As sure as the new school year is upon us, Holocaust denier Bradley Smith has begun a new campaign to disseminate Holocaust denial in US colleges. He has been doing this for almost 20 years now. His method is to write up advertisements that promote Holocaust denial and try to place them in college student newspapers. Why student newspapers? He explained this way back in 1987: “I don’t want to spend time with adults anymore,” he said. “I want to go to students. They are superficial. They are empty vessels to be filled.”
His early ads were large and quite obviously focused on calling the Holocaust into question (here are samples from 1999 and 2000), but increasingly savvy editors rejected them more and more often over the years; now he makes his ads smaller and more stealthy in the hopes that they will slip through the editorial screening process. Last year he was particularly sneaky, grabbing students’ attention with one that looked like a help-wanted ad. Last year he also started buying ads not in the newspapers themselves but on the newspaper websites. This tactic actually works even better for him than the print ads, because there is often less editorial supervision of web ads, and because the ads can link directly to his website, where his real poison is located.
This year’s web ad is very simple: A box with the title of one of his early books, Confessions of a Holocaust Revisionist, linking out to the online version of this rambling, bizarre and distasteful text. Smith writes that with one click, students will access his book, and he fantasizes that “with a second click of her mouse of course, [she will access] the full CODOH Website—the library, the Forum, the Founder’s page, and our new page focusing on the fraud surrounding the Elie Wiesel character.” (Yes, Smith has a little side project attacking Elie Wiesel.)
Smith writes, rather pathetically I think, about how wonderful it will be for a student who actually becomes a Holocaust denier as a result of encountering his website:
With Confessions the student will learn that she is not alone in her fear of facing revisionist arguments about the Holocaust story, not alone in her fear of wanting to avoid the contempt of her peers and those in the Ruling Class at her university. With Confessions she will find a 50-year-old man who writes about how he, too, was afraid of discovering a forbidden truth. How he was ashamed of being seen with revisionist materials in his hand at a public event. How the only place where he was willing to look at something written about gas chambers by a “revisionist” was when he was alone, at night, walking in circles in his one-room apartment in Hollywood.
Am I alone in finding this kind of creepy?
So how is it going so far? A few days ago, Smith reported on his blog that the editorial staff of The Guardian, the student newspaper of UC San Diego, rejected this ad. Let’s hope this will be the start of another lousy semester for Bradley Smith.