information about CODOH and the history of the ad. On the 29th it was published. That was yesterday. Several more days will pass before I get solid information on what's happening on the LSU campus.

VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY, The Hustler. This is one that Dr. Robert Countess took care of for CODOH. He walked it into the Hustler office in Nashville, and yesterday he called to say that the ad had been printed on the 24th, the same day it came out in the Ohio State Lantern. More on this one, and on LSU and the rest of the campuses that we're targeting in the next issue.


For the first time since June '91 we're including a catalog with this issue of SR. It lists the Files containing the press clippings generated from each of the universities where the CODOH ad has been published. I think you'll find them very interesting and a lot of fun. If you've asked for something from a previous catalog and haven't received it or there's some other problem, please call collect and Magaly will get it straightened out for you.

EXPENSES: All of the monies for the published ads were donated by sponsors and the ads were paid for by cashiers check at the time of publication. Those of you who have been thinking about sponsoring one or more ads but haven't done it yet, this is the time. I look forward to hearing from you.

The funds to cover other business expenses and to support my family are still needed. These kinds of outlays, while they are minuscule compared to the multi-million dollar budgets of organizations like the Simon Wiesenthal Center ($9 million per year) or the ADL (several times that), are nevertheless very difficult for me to handle. Following are my pay-outs for business (only) expenses for December 1991 and January 1992.


Not much, I'd say, for a public relations campaign that has reached some of the top student newspapers in academia and has stirred up the prestige press as well. Others spend millions of dollars to buy this kind of recognition and influence. We get it by disseminating the truth in places where it has never before seen the light of day.

Your help with these expenses is much appreciated. Without your help they simply go unpaid and the little credit I have is compromised.

The Campus Project is flying high. I'm going to go straight ahead with it for the next few months, but it is already time to begin to think about what directions it should take in the new school year in September.

I wish all of you all the best.

Additional information about this document
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Author(s): Bradley R. Smith
Title: Smith's Report no. 9, February/March 1992
Sources: Smith's Report no. 9, February/March 1992
Published: 1992-03-01
First posted on CODOH: July 8, 2012, 7 p.m.
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