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#00 Outlaw History: Introduction

FREE SPEECH

Free speech is very much on the minds of young people today. Many who oppose the Bush Administration’s actions since 9/11 claim that there is now an oppressive “chill” on free speech in America. Is this “chill” something new? Or has an ill wind that’s been blowing for quite some time finally caught up with people who never expected to feel it?

Most people on our college campuses today grew up during the Clinton years. Clinton appealed to young people and reflected many of their values. These days, however, the same people who grew up feeling empowered during the Clinton years are now feeling like dissidents, as they protest post 9/11 U.S. policies of an administration that many see as hostile to civil liberties, and a news media dominated by conservative talk radio shows, and networks like Fox.

Suddenly, a lot of people who used to feel empowered are now feeling marginalized.

The problem is, many of those who are complaining the loudest right now about the “chill” on free speech are the very people who laid the groundwork for speech restrictions and muted public debate. This includes the college professors and administrators who, throughout the 1990s, championed campus “speech codes” that restricted the expression of views they deemed “insensitive.”

No subject has been more vilified on college campuses over the past decade than historical research that questions various aspects of Holocaust history. Throughout the 1990s, as dissident Holocaust historians (often called “revisionists”) were being prosecuted and imprisoned in Europe, Canada, and Australia, college campuses throughout the United States were practicing their own brand of censorship.

Revisionist speakers were banned from campuses. Regardless of the factual basis for their views, they were derided as insensitive “hate mongers.” Ads for revisionist books or videos were banned from school newspapers. If, occasionally, a revisionist ad or op ed was published in a campus paper, the resulting outcry from students and faculty alike brought waves of condemnation and apologies from administrators and newspaper staff.3

Many of the people who express outrage at the “silencing” of today’s war critics are the same people who championed the silencing of dissident Holocaust historians in the 1990s – just as many of those who are screaming the loudest about the evils of the Patriot Act are the same folks who supported the Clinton administration’s Omnibus Antiterrorism Bill of 1995.4

But just as you can’t understand the Patriot Act without understanding the way in which the Clinton Omnibus Antiterrorism Bill paved the way for it, you can’t really understand the post9/11 free speech “chill” without understanding the way in which the rationalizations for silencing dissent (especially on campus) were developed during the past decade in the campaign to silence revisionist historians.

Take this op ed from the Cornell University Daily Sun, November 22, 1991. The author, Doreen Lee, explains why there should be no free speech allowed for Holocaust revisionists: “Some issues are not meant to be challenged, provoked, or critically debated. True, political correctness can limit the First Amendment. Freedom of speech is a great and fundamental right, but it’s also a political construct that should be ultimately subject to the limits of humanity, sensitivity, and respect.”5

Sound familiar? Ms. Lee might as well be a Bush Administration official warning protesters not to “challenge, provoke, or critically debate” U.S. policy during times of war. After all, we must show “sensitivity” and “respect” to the victims of terrorism, and to people in the military and their families. Ms. Lee’s op ed is one of thousands of similar op eds and editorials that appeared in college (and off campus) newspapers throughout the ’90s, arguing that dissident Holocaust historians have no right to speak. Those who allowed this cancer of censorship to grow and flourish during the past decade should not be surprised to now find themselves the victims of it.

Those who protest the Bush administration’s “war on terrorism” policies want the right to freely voice their opinions without being censored or dismissed as “unpatriotic” or “pro terrorist.” However, to paraphrase the Beatles,

… in the end, the free speech you get will be equal to the free speech you give.

Once you start censoring and slandering others who are trying to have their say, you’ve created exactly the kind of “chilled” atmosphere that will, inevitably, end up affecting your right to speak as well.

As simple as this notion is, it’s amazing how many people just don’t seem to get it. Take Robert Berdahl, Chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley. Back in 1993, when Berdahl was President of the University of Texas at Austin, he led the charge to ban revisionist Holocaust views from campus. When the Daily Texan, the UT Austin campus newspaper, accepted an advertisement for a documentary film in which the Director of the Auschwitz State Museum in Poland admitted that the building displayed in the camp as a “gas chamber” is not genuine, Berdahl angrily argued in an op ed that revisionist Holocaust views are “patently unsuitable” for the paper.

Even though the ad said nothing about Jews or any other racial or religious group, and even though the ad’s author made it clear that he was not denying the Holocaust, Berdahl maintained that the ad had no place on campus because the university newspaper is “obligated to protect its readers” from anything that might be “a source of great pain and anguish,” or anything that “insults a community’s standards of decency.”6

Fast forward seven years, to the UC Berkeley class of 2000 Commencement ceremony. Berdahl (now Chancellor of Berkeley) became furious when a group of students angrily protested the convocation address given by Berkeley senior Fadia Rafeedia, a Palestinian who, at that time, was an editor for a web site called the Free Arab Voice, a site that not only claims that the Holocaust is a “Jewish lie” but also advocates the outright murder of Jews. Berdahl denounced the protesters, calling Ms. Rafeedie “insightful,” and claiming that “her strong will and strong opinions make her . . . the essence, the spirit, and the promise of this institution.”7

Even more recently, in March 2003, Berdahl, appearing on a Berkeley radio show, decried those who would silence campus antiwar protesters, worrying that “a climate of fear” might create “a lack of dissent.”8

What Chancellor Berdahl doesn’t’t seem able or willing to acknowledge is that he bears some responsibility for creating the very climate he is now denouncing. In advocating the banning of dissident Holocaust history, he made it clear that, in his view, universities are obligated to “protect” students from unpleasant or offensive views. Why should it now surprise him when students who find other things offensive – like the Free Arab Voice Web site – use the same rationalizations to try and ban what they find to be “a source of great pain and anguish”?

In 1993, when Chancellor Berdahl argued in favor of banning revisionist Holocaust history from the campus paper, at least one local commentator saw the potential ramifications of his views. Dallas Morning News columnist Joe Patrick Bean predicted that Berdahl’s actions “may have set a potentially harmful precedent that will limit discussion of legitimate but highly controversial or sensitive views.”9

In fact, a plan that would indeed “limit discussion of highly controversial or sensitive views” in the name of keeping the American public safe from dissident World War II and Holocaust history had already been cooked up only five years earlier at one of America’s most prestigious universities.

In April 1988, Hofstra University in New York sponsored a three day conference, at which dozens of the most prestigious and respected legal minds from the worlds of academia, government, and the justice system gathered with one goal – to find a way to copy the laws by which Canada and Europe have criminalized Holocaust and World War II history. A nationwide contest was held, in which law students were asked to draft a model law that would limit the free speech of Americans in a way that might not be ruled unconstitutional.10

As outlined by conference director Monroe H. Freedman, Professor of Legal Ethics at Hofstra, and Executive Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council (which oversees the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC), the winning law would have to be “a statute that would permit prior restraint by public officials.” First prize would go to the law that was “as broad as constitutionally permissible, or, at least, arguably permissible.”11

The speakers at the closed door conference made no attempt to hide their hostility to free speech. A professor from the University of Western Ontario expressed displeasure with “the absolutist approach that characterizes American thinking about freedom of speech.” The solution, he said, was to abandon “abstract notions of individualism.”12 A professor from the University of Baltimore argued that the U.S. needs to restrict certain “fervently held beliefs and political thoughts, none of which,” he added, “the First Amendment was ever intended to protect.”13

At the end of the conference, the participants chose what they considered to be the best anti–free speech law, and two runner sup, from among the hundreds of entries submitted by law students from across the country. The judges who chose the winners included Abner Mikva, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia, and Amalya Kearse, of the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The conference attendees agreed that the law would have to be kept under wraps until a time when the Supreme Court consists of a majority of justices who are sympathetic to its aims.14 The conference concluded with a mock trial in which a Holocaust revisionist was convicted and sentenced to prison under the proposed law.15

So what does the Hofstra Law say? The Hofstra Law would criminalize “any oral, written, or symbolic speech” that “debases, degrades, or calls into question the loyalties, abilities, or integrity of members of an aggregation of people identified by a common race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, or sexual preference.” The law also states that “An agency shall be established that will review all films and movies,” as well as all published or broadcast speech. Anyone who publishes or broadcasts any type of material before it has been submitted to, and reviewed by, this agency, “shall have committed a misdemeanor.”

While this law might sound tantalizing to those who crusade against “hate speech” and other forms of bigotry, the devil, as they say, is in the details. In order for this law to pass muster with the Supreme Court, the law states that “all speech that defames a group will be equally restricted, regardless of the group that is being defamed.” In other words, this law does not just protect minorities or groups with a history of being oppressed. Under the definitions established by this law, “Americans” count as a protected group, as do “white people.” Recently, the man who authored the runner up Hofstra Law admitted in an interview that under the provisions of his law, a group like the Ku Klux Klan could successfully take legal action against author and filmmaker Michael Moore for comments he made in his book, Stupid White Men!16

The Hofstra Law was endorsed by some of America’s most respected legal minds, who expressed their desire to one day see it enacted into law. The participants in the Hofstra conference celebrated their proposed law’s ability to criminalize dissident Holocaust and World War II history, and this is most likely how the law would be sold to the public.17 But the truth is, the Hofstra Law would outlaw a whole lot more than dissident history. By its very wording, it would leave no controversial point of view safe from prosecution.

Indeed, the threat posed by the Hofstra Law illustrates the truth of the notion that it’s either free speech for all, or free speech for none.

THE VALUE OF DISSIDENT HISTORY

Of course, it’s possible to agree that revisionist Holocaust and World War II historians should not be censored or imprisoned, while still dismissing their views as irrelevant or unimportant. After all, why should anyone care what revisionist historians have to say about an event that took place over a half century ago? The answer to that question probably helps to explain why so many people want to suppress or outlaw this kind of research.

World War II and the Holocaust have taken on an iconic status that people of all political creeds and ideologies exploit for their own benefit. The repressive laws against Holocaust and World War II research target historians whose work challenges the myths and misconceptions surrounding these events, myths that have the ability, even today, to influence political events. The war in Iraq is a case in point. Both the pro war right and the antiwar left exploit these myths in order to justify their positions.

Both sides in the Iraq war debate make use of the perception that World War II was a “necessary” and “good” war, in which the Allies acted ethically and with a supreme concern for human life, a war in which our government didn’t lie or manipulate public opinion in order to create popular support for the war, a war in which there was clear evidence of crimes against humanity being committed by our enemies, and a war that concluded with evenhanded and compassionate justice meted out to our vanquished foes.

The pro war right uses these myths in order to lull the public into thinking that there can actually be such a thing as a good, clean, “painless” war. “Iraq will be a ‘good’ war, like WWII. There will be no unnecessary deaths, no phony war propaganda. After the war we’ll easily create a democracy in Iraq, just as we did in Germany, using kindness and positive reinforcement. And you can trust our President’s reasons for going to war. Our government would never knowingly use false information to entice Americans into supporting a war.” Many Americans backed the war in Iraq because they believed that there was historical precedent for the right’s fanciful vision of how the Iraq war would be fought and won.

The antiwar left also uses the mythical model of World War II in order to create a phony standard of what constitutes a “good” war. A “good” war, like WWII, is one in which no enemy civilians are intentionally targeted or needlessly killed, no phony propaganda is used to justify the war, and vanquished foes are treated in a fair and decent manner. During the Afghan war, once Afghani civilians started dying in U.S. air raids, the left declared that it was no longer a “good” war – like WWII.

Many Americans have protested the treatment of captured Taliban and Al Qaeda prisoners on the grounds that these prisoners deserved a fair and constitutionally sound hearing, “just like at Nuremberg.” Since no real war can ever measure up to the phony standard of a “good war” generated by the mythical version of World War II, the left can conveniently oppose any and all military operations on the grounds that they are not “good wars” like World War II was.

Over the years, dissident historians have accumulated an impressive array of facts that challenge the myths of World War II. Documents and testimonies have been found that show that the Allies purposely targeted German civilians during air attacks,18 that the Allies were ready and willing to use poison gas against Germany and Japan,19 that England and France were as responsible as Germany for the initiation of the war,20 that the postwar period between the end of hostilities in Europe in 1945 and the initiation of the progressive Marshall Plan in 1947 was marked by the organized murder, rape, and starvation of German civilians,21 and that the postwar trials of captured Germans were tainted by phony evidence and the systematic torture of the defendants.22

In a bid to silence war dissenters, President Roosevelt imprisoned American antiwar authors and activists23 (ironically, many of the books written by these imprisoned authors in the 1940s are now banned again under the current laws that criminalize World War II and Holocaust history24). In England, Prime Minister Churchill had antiwar authors, activists, and even members of Parliament imprisoned in a concentration camp on a British island.25

There are volumes of evidence suggesting that the Allies engaged in a massive disinformation campaign after the war in order to convince the public that the war, and its mind numbing body count of 50,000,000 people, had been necessary and worthwhile. After all, the initial reason for the war – to keep Poland free – was no longer usable after Roosevelt “gave” Poland to Stalin at the close of the war. Therefore, finding and publicizing evidence of Nazi crimes against humanity became necessary in order to create a new justification for the war (ironically, most mainstream historians now believe that Hitler came up with the idea of murdering the Jews sometime in the summer or autumn of 1941, two years after the war began, making World War II a war with an ex post facto reason for being26).

There is no doubt that the Nazis committed many inexcusable crimes during the war, but the question facing modern historians is this: did the Allies, in their postwar haste to find evidence of Nazi “crimes against humanity,” take major liberties with the truth? Even the most respected figures in Holocaust history have admitted the vast extent of the postwar disinformation campaign conducted by the Allied governments. The Director of the Auschwitz State Museum admitted in a 1992 documentary that the building displayed at the camp as a “gas chamber” is actually a postwar fabrication created by the Soviets and Poles.27 Similar admissions have been made about the gas chamber on display at Dachau, which was apparently created by the U.S. Army after the war for propaganda purposes.28 The Dachau Museum in Munich admits that the claims made by the U.S. Army about people being gassed at Dachau were unfounded.29

Officials of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, admit that the Soviet Union went to great extremes in order create false war crimes evidence, even to the extent of staging phony footage of “Nazis” gassing children. According to the Director of the Department of Film and Video at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, Soviet soldiers wearing German uniforms posed as Nazis, and pretended to gas children while the cameras rolled. This phony “gassing” film was created for use against the Germans at the Nuremberg Trial.30

Raul Hilberg, perhaps the most respected Holocaust author in the world, admitted that the Nazi commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp had been tortured by the British into signing a confession that was totally false.31 Yehuda Bauer, Chair of Holocaust Studies at Hebrew University, disclosed in 1989 that, after the war, Polish Communists and nationalists, “for political purposes,” grossly inflated the number of dead at Auschwitz, yet “sheer repetition led many Jews to accept the numbers. It’s the historian’s task to examine myths,” Bauer said, “and, if necessary, explode them.”32

Konrad Heiden, a refugee from Nazi Germany and perhaps the most important anti Nazi author of the war years, published a detailed article in Life magazine immediately after the war, providing step-by-step details of how the Nuremberg defendants were being tortured by the Allies into confessing, and contrasting the Soviet methods of torture (psychological) with the U.S. methods (physical brutality).33

The Campaign to Decriminalize World War II History has collected over 100 quotes from the world’s most respected mainstream Holocaust historians attesting to just how little is actually known about the central features of the Holocaust (the gas chambers, the number of Jews killed, and the existence of a genocide plan).34

In fact, it wasn’t until 1989 that anyone even attempted to scientifically prove the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz – in a book titled Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers, published by the world renowned Holocaust education organization, the Klarsfeld Foundation. Before publication, the book was hailed in the New York Times as a major breakthrough in Holocaust history.35 Unfortunately, the book’s author, Jean Claude Pressac, concluded that there is “an absence of any ‘direct,’ i.e. palpable, indisputable, and evident proof of homicidal gas chambers” at Auschwitz.36 The book was immediately withdrawn from circulation.

In light of the paucity of reliable evidence for certain aspects of Holocaust history, some of our nation’s leading Holocaust institutions have turned to using less-than-credible evidence. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum displays a cast of the door to a “gas chamber” from the Majdanek camp in Poland. The problem is, Jean Claude Pressac (see above) wrote in his book that this room at Majdanek was simply a chamber for delousing clothes.37

Furthermore, Dr. Michael Shermer, who has penned several books aimed at countering the claims of revisionist Holocaust historians, has said that he agrees with revisionists that this room was not a gas chamber used for killing people.38 Amazingly, when Shermer questioned Michael Berenbaum, Director of the Holocaust Memorial Museum,39 about the authenticity of the Majdanek “gas chamber” door, Berenbaum replied that he had never actually examined the door, even though it’s a central exhibit in his own museum!40 (According to Shermer, both Berenbaum and world renowned Holocaust scholar Raul Hilberg are “remarkably ignorant” of the “anomalous data” that might prove revisionists right.41)

The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles offers its visitors “documentary footage” of the Nazis gassing children in a “gas van” that the Nazis had deceitfully disguised as an ambulance. In reality, this footage is actually a scene from a 1962 Polish black-and-white fictional film, The Ambulance, directed by Janusz Morgenstern. The Wiesenthal Center has removed the opening and closing credits from the movie, exhibiting the altered film as authentic “documentary” footage.42

And in 1993, in honor of the opening of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the U.S. National Archives reedited a piece of 1945 U.S. Army Signal Corps footage of a Paris rifle range, removing the soundtrack and changing the description in the National Archives catalog from “Parisian firing range” to “Nazi gas chamber.” This altered footage is prominently featured in a guide to National Archives “Holocaust footage” that is sold in the Holocaust Museum gift shop.43

(A warning to the reader: being in possession of the information contained in the preceding nine paragraphs could well get you arrested or expelled from most European countries and Canada – so be careful where you take this information!)

The laws that criminalize Holocaust and World War II history have the net effect of providing legal cover for the myths that are exploited by people of all political persuasions and ideologies during times of war and national crisis. By suppressing research that questions these myths, we deprive ourselves of the information we need in order to ask our leaders, and ourselves, the kinds of hard questions that are particularly relevant right now:

Can there be such a thing as a “good” war? Can a “preemptive” war ever be necessary? If it was right to declare war against one brutal dictator (Hitler) before he committed the crimes that would later be used as the very reason for that war, is it right to preemptively strike other brutal dictators before they become greater menaces?

Can a war, and can a postwar occupation, be conducted successfully without resorting to brutality? Is brutality ever warranted? If it was justifiable to torture captured Nazis after the war in order to obtain evidence of Nazi war crimes, is it okay to use torture to gain information from captured Al Qaeda fighters? If it was acceptable to try Nazis in front of military tribunals in which they had limited rights of defense, and in which false evidence was used to convict, is it okay to do the same to Muslim extremists – who have, after all, murdered more U.S. civilians than the Nazis did?

Is it ever permissible for our government to use deception in order popularize a war? If it turns out that some of the war crimes accusations made against the Nazis were unfounded, should we correct the historical record? Or is it better to keep quiet, lest we risk making the Nazis appear less evil to future generations? And if it’s okay to continue using falsehoods against the Nazis, is it okay to use falsehoods against Al Qaeda, or Saddam Hussein?

Those who advocate an open and unrestrained debate over our government’s case for going to war in Iraq say that allowing such a debate strengthens our democracy. If that’s true, then why shouldn’t we allow an equally open and unrestrained debate over our government’s case for going to war against Germany and Japan?

Finally, if it’s okay to suppress “revisionist” Holocaust views because some people claim that they are insensitive to Holocaust survivors, should it be okay to suppress views critical of the war on terrorism, because they’re insensitive to the victims of terrorism and their families?

These questions may not have easy “yes” or “no” answers, but it is simply wrong to criminalize and suppress the historical research that prompts us to face these necessary questions. We don’t have to agree with dissident World War II and Holocaust researchers in order to recognize the value and relevance of the questions their research raises. When we deprive them of the ability do their work, we are depriving ourselves of something valuable, as well.

And we should not just be asking ourselves these “hard questions.” Laws that criminalize Holocaust and World War II history have turned many of our European “allies” into hypocrites.

In Germany, it is legal for Germans and foreign nationals to belong to Al Qaeda and publicly talk about murdering Americans and Jews, but German citizens and foreign nationals who violate the German laws that criminalize Holocaust and World War II history are immediately charged and prosecuted.44

In France, books claiming that 9/11 was a hoax perpetrated by the U.S. and Israel have become bestsellers carried by almost every major French bookstore.45 At the same time, however, authors who write critically about World War II or Holocaust history are thrown in prison or fined (France has Europe’s most severe anti revisionist law, prohibiting people from questioning the version of World War II history that was laid out immediately after the war by the Allies at the Nuremberg Trial in 1946).

The French government has no problem with wild conspiracy theories about 9/11, or the American war on terrorism, but it won’t allow its own citizens to critically examine the history of France’s last war – a war through which, it should be noted, France acquired quite a lot of territory. The French have condemned Israel for, among other things, acquiring territory through war, but there are no laws in Israel prohibiting the critical examination of Israel’s past wars.46 Why won’t the French government allow its citizens the same right?

In 2002, when the U.S. decided to conduct tighter screening procedures for foreign visitors from countries that sponsor terrorism, the Canadian government reacted in horror to this “human rights violation,” even going so far as instructing its residents of Middle Eastern descent not to visit the U.S. Yet the Canadian government supplies its own customs agency with a veritable laundry list of World War II and Holocaust history books that are illegal in Canada. These books cannot be imported into Canada or possessed by Canadians. The Canadian government thinks that the U.S. should not screen visitors from “high risk” nations who seek to enter our country, yet the Canadians rigorously screen every book that is brought into their country.47

Why is the Canadian government afraid to allow its citizens to read dissident views of World War II and the Holocaust? The criminalization of Holocaust and World War II history is taken to such extremes in Canada that, in 1997, a well known columnist for one of Vancouver’s largest newspapers was prosecuted for writing a negative review of the movie Schindler’s List!48 According to the logic of the Canadian government, it is a “human rights violation” for the U.S. to require foreign visitors from high risk nations traveling on guest visas to report changes of address during their stay, but it’s not a human rights violation to prosecute a man for writing a movie review!

OPEN DEBATE

Even though there are not yet any laws in the United States that criminalize Holocaust and World War II research, that doesn’t mean that there is a free and open exchange of ideas regarding these subjects. There are plenty of ways to suppress free speech in a free country. Apart from the banning of dissident Holocaust views on college campuses (discussed earlier), there is also that most reliable method of stifling free speech – outright intimidation and threats of violence.

Irv Rubin ran a Los Angeles–based organization called the Jewish Defense League (JDL), a militant, paramilitary style activist group. If Mr. Rubin’s name sounds familiar, it’s because in December 2001, three months after 9/11, Rubin and his JDL second in command, Earl Krugel, made headlines when they were arrested by the FBI for plotting to blow up Muslim and Arab targets in L.A. The targets included a West L.A. mosque, and the offices of Lebanese American congressman Darrel Issa. The day of destruction was apparently planned for December 13, 2001, but fortunately the FBI was able to intercept the plot before the bombs could be planted.49 Had Rubin’s plan been carried out, hundreds, possibly thousands, of innocent people would have been killed. Rubin committed suicide on November 4, 2002, while in prison awaiting trial. Soon afterwards, Krugel pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and hate crime charges.

What no one in the press or in law enforcement seemed eager to discuss in the wake of Rubin’s arrest was that, for the past twenty years, Rubin and the JDL had routinely terrorized dissident Holocaust and World War II scholars and researchers, and the authorities did nothing about it. In May 1982, the JDL firebombed the Los Angeles home of history teacher Dr. George Ashley.50 In December of that year, Dr. Ashley’s home was ransacked, and a note left behind by the JDL warned Ashley to stop espousing revisionist Holocaust views.51 Finally, in May 1985, Dr. Ashley’s home was firebombed and burned to the ground.52

In 1982 and 1983, the JDL physically assaulted Cal State Long Beach professor Reinhard Buchner, who served on the editorial board of a publishing house that published revisionist books.53 In September 1982, the offices of that publishing house were riddled with bullets and burned by an arson device.54 On July 4, 1984, that same publishing house was completely burned to the ground by the JDL, causing over $400,000 in damage and destroying over 10,000 books.55

In June 1985 the JDL firebombed the offices of a Santa Monica, CA, German American organization that had published revisionist Holocaust views in its newsletter.56 And in April 1985, the JDL trashed the car of University of Tulsa professor Charles Weber because of his Holocaust research. A note left on Dr. Weber’s windshield brazenly identified the attack as the work of the JDL, and threatened Dr. Weber with further violence should he continue writing about the Holocaust.57

In February 1989, the JDL threatened the Red Lion hotel chain with violence unless it cancelled a conference of Holocaust and World War II revisionists that was scheduled to take place at one of the chain’s Orange County, CA, locations. Red Lion cancelled the event, which was moved to a nearby Holiday Inn. When the Holiday Inn received similar threats from the JDL, it, too, cancelled the event.58

The JDL’s attacks on dissident Holocaust researchers reached its peak in 1994, when Irv Rubin, now making use of the information superhighway, posted a notice in the Internet calling for the murder of documentary filmmaker and Holocaust researcher David Cole, who had produced the film in which the Director of the Auschwitz State Museum in Poland admitted that the “gas chamber” there was a postwar fake. Rubin had previously assaulted Cole (who, it should be noted, is a Jew) in 1991, when Cole was invited to speak at UCLA, beating Cole on stage, in front of hundreds of people, and as cameras for the CBS news program 48 Hours were rolling.59 The notice that Rubin circulated on the Internet in 1994 was titled Who Is David Cole and Why Must He Die? It referred to Cole as a “Jewish traitor” who had to be “taken out,” and it featured a photo of Cole.60

In November 1994, three months after Rubin’s “death warrant” for Cole was put on the Internet, Cole was beaten by unknown assailants in his Culver City, CA, neighborhood.61 Several months before that attack, Rubin and Earl Krugel – Rubin’s coconspirator in the thwarted 2001 bombings – were interviewed by a freelance journalist in L.A. During the videotaped interview, Krugel unambiguously expressed his desire to see Cole dead.62 After 1994, Cole went into hiding, prompting Rubin to offer a “large monetary reward” to anyone who could divulge Cole’s location, adding that he was now ready to take “immediate action” to “eliminate” Cole.63

In December 1997, Irv Rubin and David Cole reached an agreement, in which Cole publicly recanted his Holocaust views, and Rubin removed the death warrant and the “reward” from the JDL web site. After receiving Cole’s recantation, Rubin bragged on his web site that this is “evidence of the power of the Jewish Defense League.”64 Cole has not spoken a word publicly since then.

At no time during this twenty year history of threats and attacks against revisionist researchers and historians did the local police, the FBI, or the press express any real interest in the JDL’s terrorist activities. As long as the targets of Mr. Rubin’s wrath were dissident historians and filmmakers, no one seemed to care. It was only when Rubin tried to mount an attack against other targets that the authorities started paying attention.

Fortunately, the FBI was able to prevent a massacre in 2001, but it’s not unreasonable to suggest that if the JDL’s earlier attacks against dissident historians had been taken seriously, if people had cared that these beatings, bombings, and threats were taking place, Rubin might not have been in a position to mount the December 2001 attacks, and hundreds of innocent Arab and Muslim Americans wouldn’t have come so close to meeting a violent death.

Of course, it doesn’t always take something as extreme as a firebomb or a death warrant to intimidate people. Across the U.S., dozens of teachers, at the grade school, high school, and college level, have been fired, suspended, or reprimanded for voicing alternative viewpoints regarding the Holocaust and World War II.65 Dissident historians have been unable to find publishers for their books, or have been unceremoniously dropped by their publishers.66 Even without formal laws criminalizing Holocaust and World War II history, the private sector has, in its own way, been able to stifle free speech through job reprisals. Reprisals such as these can be just as effective as state sponsored censorship.

A case in point: In Japan, as in the U.S., there are not as of yet any laws that criminalize Holocaust and World War II history. In 1995, the Japanese magazine Marco Polo (a Vanity Fair–type mixture of pop culture and politics) published an article by a Tokyo neurosurgeon detailing his trip to Auschwitz, and the questions he came away with concerning the accuracy of some of the exhibits. Immediately, there was an international outcry, and Marco Polo’s publisher, Japan’s powerful Bungei Shunju publishing house, responded by completely dissolving the magazine and firing its entire staff, from the editors right down to the receptionists.67 This sent a message that was just as powerful as any governmental law. In the nine years since the Marco Polo incident, no other Japanese publication has dared to revisit the subject.

The fear of losing one’s job can be just as strong as the fear of going to jail, or the fear of violence.

And there are other ways of stifling open debate in a free country. If the mass media decide not to play fair, and if journalists abandon all basic standards of journalistic ethics, the public can be kept in the dark about a controversial issue just as surely as if there were laws prohibiting discussion of that subject.

Of course, media bias can be a difficult thing to prove. Advocates for every political and ideological cause claim that some segment of the media is biased against them, and it’s the standard response of every media outlet, from CNN to Fox, to deny that their coverage is slanted or biased.

As difficult as it may be to pin down exactly what constitutes bias, most in the media would certainly agree that it is unethical for a reporter to invent a quote and falsely attribute it to an interview subject.

Understanding that, let’s revisit the case of Jewish documentary filmmaker and Holocaust researcher David Cole (mentioned above). Mr. Cole’s experiences with the media provide an excellent example of the manner in which dissident Holocaust and World War II researchers are treated by the press. Whenever he was interviewed, Cole always went to great lengths to say that he did not deny the Holocaust. Let’s take a look at a few examples of the media’s accuracy when reporting about Cole:

In March 1993, when the Daily Texan, the University of Texas at Austin campus newspaper, decided to ban an advertisement for one of David Cole’s documentaries (this is the incident mentioned earlier in which UT Austin Chancellor Robert Berdahl argued in favor of the banning), Cole wrote an op ed in defense of his film, which the Daily Texan printed. This caused a major controversy that was covered by the Associated Press (the world’s largest news organization). The March 9 AP dispatch, written by AP Southwest Bureau writer Pauline Arrillaga, quoted Cole’s oped as stating that “The Holocaust was a hoax, fabricated to drum up support for Jewish causes.”68

The problem was, that quote didn’t appear in Cole’s oped (or in anything else Cole had ever written), and the sentiments expressed in the phony quote were actually the complete opposite of Cole’s position, that it was primarily the Allied governments, not Jewish organizations, that exaggerated war crimes evidence for military and political reasons. As Cole pointed out, if the Allies had cared about “Jewish causes,” they would have expressed more concern about the plight of the Jews during the war.

Cole sent a letter to Ms. Arrillaga asking about the origin of the phony quote. Ms. Arrillaga replied with this response: “Yes, the ‘hoax’ line did not actually appear in your oped [emphasis ours]. We mistakenly attributed it to you due to faulty background information.”69 Ms. Arrillaga, who did not explain what she meant by “faulty background information,” went on to say that if Cole wanted the false quote corrected, it would be up to him to contact each one of the hundreds of newspapers that carried the AP story!

When Cole was interviewed for the Jerusalem Report, Israel’s leading English language newsmagazine, Cole made certain that the interview was audio taped, to ensure accuracy. When the interview was published in October 1993, Cole was quoted as saying that the Holocaust was a “fantasy.”70 Once again, this was the exact opposite of Cole’s position. Cole contacted Sheldon Teitelbaum, the Jerusalem Report senior reporter who had interviewed him, and demanded to know where the “fantasy” quote came from, as Cole had never said it, and it was not on the audiotape of the interview.

Mr. Teitelbaum was brazen enough to send Cole a faxed response with the following admission:

The word “fantasy,” I suspect, may have been chosen by a copy editor who interpreted reality in this fashion. The quotation marks were not intended to signify a quote from you [emphasis ours]. This offending phrase works as a transgression against Strunk & White, who warn against using quotation marks to signify sardonic word usage.71

In other words, this quote did not represent something that Cole had actually said, but instead represented a copy editor’s “interpretation of reality.” This copy editor used the phony quote in a “sardonic” (defined by Webster’s as “a disdainfully or derisively mocking”) way against Cole. When Cole asked the editors of the Jerusalem Report to print a clarification to let their readers know that he never said that the Holocaust was a “fantasy,” they refused. Reporter Teitelbaum cynically told Cole that the editors don’t have to worry about libel or slander laws because “they are not in U.S. jurisdiction anyway.”72

In July 1994, Cole was interviewed by Dr. Michael Shermer, a leading critic of Holocaust revisionism. Shermer has penned several books attacking revisionists, including Denying History and Why People Believe Weird Things. Shermer’s interview with Cole was part of an article about revisionism that appeared in Shermer’s magazine Skeptic,73 and later, in expanded form, in Why People Believe Weird Things. In the article, Shermer included Cole’s name in a list of revisionist “racists,” right alongside the names of neo Nazis and skinheads. Shermer provided no evidence to back up this very serious charge, and when Cole, who strenuously denied that he was in any way racist, asked Shermer to issue a retraction, Shermer flat out refused.

However, in February 1995, Shermer was interviewed by Daniel Berman, a graduate student researching Holocaust revisionism. The interview was not intended for public distribution, but Shermer allowed it to be recorded. The following has been transcribed directly from the tape of the interview:74

BERMAN: “Well, David Cole is not racist, is he?”

SHERMER: “No. And I didn’t say that about David. He’s not the least bit racist….”

BERMAN: “But in your article you listed a bunch of….”

SHERMER: “Yeah, I’d already listed a bunch of racists, a bunch of them together, and I threw Cole into that bunch because I was listing everybody I had interviewed, and that was probably the biggest, uh, misleading, the most misleading thing I said in my article. I should have left Cole out of that.”

Dr. Shermer admitted that he “misled” his readers regarding Cole being a racist. Nevertheless, to this day, he refuses to print a retraction in his magazine.

Shermer also made a few candid admissions about Cole’s work:

SHERMER: “Maybe Cole’s right. I think the whole gas chamber story is probably, in terms of physical evidence, the weakest link in the whole story. To me, it doesn’t matter whether the gas chamber story is completely true or not. Maybe it could be modified, for all I know.”

In January 1994, Cole was asked by veteran CBS newsman Mike Wallace to be interviewed for 60 Minutes. Cole refused, citing concerns about how his comments might be reedited in post production to change their meaning. 60 Minutes went ahead and profiled Cole anyway. For footage of Cole, 60 Minutes relied on using clips from other talk shows he had done, including a clip from Cole’s 1992 appearance on The Montel Williams Show. In the clip of The Montel Williams Show that was used in the 60 Minutes profile of Cole, Montel looks at the camera and asks if the Holocaust is “a myth.” The camera then immediately cuts to Cole nodding in agreement. To the millions of 60 Minutes viewers, it clearly looked as though Cole nodded in agreement after Montel asked if the Holocaust was a myth. The clip had been altered.

The April 1992 episode of The Montel Williams Show in which Cole appeared, and the March 1994 episode of 60 Minutes in which Cole was profiled, are both available from Burrelle’s Transcripts. A comparison of the two tapes shows that the producers of 60 Minutes took a “nod” that David Cole gave at the very beginning of the show, as Montel was reading a list of his credits, and reedited the nod so that it followed Montel’s question about the Holocaust being a “myth.”

Using a real time counter, the “nod” appears at exactly 0:00:56 (fifty six seconds) into the show. Nearly eleven minutes later, at 0:11:36 into the show, Montel looks at the camera and asks if the Holocaust is a myth “or is it truth? We’ll find out when we come back.” The camera then pans the audience as the show breaks for a commercial; Cole is not shown nodding or doing anything else. When the show returns from the break, Montel starts taking questions from the studio audience; the “myth” question is not put to Cole, or to anyone else on the panel.

The producers of 60 Minutes took Cole’s “nod” from the beginning of the show and placed it after Montel’s “myth” question, which was truncated to remove the rest of the sentence, in which Montel throws to commercial break. To 60 Minutes viewers, it appeared as though Montel asked the “myth” question to Cole, who then nodded in agreement. A total fabrication, courtesy of America’s number one prime time news program.

In six years of public appearances and lectures, David Cole, a self described political liberal, never once denied the Holocaust or the mass killing of Jews, but that didn’t stop major media outlets from inventing quotes and fabricating footage in order to completely misrepresent his views. And these are not isolated incidents. Most revisionists have similar stories to tell.

The problem of media bias regarding dissident Holocaust and World War II historians has become even harder to deny in the past few years. The New York Times has, since 2000, sponsored yearly seminars at the Times building in New York City with the express purpose of convincing journalists and journalism students to censor revisionist Holocaust and World War II views.75 At the February 2003 seminar, New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. argued against allowing any “intellectual exchange” with revisionist Holocaust historians, and Emory University journalism professor (and former NYT reporter) Catherine Manegold said that bias in this area is not only acceptable but desirable.76

Sometimes it can be difficult to prove media bias. Sometimes it can be surprisingly easy.

Recently, The Campaign to Decriminalize Holocaust History tracked down David Cole, who has refused to make any public comment since 1997, when Irv Rubin removed the “death warrant” from Cole’s head. With Rubin dead, Cole felt comfortable enough to provide us with a statement about the net effects of violence, intimidation, and media bias on Holocaust history:

“When Rubin put the “hit” on me, I realized I had to get out. In the end, regardless of my love of history, I didn’t want to die. It was just that simple. And that’s what happens when violence and intimidation, or the threat of prosecution, like in Europe and Canada, are introduced into a debate. Anyone who has anything to lose shuts the hell up, or gets the hell out.

“Criminalizing Holocaust history hasn’t made the field safe from the lunatic fringe – the anti Semites, the “Holocaust deniers,” the people who have nothing to lose anyway. All it’s done is make serious researchers too frightened to say anything that might get them in trouble. And frankly, it’s irrelevant to me whether the historians who’ve been fined or thrown in prison are right or wrong in their theories and conclusions. Historians should have the right to be wrong. To me, this is a fundamental right that applies to people in every discipline.

“What’s needed now is what I call a “post hysteria cleanup.” Whenever society has one of its episodes of mass hysteria, like the “Communist menace” scare of the ’50s, or the “satanic child molestation” hysteria of the ’80s, the media and the politicians jump on the bandwagon and people’s rights get trampled. But after the hysteria inevitably comes the “cleanup,” when we have to clean up the mess we made when we thought the sky was falling.

During the 1990s, there was a hysteria, especially in Europe and Canada, about “Holocaust denial,” and one country after another passed laws aimed at punishing historians, writers, and publishers who step out of line. Well, the hysteria’s over now. It’s time for a cleanup; time to repeal those laws. There are a lot of good reasons to do so, but for me, the number one reason comes down to a basic, simple principle: no one should be thrown in prison for writing a book.”

CONCLUSION

If there is a common thread running through each section of this booklet, it is that there is an inextricable connection between our own freedoms and the freedoms we allow to others. When we allow views we disagree with to be suppressed, we are, in the end, laying the groundwork for those who disagree with us to suppress our views. When we allow people we disagree with to be beaten and threatened with death for speaking out, eventually we will encounter the same threats when we try to speak out. And if we allow the press to lower its standards of fairness and accuracy when dealing with “unpopular” views, we may one day find ourselves the target of media bias for expressing views that others find “unpopular.”

There is also a connection between the laws that criminalize Holocaust and World War II history abroad, and the quality of Holocaust and World War II history in this country. With so many of the world’s major Holocaust research institutions and archives located in Europe, the laws that restrict Holocaust and World War II research in Europe significantly affect the quality of Holocaust historiography in America and the rest of the world.

However, as important as it is to protect free speech and open debate, a somewhat more provocative, but no less important, assertion is that dissident views deserve to be heard; that we profit from being exposed to them, whether we agree with them or not. We need to challenge our beliefs by listening to those who believe differently. When we expose ourselves to views that challenge our preconceived notions, we will either become more secure in the correctness of our own beliefs, or we will learn something new and revise our beliefs accordingly. Either way, we will have profited from the experience.

This point was never better made than during the criminal trial of Ernst Zundel, a publisher who was tried and convicted by the Canadian government twice, in 1985 and 1988, for publishing revisionist books about the Holocaust. Both convictions were overturned by the Canadian courts, and Zundel fled to the U.S. with his American wife to escape a third trial in Canada. After 9/11, the U.S. shipped Zundel back to Canada, where the Canadian government, using its new post9/11 “security” laws, decided to skip the inconvenience of having another trial, and simply threw Zundel in prison without trial. Zundel has been held in solitary confinement, in a small, bare, concrete “isolation cell,” since February 2003, even though he’s been convicted of no crime, and even though the only “crime” the Canadian government has ever charged him with was publishing a book.77

Appearing for the prosecution at Zundel’s 1985 trial was Raul Hilberg (the man who is considered the father of Holocaust history). During cross examination, Hilberg was asked by Zundel’s attorney, Doug Christie, whether people like Zundel actually perform a service by questioning the views of mainstream Holocaust historians. The resulting exchange is taken directly from the trial transcript:78

HILBERG: “Holocaust revisionists, without having wanted to do so in the first place, have rendered us a good service. They have come up with questions which have the effect of engaging the historians in fresh research work. The historians are obliged to come forward with more information, to scrutinize the documents once again, and to go much further in the understanding of what really happened.”

CHRISTIE: “So in fact people questioning these types of situations can be of use to you and to others in stimulating further research.”

HILBERG: “Obviously.”

In 1995, Hilberg reiterated those views in an interview in Vanity Fair, in which he expressed his disdain for laws that punish revisionist historians: “If these people want to speak, let them. It only leads those of us who do research to reexamine what we might have considered as obvious. And that’s useful to us. I am not for taboos, and I am not for repression.”79

Raul Hilberg, the world’s most respected Holocaust author, freely admits that revisionists perform a valuable service by challenging the views of mainstream historians.

And that’s what dissent does. It challenges the status quo. Permitting dissent keeps things open and honest. Banning dissent encourages deceit and intellectual laziness. World War II and Holocaust history do not need to be “protected” by laws. No science or discipline has ever been improved by government imposed limits on research and debate. Only those “experts” who don’t have the factual ammunition to defend their theories are served by laws that shield them from criticism.

As President John F. Kennedy said, “We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”80

The Campaign to Decriminalize Holocaust History is fighting to overturn the laws that criminalize historical research into the Holocaust and World War II, and to obtain freedom for anyone who has been imprisoned under those laws. We also seek to prevent similar laws from being passed in the United States. We feel that an organization such as ours is necessary because other, more traditional “free speech” organizations have steadfastly refused to protest the prosecution and imprisonment of revisionist historians. In the face of this silence, we feel that a new, focused effort is needed to fight the criminalization of Holocaust and World War II history.

NOTES

1 Technically, the laws that criminalize Holocaust and WWII history apply to all 25 European Union nations, because EU regulations allow cross border prosecutions. Citizens of any EU nation can be held accountable for breaking the laws of any other EU nation. Before Belgium outlawed dissident Holocaust and World War II history, dissident Belgian publishers and historians would be prosecuted under the laws of Belgium’s neighbor, the Netherlands (Jewish Press, October 30, 1992).

2 To see the exact wording of the laws that criminalize Holocaust and WWII history in each of the above nations, see links on this site.

3 For more details regarding revisionists and college campuses, see www.CODOH.com.

4 The similarities between the Clinton Omnibus Antiterrorism Act and the Patriot Act are spelled out in detail in a Center for National Security Studies report available on the Web site of the Center for Democracy and Technology, www.cdt.org/policy/terrorism/cnss.cti.anal.html. {Add link?} The Clinton law expanded the government’s wiretapping powers and allowed for the use of secret and illegally obtained evidence to deport aliens and for the permanent detention of aliens. As long as these provisions were promoted by a liberal Democratic president for use against right wing, antigovernment militias made up of “angry white men,” most “civil rights” and “human rights” advocates were willing to remain silent, not realizing that one day those same provisions might be used by a different administration against different targets.

5 “Respecting History,” Cornell Daily Sun, November 22, 1991.

6 Robert Berdahl, “Holocaust Ad Violates TSP’s Own Standard,” Daily Texan, February 22, 1993.

7 Transcription from videotape of 2000 Berkeley Commencement Ceremony.

8 Bear in Mind (radio program), March 18, 2003.

9 “Expose Holocaust Revisionism to Rebuttal,” Dallas Morning News, January 4, 1992.

10 The conference was detailed in Group Defamation and Freedom of Speech, ed. Monroe H. Freedman and Eric M. Freedman (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1995).

11 Letter from Professor Monroe H. Freedman to contest entrants. Original copy in author’s possession.

12 Professor Robert Martin, quoted in Group Defamation and Freedom of Speech, p. 213.

13 Professor Kenneth Lasson, quoted in Group Defamation and Freedom of Speech, p. 287.

14 Group Defamation and Freedom of Speech, p. 286

15 Ibid., p. 323

16 Interview with Devin House from the January 2004 issue of Mission to Remember, the bimonthly newsletter of The Tinbergen Archives, a Beverly Hills–based Holocaust education institute.

17 Group Defamation and Freedom of Speech, pp. 198, 279; keynote address delivered at Hofstra Conference by Elie Wiesel (unpublished).

18 Caleb Tinbergen, “The Rarely Told Story of World War Two,” Los Angeles Times, October 29, 2001.

19 On Prime Minister Churchill’s desire to “drench Germany with poison gas,” see Professor Barton J. Bernstein, “Why We Didn’t Use Gas in WWII,” American Heritage, August September 1985. On the U.S. plan to initiate poison gas attack against Japan, see “Poisonous Invasion Prelude,” Pittsburgh Post Gazette, August 4, 1995; Thomas B. Allen and Norman Polmar, Code Name Downfall: The Secret Plan to Invade Japan and Why Truman Dropped the Bomb (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995).

20 F.J.P. Veale, Advance to Barbarism (Appleton, WI: C.C. Nelson, 1953); A.J.P. Taylor, Origins of the Second World War (New York: Atheneum, 1961); David Irving, Churchill’s War (Bullsbrook, Western Australia: Veritas, 1987).

21 James Bacque, Crimes and Mercies (Toronto: Little, Brown, 1997); Franklin Keeling, Gruesome Harvest (Chicago: Institute of American Economics, 1947); Dr. Atina Grossman, Columbia University, “Liberation and Mass Rape,” unpublished 2001 essay (Grossman cites estimates that put the number of German women raped by Allied soldiers at war’s end at 1.9 million; Grossman estimates that at least one out of three women in Berlin was raped by the liberating Allies).

22 Konrad Heiden, “Why They Confess,” Life, June 20, 1949; “Nazi Trial Judge Rips ‘Injustice,’” Chicago Tribune, February 23, 1948; Carlos Porter, Made in Russia: The Holocaust (n.p.: Historical Review Press, 1988); “The Use of Torture and Coercive Interrogation in World War II,” Mission to Remember {yellow highlighted citation needs clarification and/or expansion}.

23 Lawrence Dennis and Maximilian St. George, A Trial on Trial: The Great Sedition Trial of 1944 (Torrance, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1984).

24 John Bennett, “Was Orwell Right?,” paper presented at the Sixth International Revisionist Conference. {Add date}

25 Ray Bearse and Anthony Read, Conspirator: The Untold Story of Tyler Kent (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1991).

26 Christopher Browning, The Path to Genocide: Essays on Launching the Final Solution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995); Christopher Browning, Fateful Months: Essays on the Emergence of the Final Solution (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1985).

27 “David Cole Interviews Dr. Franciszek Piper.” Available at CODOH.com.

28 Die Zeit, August 12, 1960.

29 The official United States Government–filmed record of Nazi camps, Nazi Concentration Camps (1945; directed by George Stevens), claimed that inmates were gassed at Dachau. The same claim was made in the official British–filmed record of Nazi camps, Memory of the Camps (1945; directed by Alfred Hitchcock). A plaque currently on display at the Dachau camp states plainly that no inmates were gassed at Dachau.

30 Letters from Raye Farr, Director, Department of Film and Video, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, to Holocaust survivor Josef Klein, April 29, 1996, and August 30, 1996. From the private collection of the late Josef Klein.

31 “Beyond Doubt: Understanding the Holocaust: An Interview with Raul Hilberg,” by Dr. Michael Shermer, April 10, 1994; {Where does this article/interview appear?} for confirmation that Rudolf Hoess, commandant of Auschwitz, was tortured by the British, see the testimony of Hoess’ captors in Rupert Butler, Legions of Death (Feltham, Eng.: Hamlyn, 1983).

32 “Auschwitz Revisionism: An Israeli Scholar’s Case,” New York Times, November 12, 1989.

33 Heiden, “Why They Confess” (above, note 22).

34 “100 Reasons to Decriminalize Holocaust History,” 2004, published by The Campaign to Decriminalize Holocaust History.

35 Richard Bernstein, “A New Book Is Said to Refute Revisionist View of the Holocaust,” New York Times, December 18, 1989; Richard Bernstein, “Verifying the Horror,” Los Angeles Jewish Journal, December 22, 1989.

36 Jean Claude Pressac, Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers (New York: Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, 1989), p. 429.

37 Ibid., p. 555.

38 The Holocaust Story in the Crossfire: The Weber Shermer Debate, VHS (Newport Beach, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1995). This videotape of a July 22, 1995, debate between Dr. Shermer and Institute for Historical Review director Mark Weber, Shermer states that he is “certain” that the room displayed as a gas chamber at the Majdanek camp in Poland is “not a homicidal gas chamber.”

39 Dr. Michael Shermer interview of Michael Berenbaum, April 13, 1994.

40 In 1997 Berenbaum left the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to serve as director of Steven Spielberg’s Survivors of the Shoah Foundation.

41 Dr. Michael Shermer, interview by Daniel Berman, February 23, 1995. {Transcript available?} In the interview, Shermer goes so far as to suggest that the revisionists might have created a “paradigm shift” in Holocaust history by asking questions that no one has ever thought to ask.

42 The Ambulance (1962; directed by Janusz Morgenstern), is distributed in the U.S. by The National Center for Jewish Film, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA. The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance allows no photographic reproduction of any of its exhibits, and visitors are searched for cameras upon entering. However, footage taken by revisionist activists inside the Museum of Tolerance with a hidden camera in 2002 shows the museum’s interactive video monitors playing what is described as “documentary footage” of Jewish children being killed in a “gas van” disguised as an ambulance. A comparison of this “documentary footage” with a scene from The Ambulance shows that the Museum of Tolerance footage has been lifted directly from the 1962 fictional film.

43 The Holocaust, Israel, and the Jews: Motion Pictures in the National Archives, comp. Charles Lawrence Gellert (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1989). Page 34 lists a reel of film described only as “Army Signal Corps Stock Film, 9.6 minutes, silent, b&w, Interior of a gas chamber, including hand prints dug into the cement wall by the victims.” This “silent” footage of a “gas chamber” is actually taken from a narrated U.S. Army Signal Corps film, National Archives catalog number 111 M 1190, 48 minutes, sound, b&w. This film establishes that the footage described in The Holocaust, Israel, and the Jews as showing a “German gas chamber” is actually footage of a Parisian rifle range.

44 On December 11, 2003, a judge in Hamburg, Germany, freed Moroccan Al Qaeda member Aldelghani Mzoudi from custody, on the grounds that he was not a member of the specific Al Qaeda cell that plotted the 9/11 attacks. The judge ruled that Mzoudi could not be held in custody simply for being a member of Al Qaeda. In Germany, being a member of Al Qaeda is legal, even though the organization’s stated aim is the murder of Americans and Jews.

45 A good overview of the popularity of 9/11 conspiracy books in France (and elsewhere in Europe) can be found in John A. McCurdy, “Making a Case for 9/11 Skepticism,” Global Research, November 20, 2003.

46 The best, most brutally critical revisionist history regarding Israeli wars comes from Israeli scholars. The French government should take a page out of Israel’s book and allow its own scholars the right to brutally examine and, if necessary, revise, the history of World War II.

47 Canadian Customs’ list of banned history books is provided in “20 Years of Revisionist Oppression,” available at CODOH.com. For a fascinating article detailing the ease with which private organizations can lobby the Canadian government to ban a particular book from the entire country of Canada, see “Wiesenthal Center Wants Book Banned,” Canadian Jewish News, January 14, 1988.

48 Noel Wright, “Battling the Tyrants of the Mind,” North Shore News, May 12, 1997.

49 Greg Krikorian and Richard Winton, “JDL Leader Accused in Mosque Bomb Plot,” Los Angeles Times, December 13, 2001.

50 Los Angeles Daily News, December 9, 1982, p. 10.

51 Daily Breeze (Torrance, CA), September 1, 1984; R. Varenchik, “Man Who Calls Holocaust a Lie Reports Threat; JDL Figure Held,” Los Angeles Daily News, August 21, 1984, pp. 1, 8.

52 A. Jalon, “Bomb Hits Home of Holocaust Doubter,” Los Angeles Times, May 16, 1985.

53 IHR Newsletter, June 1981, p. 4; IHR Newsletter, May 1983, p. 6.

54 “Arsonists Hit Institute for Historical Review Office,” Daily Breeze (Torrance, CA), July 5, 1984, p. A3; “Nazi Holocaust Doubters Target of Jewish Group,” Los Angeles Times, August 1, 1985, p. B1.

55 “Arsonists Hit Institute for Historical Review Office,” Daily Breeze (Torrance, CA), July 5, 1984, p. A3; “JDL Applauds Blaze at Torrance Institute,” Daily Breeze (Torrance, CA), July 7, 1984, pp. Al, A6.

56 Bruce Hoffman, Terrorism in the United States and the Potential Threat to Nuclear Facilities, prepared for the U.S. Dept. of Energy, R?3351?DOE, January 1986 (Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation, 1986), pp. 1–16.

57 Tulsa Tribune, April 12, 1985.

58 “Truth, Democracy Lose as JDL Bullies Revisionists,” Daily Pilot (Costa Mesa, CA), February 21, 1989.

59 Daily Bruin, January 23, 1992. Along with the crew from CBS News’ 48 Hours, the lecture/assault was also covered by the local Fox affiliate, KTTV Channel 11.

60 “Who Is David Cole and Why Must He Die?” Copy in author’s possession.

61 Cole was assaulted by three men who followed him as he walked home from his neighborhood supermarket on the night of November 22, 1994, at approximately 11:40 PM. Cole suffered a broken nose and cut eye. Cole did not recognize the men, and police made no arrests. The interview has not been broadcast.

62 From an interview with Irv Rubin and Earl Krugel, September 1994, conducted and videotaped by Adam Parfrey, owner of Feral House Publishing and, at that time, a columnist for the San Diego Weekly.

63 Anti Defamation League Web site, “David Cole and Roger Garaudy,” 2001.

64 Jewish Defense League Web site, “Jewish Holocaust Denier Asks for Forgiveness,” 1998.

65 “20 Years of Revisionist Oppression” (above, note 47).

66 Christopher Hitchens, “Hitler’s Ghosts,” Vanity Fair, June 1996; Christopher Hitchens, “Where Historical Revisionism Is Concerned, Nothing’s Sacred, and That’s Not a Bad Thing,” Vanity Fair, December 1993; Richard Cohen, “Controversial Goebbels Bio Deserves to Be Read,” New York Post, June 5, 1996.

67 Teresa Watanabe, “Japanese Firm Offers Class on Holocaust,” Los Angeles Times, May 27, 1995. The article in the Times applauded Bungei Shunju for closing down the “offending publication” (Marco Polo) and firing its staff, and for forcing all other employees to attend a Simon Wiesenthal Center–sponsored seminar on anti Semitism, “in contrition for the (revisionist) article.”

68 Pauline Arrillaga, “Ad Denying Holocaust Sparks Protest at UT,” Associated Press, March 9, 1993. Arrillaga’s false quote was widely quoted in the weeks following her AP story. For one example, see Debbie M. Price, “Ignorance Is Soil for Insidiously Sown Lies about Holocaust,” Fort Worth Star Telegram, April 25, 1993. Believing the phony quote to be real, columnist Price denounced Cole as “a voice of pure evil.”

69 Audiotape of conversation between David Cole and Pauline Arrillaga, March 12, 1993.

70 Sheldon Teitelbaum, “Who Needs Enemies?,” Jerusalem Report, October 21, 1993.

71 Fax from Sheldon Teitelbaum to David Cole, October 8, 1993.

72 Ibid.

73 Dr. Michael Shermer, “Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened?,” Skeptic, vol. 2, no. 4 (1994).

74 Transcribed directly from audiotape of interview with Dr. Michael Shermer, conducted by graduate student Daniel Berman on February 23, 1995.

75 Anti Defamation League, “Interpreting the First Amendment on Campus: ADL and the New York Times Address Newspaper Acceptability Policies, New York, N.Y.,” press release, December 1, 2000; Lewis Bauer, “NY Times Colloquium Chips Away at Poignant Questions,” BICO News (Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges).

76 The BICO News story mentioned in note 75.

77 James S. McCarten, “Judge Ponders Zundel Detention,” London Free Press News, November 20, 2003; “Judge Rules in Zundel Case,” Canadian Press (CP) wire service dispatch, November 26, 2003: “Zundel, who has no criminal record in Canada and is not facing any charges, has been in solitary confinement since February after being deported to Canada for overstaying a visitor’s visa in the United States.”

78 Taken directly from court transcript of Raul Hilberg’s cross examination during the trial of Ernst Zundel, January 16, 1985.

79 Hitchens, “Hitler’s Ghosts” (above, note 66).

80 From a tribute to poet Robert Frost, delivered at Amherst College in Massachusetts, October 27, 1963.

[Updated 8 August 2004]

Christopher Cole

Christopher Cole was a fixture in leftist and progressive politics in Los Angeles in the late 1980s and early ‘90s. In 1988 he founded the first Los Angeles chapter of the influential leftist organization Refuse and Resist. As head of the L.A. chapter of R&R, Cole organized benefit concerts and promotional gigs with artists such as Sinead O’Connor, Michelle Shocked, and Fishbone. Cole was also instrumental in organizing the network of politically and socially conscious organizations that toured with the Lollapalooza festival.

Cole was a founding member of the Ad Hoc Coalition for Freedom of Expression, which was formed in 1989 to protest the Bush Administration’s denial of NEA grant money to controversial artists. Other members of the Coalition included officials of L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art, and the legendary L.A. performance art space, Highways. From 1989 through 1992, the Coalition organized art shows across Southern California, showcasing the works of censored artists.

A member of the ACLU, the National Lawyers Guild, the National Writers Union, and the National Abortion Rights Action League, Cole helped organize a pro choice concert for L.A. talk radio station KFI in 1990, featuring Sinead O’Connor and Susan Sarandon. That same year, Cole helped organize a concert at L.A.’s Wilshire Ebell Theatre to raise funds for the new democratic government of Czechoslovakia.

Cole served as head of the L.A. chapter of Refuse and Resist until 1991, when he became troubled by what he saw as a growing desire among some on the left to censor views they didn’t agree with, as evidenced by the clamor for campus “speech codes” in the early ‘90s. Cole left the ACLU in 1992 in protest of what he saw as that organization’s reluctance to take a clear and unambiguous stand against censorship in all its forms. Since the mid‘90s, Cole has been an occasional oped contributor to the Los Angeles Times, writing on free speech issues.

Cole co founded the Campaign to Decriminalize World War II History because, as he puts it, “This issue is the test of one’s commitment to free speech. Liberals cried ‘censorship’ when CBS moved the Ronald Reagan TV movie to the Show time cable network, and when an appearance by Tim Robbins at the Baseball Hall of Fame was cancelled because of the actor’s views on the Iraq war. None of these examples of so called censorship compare to the draconian measures being carried out by the nations of the West against Holocaust revisionists. Yet who has the courage to stand up for the rights of these people? Anyone who is truly against censorship should feel impelled to speak out on this issue. So called‘anti censorship’ activists who confine their righteous indignation to safe and comfortable controversies are cowards, pure and simple.”

Bradley R. Smith

Bradley R. Smith is an author, playwright, and free speech activist. He has been interviewed by hundreds of time by the print press, radio, and television where he argues, simply, that the Holocaust question should be examined in the routine manner that all other historical questions are examined. He asks: “Why should it not be?

Smith is a combat veteran (Korea, 7th Cavalry), has been a deputy sheriff (Los Angeles County), a merchant seaman, a bookseller on Hollywood Boulevard, a freelance writer in Vietnam (1968), and a longtime activist for free speech. As a bookseller in the 1960s he refused to stop selling a book that was banned by the U.S. Government—Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer—and was prosecuted for breaking the law.

During the 1990s Smith ran essay advertisements in student newspapers at colleges and universities around the country calling for intellectual freedom with regard to the Holocaust question. One result was that he became the most widely recognized revisionist activist in America. Pursuing this American ideal of free inquiry and open debate has earned him the enmity of those who represent what Norman Finkelstein has so aptly termed, the “Holocaust Industry.”

Rabbi Carlos C. Huerta has written:

“Bradley Smith is doing the community a service. He is beginning to make many Americans, both Jewish and non Jewish, realize that the traditional method of dealing with Holocaust revisionism by ignoring it will no longer suffice.”
Carlos C. Huerta, Midstream: A Monthly Jewish Review.
[Major Huerta is a military chaplain serving (March 2004) in Iraq.]

Carlos Huerta was prescient, if not clairvoyant, with his suggestion that “ignoring” revisionism would not suffice for those who want it to go away. Those who own and administer the Holocaust Industry have been able to make the expression of doubt about the “gas chambers” a criminal offense in France, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and Austria, (up to 20 years (!) in prison for saying what we say here), and of course, in Israel. At this writing Holocaust revisionist Ernst Zundel has been in a Canadian prison since February 2003, in solitary confinement, for reprinting a booklet that questions the gas-chamber stories. That is not only unjust, but morally wrong.

Smith asks: If it is right to imprison you for writing a book, right to imprison you for printing a book, right to imprison you for selling a book, would it not be right to imprison you for reading a forbidden book? Isn’t that the logic of the matter when you follow it out? It’s really too stupid (as Proust would have it), but there it is. The author, the printer, the seller, the reader. Will we play the role of mere bystanders? Will we do nothing?

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