What They Talk About When They Talk About Hate
This document is part of a periodical (The Revisionist).
Use this menu to find more documents that are part of this periodical.
I've invented a kind of chess game in which those who are naturally disposed toward intolerance and closed minds have chosen to be my perennial opponents. Rather than rules to play by, there is a process during which each player makes up his or her own rules as the game progresses. No player has the authority, or the ability, to change the rules his opponent operates under, though it's possible for any player to influence the moves of any other player. Those aren't rules, that's just how the game is played.
The play begins with the start of each academic year and continues through to the following summer when each player decides for himself if the game is over, and if it is, who won and who lost. I like to play the game, my opponents don't, so each year it's up to me to make the first move. My goal, and all my subsequent play, is to find a way to create a context on college campuses in which the Holocaust controversy can be addressed through free inquiry and open debate, as are all other historical controversies.
I don't choose who will become my opponents in play; they choose that role for themselves. Campus Hillel is always anxious to enter the play, followed by professors of history, English, communications, and Jewish studies and, often as not, individual college chancellors and presidents who appear to see themselves as part of a union of administrative entrepreneurs joined together against intellectual freedom.
Off campus, the players representing censorship and an intolerance of the ideal of a free press are led by the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith (ADL)—or, as we who play the game say, the Jewish Defamation League—followed by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the American Jewish Committee, and various Christian and Christian-Jewish organizations. None of this could be so without the base support of the academic community, which, on this issue, has its own past to cover up.
I expect my ad campaign this year to address the "eyewitness" mess. Maybe something will come up at the last minute to change my mind. But if it is one ideal of the university to promote intellectual freedom, and one ideal of the professorial class to teach students to honor it, what should students make of those in Holocaust studies who promote eyewitness testimony that is demonstrably false, dishonorable, or both? I will go on then to consider the claims of Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel. It's going to be a real eye-opener for some students.
ADL literature informs us that the organization was founded to protest anti-Jewish bigotry in America, a worthwhile endeavor. When the ADL discovers my game of intellectual freedom being played out in campus newspapers, however, a worthwhile pursuit itself, ADL responds as a regressive political and cultural force driven by men and women who act out the roles of transparent Jewish chauvinists.
My challenge is to find a way to convince those who are influential and wealthy and have full access to a free press to allow those of us who are not influential and wealthy to have reasonable access to it—an old ideal of American culture. Yet everywhere I move I find ADL agents representing great influence and great wealth working behind the scenes and under the tables to convince student journalists that the ideal of a free press is not what the Founding Fathers were convinced it was, but rather that it would be best to print nothing that is not vetted first by the ADL or some other like-minded (or not) special-interest group.
The game I'm playing is not one where I demand that access to an open press be taken from those who have it now and given to those of us who have been denied it in the past. That's the deal the tyrant makes. My play is based on the understanding that the ideal of a free press is not divisible, that those who have access to it now should continue to have it, while those who have been denied access should now be allowed to share in it. If it's a free press, it's free for all. I'm not looking to exchange one tyranny for another.
The ADL, and those journalists and professors who follow the ADL line when it comes to the Holocaust controversy, play a very different game. They argue that intellectual freedom is divisible, that it must always exist for themselves but not quite always for those who disagree with them. For the ADL it simply follows that some should be allowed access to a free press and others denied it, depending on how each of us views any particular issue. When it comes to the growing controversy over the Holocaust, ADL argues that that is the place where a free press must become something less. ADL argues that when the Holocaust controversy is being addressed, that's the place where intellectual freedom must be diminished.
Because we still live in the remnants of a free society, however, so-called human rights organizations cannot do as they do in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria and other nations. They cannot call on the State to imprison those of us who do not follow the ADL line (which in some otherwise advanced societies has become the State line) on the Holocaust story. Unable to manipulate the U.S. government to censor revisionist theory—so far—and unwilling to participate in an open debate either, ADL has turned to an unparalleled record of smear, slander, and character assassination to destroy the reputations of those who choose to say they doubt what those in the ADL demand we believe.
ADL agents routinely smear me as a "racist," a "neo-Nazi," refer to me as "scum," an "anti-Semite," and an "apologist for Hitler," the last a particularly stupid charge to make by anyone who has read anything I have written. ADL claims that I "distort" and even "fabricate" history, and repeats the puerile charge that I am "assaulting truth and memory." In short, ADL has committed itself to using tactics Jews formerly suffered under in the old Central and Eastern European societies from which they fled to gain the benefits of our new, free society. These ADL-Jews call to mind those Christian preachers on television who rail against the sins of the flesh in public, but secretly employ prostitutes to get off.
In one document on his ADL Website, Abraham Foxman, maximum leader of the ADL, says with regard to one of my ads:
"The First Amendment is not an issue here. There is no moral or legal obligation to present [print] anti-Semitic, hateful propaganda. Rejecting these ads does not violate freedom of expression. They [the ads] deny the reality of the Holocaust and perpetuate blatant lies about the near-extinction of European Jewry.
Abraham then is willing to smear me in public as an antisemite, a hater and a liar, but he is unwilling to quote any statement in the text of my ad that is racist, antisemitic, or untrue. That's how smearmasters operate. Those who work for the ADL are specialists in slander on the one hand, and on the other of avoiding public scrutiny by avoiding public debate. How do ADL smearmasters get away with it? ADL has a yearly budget of 30 million dollars. It maintains thirty regional offices in this nation alone, employs more than 400 staff, and has numberless snitches around the country who "report" to it every word and act that deviates from the ADL line on the Holocaust controversy.
Abraham knows that no professional journalist and no academic will question the ADL's language of smear and slander when it is used against those who question what the ADL promotes about the Holocaust story. Abraham knows this because he knows that academics and journalists know that anyone who speaks out in favor of intellectual freedom with regard to the Holocaust controversy faces the certainty of being smeared and slandered himself. Every professor and reporter in America understands that once he is caught arguing for open access to the press for revisionists, he's a dead duck. He is going to have to get a job at McDonalds or at a car wash someplace because it is not likely that any newspaper or university will ever again employ him.
Though their profession encourages them to encourage it, academics routinely condemn my call for open debate on the Holocaust controversy. I understand how they feel. They're afraid that if they stand with the ideals of the university, with their own calling, they too will become targets of ADL slander and condemnation. I sympathize with the professors. Nobody likes to be slandered. That's what grown-ups are sometimes called upon to do, however. Sometimes they are called to stand up for what they profess to hold dear. This is what makes the odd professor here and there precious to his or her students.
Today, the question of when intellectual freedom should be permitted at an American university and when it should not is addressed by American professors much as German professors addressed it, as a class, in Nazi Germany. During the National Socialist regime the professors agreed to agree that Jews were a subversive racial minority who posed a threat to German cultural values and should not be allowed to argue publicly against the racial policies of the State. During the Hitlerian regime then, the professoriat agreed to agree that intellectual freedom is an ideal meant for some but not all.
Now that revisionists are arguing that the Holocaust controversy should be debated in the routine manner that all other historical controversies are debated, American professors respond that this must not happen, that there cannot be "another side" to the Holocaust story. Our own professors, then, without having to face the dangers with which their German peers were confronted half a century ago, have agreed to agree that revisionists represent a subversive intellectual minority attempting to subvert the (multi)-cultural values of the State, and that we should be banned from arguing revisionist theory in public. In short, the professorial class is what it is. It doesn't matter if a professor lectures under a Nazi administration or a Democratic one—he's going to argue that intellectual freedom is an ideal meant for those who are favored by the regime, but not for those who are not.
The accusation of hate is the trump card of Abraham and the ADL and the rest of those organizations, associations, and special interests which together make up the Holocaust Lobby. When I argue for a free press for revisionists, Abraham protests that that's hate. If I write that it can be demonstrated that eyewitnesses to gas chambers at Auschwitz (including Ada Bimko (Rosensaft), a founding member of the U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum), Abraham argues that I hate Jews. When I suggest that some Germans are innocent of the crimes for which they have been convicted, it's hate. If I ask what crimes against humanity the National Socialists committed during World War II that Democrats and Republicans did not commit, that's hate. Hate is the game Abraham and the ADL play. Hate is their trump card. All argument, every ideal that is not claimed as an ideal by the ADL, is reduced to hate. Hate is the one concept that appeals most to these people. Hate works for them They can live with hate. Hate is their cup of tea.
Abraham Foxman is certain that he understands what good is and what evil (hate) is. He knows who should be allowed to exercise intellectual freedom and who should not, which historical issues should be open to free inquiry and which should be closed to it. He knows which books should be read and which should be censored and burned. He knows who should be allowed to say what he thinks and who should be punished for it. In the old days Adolf understood why it was necessary to slander Jews, while today Abraham understands why it is necessary to slander those who question what ADL-Jews believe.
It's time for us to turn away from such narrow exclusivity and approach difficult cultural issues in a way that allows everyone to pitch in with her own two cents' worth. This is both the wonderful simplicity and breath-taking grandeur of the ideal of intellectual freedom. It isn't there for revisionists only; it's there for the ADL too. It doesn't recoil from being used by a Foxman, a Smith, or by anyone else. It's there for the professors who know everything about the Holocaust, and for the student who knows nothing about it but would like to feel she can ask a few honest questions without running the risk of being humiliated in front of the class.
Sometimes I am asked how I can expect to play to win on college campuses where the administration and faculty are united in their stand against free inquiry and open debate. The short answer is that anyone can play this game, and anyone who plays can play to win. Not everyone can win, of course, but everyone can play to win. That may be what was behind a cliché that was current when I was a kid, when in the atlases a quarter of all the land on earth was colored pink and was part of the British Empire. In those days you heard that the Empire was won on the playing fields of Eton, where the boys were taught it was not important who won or lost but how they played the game. In those days the Brits were still winning everything so they could afford to teach their kids that.
It may have been a cliché, but it was a good cliché. I think it was on the mark too, as many clichés are. It really is time the professors stop thinking about who's winning and who's losing and take a look at how they themselves are playing the game. Now is the time for the professors to stand up straight like grown men and women do who believe they are free and who, because they are free, have a little dignity where a little dignity is called for. It's time for journalists to do the same, and for those who plan on becoming journalists.
In the end, surely, none of us is going to win. If you can't win, if you understand that in the end you really cannot win, then how you play the game must be absolutely everything.
Additional information about this document
|Author(s):||Bradley R. Smith|
|Title:||What They Talk About When They Talk About Hate|
|Sources:||The Revisionist # 1, Nov. 1999, Codoh series|
|First posted on CODOH:||Oct. 30, 1999, 7 p.m.|