The Academic Year 1999-2000. A Summary
Twenty years ago Smith discovered revisionist theory regarding the Holocaust story. Nineteen years, eleven months and about 28 days ago he discovered that holocaust revisionism was taboo. After a year or two Smith lost interest in following the ins and outs of revisionist scholarship itself, but he remained fascinated with the ferocity with which the taboo is enforced to protect the story from rational criticism.
About ten years ago Smith decided, for reasons that neither he nor his wife is able to fully appreciate, that he would stop trying to make a real living and attempt to convince the professorial class that encouraging intellectual freedom in institutions of higher learning is better than trying to suppress it, even with regard to historical controversies. Thus was born the Campus Project.
During the ensuing ten years Smith has run announcements and advertisements which address the Holocaust controversy and provide access to revisionist information about it in upwards of 300 student newspapers. All the best people, particularly university presidents, the professors whom they administer, and the priests, pastors and rabbis who represent Judeo-Christian cultural orthodoxy both on and off campus, have condemned him.
Once it became clear to Smith that the professors were beyond animation on the subject of intellectual freedom and would remain that way for the foreseeable future, he turned to the students. He imagined, and still does, that a majority of college students has not yet been burdened with the full weight of professorial orthodoxy, has not yet entirely convinced themselves that career should always come before bravery and idealism, and can still see what is ludicrous and even comic when it's right before their eyes.
May the gods be with him.
SUNDAY 10 OCTOBER. The announcement, or advertisement, that we are running in student newspapers this year is titled HOLOCAUST STUDIES: Appointment with Hate? The project is just getting off the ground with the ad having appeared in the Main Campus, University of Maine-Orono (date?), and in the Arbiter at Boise State U (6 Oct).
The purpose of the ad is to draw attention to the-I think I should just say it-intellectually and morally corrupt nature of a good deal of what is taught in Holocaust Studies. Not just in little ways, but in the broadest meanings of those two words. The appointment-with-hate line refers to an article by that name written by Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and published in his book Legends of our Time. There he writes:
Every Jew, somewhere in his being, should set apart a zone of hate-healthy virile hate-for what the German personifies and for what persists in the German.
In the ad I write:
"Students understand the implications of this statement when it's brought to their attention, while their professors appear not to. Perhaps if we change one word in Elie Wiesel's sage advice, it will focus their attention: "Every Palestinian, somewhere in his being, should set apart a zone of hate-healthy virile hate-for what the Jew personifies and for what persists in the Jew."
Revisionists are in a curious corner with respect to this controversy. The charge of "hate" is used with great energy to suppress Holocaust revisionism. In Holocaust Studies itself, however, hate is all the rage. It's okay, good even, to hate Germans (note that EW does not write "Nazis," but to express doubt about any part of the orthodox H. story is branded as hateful and condemned. It's remarkable how thoroughly this concept has soaked into the minds of otherwise normal, even brilliant professors. I think that's what informs the letter I received from the advertising manager of the State News at Michigan State University-East Lansing.
September 17, 1999
Upon review of your ad entitled "Holocaust Studies," The State News has decided to refuse your ad.
Our advertising acceptance policy states that, "The State News will not intentionally publish ads attacking or criticizing directly or by implication, any race, sex, creed, religion, organization, institution, business or profession without firm justification and foundation."
The ad criticizes both specific people and those of a certain region or creed.
One wonders what "firm justification and foundation" could possibly mean in this context. It is demonstrable that Elie Wiesel published a notoriously famous anti-German racist exhortation, and it is demonstrable that key eyewitnesses to "gas chambers" gave false testimony about them in court and to the press. Are we to understand that because many of these individuals are Jews that their racism and falsehoods are not to be addressed? I think that is, indeed, what we are expected to understand. Students are expected to follow the example set by their professors in this matter and to not make waves.
FRIDAY 19 NOVEMBER. The Hofstra University Chronicle agreed to run the first issue of The Revisionist (TR) as a preprinted insert in its issue of 28 October. I was very pleased. I shipped 5,000 copies to their printer for insertion. This would be the first distribution on campus of our new journal. I was very pleased and interested to see how it would work out.
On the 27th I rang up the Chronicle to see how things were going and listened to a recorded message which informed me that the Chronicle had received so many telephone calls the staff was "overloaded" and while every call would be answered, it might take several days. On the 28th I called again and listened to the same message. I faxed a note to the Chronicle editor, Shawna VanNess, asking what the story was. The fax went through, but she did not reply.
On the 30th, a Saturday, I checked the stats on our Website and found nothing to indicate that 5,000 copies of a unique revisionist journal had been distributed on the Hofstra campus. I began to prepare myself for bad news. I've had a lot of bad news with this work, I can live with it, but I'd rather have good news. I was starting to get ancy. I faxed yet another appeal for someone to clarify the situation for me. There was no response.
On the evening of the 31st, I received a note via email from a Hofstra student informing me that TR was inserted in the Chronicle on the evening of the 27th but that a student, identified as a member of Hillel, was caught vandalizing the papers. He had removed about 1,000 copies of TR from the Chronicle to destroy them. He was reported to the authorities, campus security took him into custody, then released him.
I didn't know if this report was true or not. The stats for the 30th did not indicate that TR had been distributed. I had no way to know if 1,000 or 4,500 copies of TR had been destroyed or vandalized. I was unhappy. On Monday when I checked the stats there was still nothing unusual about them. It occurred to me that maybe all the TRs were distributed and it was found to be so boring that I never would see any change in the stats. I was getting very restless. I faxed VanNess again.
Smith Writes to Shawna Van Ness (Fax)
1 November 1999
It does not feel quite right to me that the Chronicle does not contact me and tell me what the story is. A young lady went to the campus yesterday and said she found few Chronicles and none with TR in them. Tomorrow a different person will be on the campus to take another run at it.
We're coming to the close of the fifth day that I have been trying to find out what the story is. I understand something of the difficulty of your situation, tho not much of course because you won't tell me. I can only wonder how you are being advised by the people in Hofstra Journalism-the Greenes, Rubensteins, Knowltons and the rest of them.
This is a straightforward free press issue. I don't know what you are being advised. Don't let special interests on campus and off complicate it for you. There are people at Hofstra who will do anything to prevent an open debate about the H. controversy. There are people there who will place their own special interests before intellectual freedom-every time. Those will be the people who will want to complicate for you what should remain simple, to encourage you to find an excuse to stand aside from the ideal of a free press.
Keep it simple. Clarify the situation for me.
On 2 November I still had not heard from the Chronicle. The stats hadn't changed. We are doing pretty well, with 10,000 to 15,000 hits a day, but on the Internet, that's small potatoes. I've heard that some of the porn sites get ten times, a hundred times that. I could either do something, or I could let it slide. When I suspect professors are involved with something bad, I'm not inclined to let it slide. Someone should be telling me something what the hell was going on. I figured Professor Robert Greene was the man. I wrote him and copied it to the rest of his department.
Smith Writes to Professor Robert W. Greene (Email)
Greene is the Acting Chair of the Hofstra Department of Journalism and Mass Media Studies
Professor Robert Greene:
Thursday last the Chronicle was to distribute 5,000 copies of a publication of mine called The Revisionist as a preprinted insert. It was not distributed, and Shawna VanNess, the editor, will neither answer my telephone calls nor reply to my faxed inquiries. This is the sixth day now, and her unwillingness to communicate with me has become inexcusable. While I understand VanNess has some sort of problem, I can not imagine that she is being advised by her department that she can avoid the responsibility of communicating with me.
We have a free press issue here. It's not something else. While there may be other things going on, and I suppose there are and that one or more special interest groups are involved with it, I would hope that Ms. Van-Ness is not being advised that what has happened is something less than an affront to a free press and to intellectual freedom itself-or that it is something more.
This is not complicated. It's simple. The ideal of a free press has been violated, and something is being covered up. I would hope that she would be advised, by those responsible in some fashion for advising her, that such is the case.
A couple hours later I was surprised to find that Professor Greene allows no moss to grow on his computer.
Professor Greene Responds to Smith
Sir: Your facts are as warped as your sense of history and your understanding of the First Amendment.
Your insert was widely delivered in The Chronicle. I got a copy of it in my edition and so-to their dismay---did many of my friends. The First Amendment does not require newspapers to accept advertising they consider distasteful or offensive to the majority of their readers or that they consider so patently misleading as to promulgate falsity as truth.
The Chronicle is a student newspaper entirely divorced from the Hofstra University Department of Journalism and Mass Media Studies. At the request of The Chronicle staff a faculty member of this department serves a non-binding advisor to The Chronicle. She was not, however, consulted on the inclusion of your missive and was not even aware of it until after it had been delivered throughout the campus.
Had our department had some control over what The Chronicle prints and inserts, your message would most probably never have been distributed for reasons of both taste and historical accuracy.
Robert. W. Greene, Acting Chairperson
I had to note that Acting Chair Greene did not refer to the alleged vandalism of TR by a Hillel member. I still didn't know if the report were true. It embarrasses me to confess this, but it had already crossed my mind that if a member of Hillel were involved in something so vulgar as censoring a magazine by destroying it, that there would be a good deal of effort made by the usual suspects to keep the incident out of the press. Now that Acting Chair Greene had not mentioned the Hillel incident, if there had indeed by a Hillel incident, I felt it important to introduce the matter.
Smith Replies to Acting Chair Greene
Sir: Thank you very much for your manly reply.
Glad to know that part of the 5,000 copies of The Revisionist was distributed. I was worried by a story I had, which may be untrue, that the Hillel agent who was caught stealing and or destroying TR the night it was distributed (a week ago this evening) might have gotten them all, or most of them. But since you and some of your friends got theirs, I understand why you would think it neurotic of me to fret over the other, perhaps, 4 985 copies of TR.
When I first contacted you I had been unable to reach The Chronicle by telephone for five days, I was pretty sure something had gone wrong with the distribution of TR tho I didn't know how wrong, that perhaps the story was being covered up, and I was concerned that Chronicle editor Shawna VanNess, who appears to be professional and steadfast, might be getting bad advice from her faculty advisor. My experience with faculty advisors and student journalists is that, while the students typically want to go with the ideals of a free press, their advisors don't.
Meanwhile, I heard from Van Ness yesterday and she assures me that TR was, indeed, widely distributed at Hofstra, and I have relaxed considerably. I understand that I will learn something about how many were not distributed via the Chronicle tomorrow. I can wait. When you do journalism that is judged, by nearly all the most sensitive people in the profession, to be in poor taste, you learn to be very patient indeed.
That being the case, I will not bother to nit-pick over issues of taste, or your view that my view of history is warped, or that much of TR is patently misleading to the point of falsehood. I won't protest that the Chronicle does not have the right to reject whatever ads it chooses, because I agree it does. I'm glad to discover that the connection between your department and the Chronicle is tenuous. As you note, if it were not, students at yet one more university would have been denied access to revisionist theory and that would have been ballyhooed as an accomplishment of the greatest sophistication and tastefulness.
If there are any errors of fact in TR I will be glad to run a correction in issue #2. I do not expect to hear from you. What would you do with all the rest of the text in which, presumably, there would be no errors of fact? That just isn't how it works with the professors, is it? They condemn revisionist texts but refuse to address them. Best of all possible worlds. I have every expectation that you will do the same. In the end, it really is a matter of taste, isn't it? One can either go for an open press, or one can go for good taste.
If your typical professor were to have to choose between historical truth-see our article on Karski-and offending an old fraud who has been held up as a role model to students for 30 or 40 years, she certainly would not choose to tell the truth, would she? And then there is the question of how many other academics would feel burdened by the shame of it all? One would have been disloyal to her class--no?
Loyalty to the reigning orthodoxy, good taste, mannered evasions of simple fraud and falsehood-that's the ticket! Or, perhaps this is all a mistake, and you really don't know very much about what is addressed in TR, and it is unfair of me to ask you to look at what's on the page-in front of your nose. If that's so, I really feel I should apologize, stand back, and let you have a chance to show your stuff. After all-two Pulitzers?
By the way, I'm aware of the awful blooper with regard to Peter Novick's name on the cover and in the head on page 19-I certainly hope somebody on the Hofstra faculty picks that one up and runs with it. And uses it to dismiss the other 19,000 words.
I threw the Hillel incident into the ring but Acting Chair Greene chose not to pick it up. His call, but one wonders why. Two Pulitzers? He could have assured me the rumor was false, that my source was spreading an indefensible rumor. Makes a guy like me think that my source is pretty well on the mark.
20 NOVEMBER 1999. On 2 November Samson Levine, a reporter for the Chronicle, asked to interview me by telephone and I explained my rule of thumb: While I give interviews to print journalists via fax and email, I no longer do interviews with print journalists by telephone. The reason I do not is that journalists do not yet understand what the story is-as a profession. This rule of thumb has nothing to do with Levine or any other individual reporter, but with the print press generally.
Chronicle Reporter Interviews Smith
3 November 1999 (via fax)
SL: Do you believe that your ad had a Constitutional right to be published in The Chronicle? I ask this because most of the Hofstra community does not feel that running your ad was a First Amendment issue.
BRS: I don't know. I'm not a lawyer or an expert on Constitutional law. I do know that an open debate on the Holocaust controversy is taboo, and that taboos have no place in an open society, in the university, or in the press. While I can not respond to the letter of Constitutional law, I can observe that the spirit of the First Amendment suggests that we should be free to reveal what we think and feel, and that the press, as an instrument of community, should encourage us to do that in an environment of openness and good will.
SL: How do you feel about you ad being vandalized by a student on campus? Do you plan on doing anything about it? For your information, The Chronicle has decided to press charges against that student.
BRS: I'd like to talk to the student. He had his reasons. When you are propagandized, as college students are with regard to this controversy, that revisionist theory represents the work of the Devil, and suddenly this devilish work appears on your very campus and even in your own dorm, you really must take matters into your own hands. The professoriat [in my view--Ed.] is at the bottom of this foolishness\.
Myself, I'm not interested in pressing charges against a student. I don't want to see people punished. I want to see students have the freedom to debate openly any historical controversy they are interested in, or any other matter. I have no opinion about the Chronicle pressing charges. I do not know what happened, who the perps were, and who if anyone encouraged them to do whatever they did, precisely. I would like to know.
SL: What do you hope to accomplish by running your insert? Would you classify yourself as an anti-Semite?
BRS: By placing a real revisionist text in the hands of students, and referencing our Website (www.codoh.com), I hope to demonstrate to students that, in spite of what they are consistently told by their professors and the special interest organizations on and off campus, that revisionist theory is grounded in fact, and that it is relevant to topical issues that appear in the press every day about the Holocaust story-fifty years after the end of WWII. In the back of my mind, I have a dream (to coin a phrase): that college students will begin the long struggle to encourage their professors to encourage intellectual freedom with regard to the Holocaust controversy, rather than continuing to suppress it as they have for fifty years.
SL: The ADL has sent a letter to this publication condemning us for running your ad. Do you get this response to your insert often?
BRS: I haven't seen the letter. The ADL condemns everything I do. What was it this time? Anything specific? Usually not. If we keep in mind that the Anti-Defamation League is a special-interest Jewish (Zionist) organization-not a neutral "human rights" organization as it has convinced so many professors and journalists it is-then we will understand pretty well what goes down with those people\.
The scandal is not that the ADL would condemn revisionist theory, but that the professors would follow the ADL-line like puppies with their tails between their legs.
Smith Forgets to Answer One Question
After I sent the above reply to Levine, I went out walking. When you're my age you had better walk all you can because there isn't very much else you can really do. After awhile, apropos of nothing, thought recalled that I had failed to answer the second part of Levine's final question. When I got back to the house I faxed him a second reply.
SL: Would you classify yourself as an anti-Semite?
BRS: Nope (How about you?) This is one of the many false and slanderous charges leveled against me with something resembling obsession. It is always used to distract the student from taking a real look at revisionist theory. Revisionist theory can and must stand on its own. That's the purpose of open debate in a free society-to separate the wheat from the chaff. Those who are against that ideal can only turn to slander, false accusation, suppression and censorship.
No part of this interview was printed or quoted in The Chronicle.
Professor Ellen T. Frisina Writes To Smith
Ellen T. Frisina is Assistant Professor of Journalism and Mass Media Studies, Faculty Advisor, The Chronicle, Hofstra University.)
5 November 1999 (via email)
Dear Mr. Smith:
As the Hofstra Chronicle's faculty advisor, let me alert you to a mistruth you choose to spread via an e-mail dated 11/4/99. You note that "...I was concerned that Chronicle editor Shawna Van Ness might be getting bad advice from her faculty advisor. My experience with faculty advisors and student journalists is that, while the students typically want to go with the ideals of a free press, their advisors don't. "
Whether your stereotypes are based on past personal experiences or what others may have persuaded you to be true, I respectfully suggest that you take into consideration that in this particular case you are not only wrong, but came to hasty judgment that was not based on fact: it takes no more than a desire to ask questions and an ability to hear objective responses to learn that at Hofstra University, principles, students' strength and the ethics of our administration, faculty, student body and student press do not comply with your personal stereotypical view of academia. I would hope that you simply revise your opinion on this matter, based on facts.
Sincerely, Ellen T. Frisina, Assistant Professor of Journalism and Mass Media Studies, Faculty Advisor, The Chronicle, Hofstra University
Smith to Professor Frisina
Thanks for your note. With regard to the recent events that I have expressed concern over, I may well have been wrong in my suspicions with re to the advisor/student-editor relationship at Hofstra, and I am perfectly pleased to say so.
Mistaken suspicions, however, grow with a peculiar luxuriousness when one is kept in the dark. I'm still in the dark, eight days after I was informed that one or more individuals were found stealing, or vandalizing or both, The Revisionist. Eight days! Being purposefully shut off from the "facts" of the story, I made the best tentative judgment about what was happening that I could make.
I must note that you, too (forgive me), do not think it necessary to inform me of the facts of this story. My wanting to know is perfectly natural, I might even say that I have a right to know, but I don't know because no one at Hofstra will come clean about it. This is not a complicated scenario. It's a simple one. Someone messed with my magazine, and no one in journalism at Hofstra will tell me, after eight days, who it was or what he or she did, and how it affected the distribution of TR.
This is the kind of affair that could become annoying, and could lead to (not-so) hasty judgments (eight days?), judgments that in the long run could, however, prove to be wrong. Why am I not told what happened with re to the distribution of TR? I have a natural interest in the story. Is my imagination running away with me? How do I know?
Frankly, this is not some great earth-shaking story. It's a modest story, but I have a special interest in it, and a special right to it. What's the story? Help me come in from the dark. Calm my apprehensions. Give me the same journalistic treatment you would give the corner grocer who found a brick thrown through his window. Who, what, when, where, why? Remember?
Regards, Bradley Smith
I regret addressing Professor Frisina as "Ms.," which I suppose is an improper salutation. Maybe that's why she did not respond to my inquiry. Did a member of Hillel vandalize my magazine on the night of 27 October or not? One would think this would be a story.
I can understand why Hillel would like to think of it as something other than a story, if the perp actually was associated with Hillel. Why the curious silence about this little affair? Isn't this what we in the press refer to as a cover-up? If the Hofstra Department of Journalism and Mass Media Studies can not handle a small scandal such as this one-and I understand it is a small scandal even though it appears I am the victim of it-how are they to pass on to their students two of the great ideals of Western culture--intellectual freedom and a free and independent press?
I don't think they can. And that is exactly why I am doing this work. The professoriat finds it impossible to deal openly and honestly with the H. controversy, and they find it impossible to deal openly and honestly when any segment of the H. lobby that's caught with its pants down. That's why some guy like me has to come in from the cold and do their work for them. I wonder what the budget is for the Hofstra Department of Journalism and Mass Media Studies? The university might do well to get rid of the people who run the department and give the money over to the kids who run the Chronicle.
21 NOVEMBER 1999. Suddenly, on 2 November, the hit count on CODOHWeb jumped from 15,000 to 29,000. Something was happening. On 3 November it was 19,000 and on the 4th it went to 30,000. Almost certainly The Revisionist was circulating and a story building. While I was having my little back and forth with professors Greene and Frisina, and with Chronicle reporter Samson Levine, they all knew what was happening but I was still been in the dark.
On 8 November, I received via email all the stories that the Chronicle had published in its 5 November issue. It was an almost classic standoff. On the one side there was the Chronicle staff led by Editor-in-Chief Shawna VanNess with the backing of one journalism professor; on the other most everybody else, including the President of the University. The Chronicle lead story describes a scene where the professionals, both on and off campus, are making themselves crazy over the decision of students to run an advertisement the professionals want to keep out of the hands of students. It's a wonderfully invigorating, even inspiriting sight.
The Hofstra Chronicle
5 November 1999 (via email) (No headline provided.)
Last week's edition of The Chronicle has made some members of the University community angry, due to an inserted advertisement that questioned whether or not the Holocaust actually happened as history books claim. The ad, placed by Holocaust revisionist Bradley Smith, was in the form of a magazine and was inserted into the middle of the paper. Smith's advertisement, called "The Revisionist: A Journal of Independent Thought," questioned widely held beliefs regarding the Holocaust, including how many Jews died in concentration camps and the existence of gas chambers.
A University student was issued an appearance summons for removing the inserts from issues of The Chronicle shortly after they were distributed last Thursday, according to Public Safety Director Ed Bracht.
University President James Shuart said he felt the paper was insensitive in running Smith's advertising supplement. "It's a matter of judgement and of maturity and seasoning," Shuart said. "I think it's wrong. A mature citizen has a responsibility to show restraint and decorum." Shuart also said that though he is not Jewish, he has great sympathy for those who perished in the Holocaust. "I have an obligation to say when something is in poor taste," Shuart said.
"I think [the paper's] sense of good taste is off the page." Rabbi Meir Mitelman, faculty advisor to Hillel and the University's Jewish chaplain, said he was extremely upset that the ad ran in the paper. "[The Chronicle ] has no obligation to print all the ads it receives," Mitelman said. "I fervently hope that the students who are making editorial decisions at The Chronicle do some serious thinking about journalistic responsibility."
University Relations Vice President Michael DeLuise echoed the comments made by Mitelman. He added that it was not made clear enough that the insert was an ad that was not necessarily the opinion of the paper. "[The paper] didn't explain it was an ad," DeLuise said. "[The ad] was helping to ignite hate. I was very disappointed in [the paper's] action."
Journalism and Mass Media Studies Associate Professor Steven R. Knowlton said that if he were an editor at the paper, he would have run the ad as well. Knowlton, the author of several books on journalism ethics, said he feels that a college campus is the right place to have a discussion about the views of people like Smith. "I have no quarrel with The Chronicle deciding to accept this ad," Knowlton said. "I believe truth is better served engaging the Bradley Smith argument on a college campus where there is a history department full of professionals who can dispute his argument." Knowlton also said that he realized how offensive the ad may have been to the Jewish population on campus. "People like [Smith] are not going to go away," he said. "I don't quarrel with [Mitelman or Shuart], they have a good argument. However, eventually the weight of the argument goes the other way."
Acting Journalism and Mass Media Studies Department Chairperson Bob Greene disagreed with Knowlton. " I think [the paper] showed incredibly bad taste," Greene said. "This man paid to carry an anti-Semitic message in the newspaper, and [The Chronicle ] did it."
Associate Journalism professor Ellen Frisina, the faculty advisor to The Chronicle , said she supported the right of the paper to take advertisement from whomever it wants. "I understand it was a nearly unanimous decision of the Editorial Board to carry the insert, which shows forethought on their part," Frisina said. "Though I am personally repulsed by the context of the insert, I can support their decision to accept the advertisement."
Chronicle Editor-in-Chief Shawna VanNess said that the paper stands behind its decision. "Running Smith's ad is by no means endorsing his opinions," VanNess said. "We chose to accept Smith's ad not because we're in debt or in need of the money, but because we would be hypocritical in denying him a place to voice his opinion, when we ourselves fight so hard to ensure that our rights as a student newspaper are never infringed upon by the University or its administration."
Senior broadcast journalism major Dory Brown, a Hillel member, said he has no problem with the insert being put in the paper. "I think his views are wrong, but he is entitled to express his views," Brown said. Freshman international business major Flora Sousa, said she thought the ad would get people talking. "It will make students think and it is better to get conversation going then to be silent," Sousa said.
Senior marketing major Ariel Wolkowscki thought it was insensitive for The Chronicle to run the Smith ad. "I thought it was rude for the paper to run it," Wolkowscki said. "It was hateful, and the paper didn't really have to run it."
VanNess went on to say that it was the hope of The Chronicle Editorial Board that the advertisement would serve as a catalyst to start intellectual discussion and debate about free speech and Holocaust Revisionism on campus. "University officials can continue to condemn us, and they are entitled to their opinion," VanNess said. "Regardless of who thinks we are morally wrong, we as a paper know that our decision was right and necessary to protect the First Amendment and free speech."
The second paragraph of the story reports that a "University student" had indeed been caught removing The Revisionist from the Chronicle the night it was distributed. Hofstra Public Safety Director Ed Bracht is reported saying that the student was issued an "appearance summons" for his misdeed. There is no mention of the Hillel connection, but here we do find that students are willing to reveal what professors Greene and Frisina covered over, even though I asked them about it and what I asked about was a criminal act perpetrated against myself. Perhaps Professor Frisina should reevaluate her values, to paraphrase a dead German professor who sometimes expressed disdain regarding the dignity of his professorial colleagues.
University President James Shuart thinks the Chronicle was "insensitive" to run The Revisionist. To whom? He doesn't say. We are all supposed to know to whom. We've been told again and again whom we are supposed to be sensitive toward, no matter how insensitive that might be toward others. Who are these favored ones? President Shuart, not wanting to leave us in doubt of that about which there is no doubt, tells the Chronicle that while "he is not Jewish," he has great sympathy for those who perished in the Holocaust.
Part of the work revisionism does is to try to extend the great sympathy that university presidents feel for the innocent victims of the German State during World War II, to those innocent victims who perished at the hands of others during World War II. Revisionism asks, for example: if Auschwitz is emblematic of National Socialist state policies, is not Hamburg and Dresden, Nagasaki and Hiroshima and Tokyo emblematic of Democratic and Republican state policies? If not why not? After all, if the great crime of the National Socialists was the intentional killing of civilians (putting aside for the moment the question of which weapon was used), was it not a crime for Republicans and Democrats to intentionally kill civilians?
Here, perhaps, we have one clue as to why so many American university presidents, who are for the most part Republicans or Democrats, are eager to go along with the special interests who, at bottom, want to criminalize a free press and ostracize students who believe in one.
Rabbi Meir Mitelman, faculty advisor to Hillel, tells us that he thinks the paper's "sense of good taste is off the page." He's extremely upset. He says the Chronicle "has no obligation to print all the ads it receives." I agree. On the other hand, how many Hillel ads has the Chronicle refused to run? None? Less than none? Has any college newspaper, magazine, journal, newsletter or fish wrapper anywhere in America ever refused to run one Hillel ad over the last 100 years? The last thousand years? That's the difference, isn't it? Equal treatment always for Hillel, exceptional treatment always for those who don't see eye to eye with Hillel. This is what the Hillel rabbis argue (they don't believe it, they just argue it) is a level playing field. And then there is the incident with the Hillel vandal. I suppose the rabbi would like that incident to fall under the category of bad taste-not to do it, but to mention it.
University Relations Vice President Michael DeLuise "echoed the comments made by Mitelman." I would expect him to. DeLuise is caught in a pincers with his President holding one handle and the rabbi the other. He will either echo them in the job he has or he will have to find some other job in some very remote location where the echoing is easier or where guys like Smith are unlikely to show up to maneuver him into another unhappy squeeze play.
Now we come to a man's man. Journalism and Mass Media Studies Associate Professor Steven R. Knowlton. He says if he was editor of the Chronicle he would have done what VanNess did-run the ad. He makes Mitelman and DeLuise look like sissies. He's an author of books on journalism ethics. I'm going to buy them. Maybe he knows what he's talking about. He notes that at Hofstra there's a history department "full of professionals- who can dispute his [Smith's] argument." Remarkable! Exactly what I've saying for years. One of us, Knowlton or me, is wise beyond his years. Still, I'm uncertain about Knowlton at one place. Maybe I'm reading him wrong, but I think he thinks I'm making an historical argument. I'm not. I am publishing people who are making an historical argument, but I don't have one. I'm living in the moment. It doesn't matter what happened yesterday. No memory, no imagination. Intellectual freedom now!
Acting Chair Robert W. Greene disagrees with Knowlton, as we already know from his email communication above. He is quoted as saying: "I think [the paper] showed incredibly bad taste. This man paid to carry an anti-Semitic message in the newspaper, and [The Chronicle ] did it." Here's the old double whammy again. Green thinks it's anti-Semitic to express doubt about what he believes. It's axiomatic that it is also bad taste to doubt what he believes. I'm rather set back by what sensitive souls we have at Hofstra University. They are sacrificing everything to a horror of bad taste. And then there is the other thing, the journalism thing. If there were something in The Revisionist that is anti-Jewish, it would only be right for Greene to point it out to the benefit of his students. I don't like to repeat myself, but I told him something like that a couple weeks ago. And then there is the business with the Hillel student vandalizing my property. It looks like Acting Chair Greene still thinks it would be-well, bad taste-to mention that. Journalism professors and Hillel rabbis standing tall, arm in arm.
VanNess says it is the hope of The Chronicle Editorial Board that The Revisionist will "serve as a catalyst to start intellectual discussion and debate about free speech and Holocaust Revisionism on campus." That would seem to be what departments of journalism and mass media studies would be interested in as well. Are they? At Hofstra, it would not appear that they are. But then, it's still early. I have heard through the grapevine that VanNess is only a junior. This could be very bad news for the paragons of good taste who apparently have the run of the Hofstra campus.
Smith's Interview With University of North Carolina
March 30, 2000
Smith is contacted by Alex Kaplun of the University of North Carolina regarding the distribution of The Revisionist at Wake Forest University. Kaplun would like an interview. Smith consents to an email "interview" only.
Subject: Re: Daily Tar Heel Questions
As I told you my editor said they were somewhat opposed to the idea of an e-mail interview. However, if you are strongly opposed to doing a phone interview, I will accept your e-mail response. If you change your mind my number is XXX-XXX-XXXX or you can e-mail me back telling me to call you\.
Also, if you do chose to do a phone interview, I would be very willing to read back the statements that I quoted you on.
If not here are the questions:
1) What was the purpose of publishing "The Revisionist"? What is its central claim (in other words, what is the best way to describe what it is about in a sentence or 2)?
I am trying to find a way to convince professors that they should encourage intellectual freedom re the Holocaust rather than suppress it. They won't do it on their own, so I am going to the students.
2) Why run a very large and probably expensive advertisement in a student newspaper on the other side of the country?
One side of the country is just as important as the other side. I have run advertisements encouraging an open debate on the Holocaust at 300-plus universities and colleges from Washington to Florida.
3) What are you ultimately trying to accomplish with "The Revisionist"?
Encourage an open debate on the Holocaust question. It's that simple. Why should this be the only historical event of the twentieth century closed to open debate? At the same time, The Revisionist is only one arm of the project. There is the Website, the other advertisements, radio and so on.
4) Where did the data in "The Revisionist" come from, from what I understand it is very contradictory to usual historical data?
Those stories that deal with historical fact, are referenced. Those that are opinion, are opinion. The story on Jan Karski and his fraudulent testimony about Belzec, for example, is thoroughly referenced. It's an interesting story because he is one of the "eyewitnesses" paraded about by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, and appeared in a starring cameo in the film Shoah.
5) Why did you chose a college paper, and specifically Wake Forest University? Did it have any thing to do with the fact the religious makeup of the university?
No. And I'm unaware (forgive me) of the religious makeup of WFU. I send my stuff to a number of papers at one time and run where I am accepted. Where I am not accepted, I try again.
6) Has the advertisement run in any other college newspapers? Which ones? Have a lot of college papers turned down offers to run "The Revisionist"? Is this the first time you have run this advertisement, if not, then when(approximately) and where on previous occasions?
The Revisionist has run at Hofstra U, Boise State U, Wake Forest U, and will run at Valdosta State U on the 16th, as well as one other state university which I can not reveal at present. While I have run ads in hundreds of colleges etc., running a 28-page insert is a new project and it is just getting off the ground.
7) What kind of response did you expect and what kind of response have you received?
I thought the editorial staffs would be criticized for running The Revisionist, and that has happened. I thought perhaps the magazine would be criticized by faculty and special interest groups as being "anti-Semitic," while at the same time no specific text in the document would be specified. That is what happened. I thought it might be charged that the text had errors of fact in it but that no specific error of fact would be pointed out. That is what happened. In short, the argument against The Revisionist, and revisionists theory generally, is political in nature, and is forwarded by those who do not want to see an open debate on the Holocaust because they are afraid they have something to lose by an open debate.
8) A lot of people find "The Revisionist" to be extremely offensive. How do you respond to such accusations?
I always ask what, specifically, is offensive. Without knowing what the other person is referring to, I have no way to respond. I do understand that this is a controversial subject, yet oftentimes such expressions as "offensive" are simply used as tools to aid in the suppression of a viewpoint that the complainer does not want to see forwarded.
I would also be really appreciative if you sent me a fax of "The Revisionist." I trying getting it from other sources, but so far my attempts have been unsuccessful.
A 28 page fax?
I did send a copy to the editor of the Tarheel when I first sent it to Wake Forest U. It's probably gone now--but did you ask?
Also the story will run tomorrow, so I would really like your response as soon as possible.
Well, here it is.
What I can do is send you some background relating to TR as attachments.
One is the letter I included with my request to run the ad. The second is a letter I send to those editors who have run the ad and are hearing all kinds of things about me which they have no way to know is true or not. And one is a piece that ran in TR 1 treating with the mindset of the ADL on this issue.
That's three pieces. Let's see if you get them.--Bradley
Additional information about this document
|Author(s):||Bradley R. Smith , Christopher Kiggins , Robert W. Greene , Ellen T. Frisina , Alex Kaplun|
|Title:||The Academic Year 1999-2000. A Summary|
|First posted on CODOH:||July 30, 2000, 7 p.m.|