Holocaust to be questioned on campus

In News

The founder of the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust is scheduled to speak in the Titan Student Union’s Alvarado AB at 2 p.m. on Thursday, May 6.

Bradley Smith, whose organization contends that the Holocaust did not occur, will talk about what he calls forbidden topics within student journalism.

Smith has a history of causing controversy on university campuses across the United States. In February of this year, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s student newspaper was met with strong opposition when they ran an online advertisement purchased by Smith.

“Some members of Madison’s Jewish community, and others, are outraged that the Herald would give this infamous denier a platform to spew his veiled anti-Semitism,” wrote Nick Penzenstadler, the UW paper’s publisher, in an article entitled, “Why The Badger Herald ran that Holocaust denier’s ad.”

A self-proclaimed “Holocaust revisionist,” Smith argues the Nazi gas chambers did not exist and spoke at the 2006 Holocaust conference hosted by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran, Iran.

“Well, I don’t have an ideology,” Smith said. “Essentially, I’m encouraging a free exchange of ideas about a taboo question.”

CSUF’s Hillel club adviser Mark Filowitz commented on Smith’s coming to campus.

“I am a firm believer in free speech,” Filowitz said, “but I strongly object to deceptive practices that dupe students into hearing a single point of view, as opposed to healthy academic debate, where all sides of an issue is examined.”

Filowitz, who is the associate dean of the College of Natural Science and Mathematics, further stated his opinion of Smith’s beliefs.

“On the level of an individual, and as the son of Holocaust survivors, I am thoroughly disgusted that people like Bradley Smith abuse our hard-fought freedoms to deceptively spread their vile venom among the impressionable, who may not know better despite all of the hard evidence of history,” he said.

Smith, who currently resides in Mexico, contacted Cal State Fullerton’s University Conference Center a week ago about renting a room in the TSU to discuss free speech.

Kurt Borsting, the director of the TSU, was involved in the reviewing process of Smith’s contract.

“A university is a marketplace of ideas,” Borsting said. “Even when those ideas may be offensive.”

While most students hear controversial speakers in the Quad and on Titan Walk, Borsting said that the reason Smith is holding his discussion in the TSU is because he paid a fee and made a reservation request in advance.

Borsting said he was familiar with Smith’s background before granting his request. To reject Smith’s speaking engagement would infringe on his First Amendment rights, he said.

Smith is allowed to rent the facility as a private individual who is exercising his First Amendment rights, Borsting said.

Associated Students Incorporated president Juliana Santos said that ASI had “no legal grounds to deny him to speak in the TSU.”

“Bradley Smith contacted the university conference center … (which) didn’t know his true intentions,” Santos said. “His title seemed pretty benign.”

Santos recalls only one group denied access to the TSU this year, a nudist group that was denied due to indecent exposure being against the law, she said.

Santos said ASI is not sponsoring Smith’s event.

The TSU’s policy regarding outside groups states that they allow, “all other off-campus groups and individuals whose events are consistent with the with the mission and purpose of the University” to use the facility as a forum.

The university’s mission statement has among its goals to, “affirm the university’s commitment to freedom of thought, inquiry and speech.”

“I do think that the university should always allow free speech on Titan Way or the Quad,” Filowitz said. “But when a University facility is used, it implies some sort of endorsement of the views presented. Therefore, I would urge some consideration of procedures by which our facilities are used on campus.”

CSUF’s Hillel club founder Jeffrey Reinstein, 24, disagrees with Smith’s stance on the Holocaust.

“To deny the Holocaust in the year 2010 is like to deny that Cal State Fullerton needs more parking, teachers and more funding,” Reinstein said. “Although I support free speech and the First Amendment in its entirety, I sincerely hope that no individual gives this man a proper audience. Remnants of the world’s prejudice past should be just that – the past.”

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  • Dog

    You’re a bunch of stupid Pavlov’s Dogs.

    The man doesn’t even say the lolocaust DIDN’T happen, he just questions some details of it. But how could you know? You won’t even LISTEN to him before going into a hysterical fit. Won’t even allow him to speak!

    Lemmings are the lowest form of life.

  • Ben

    The biggest $cam in recorded history-and the most profitable….

  • Jeff

    So when you guys realize you were neo-nazis? Have you come out to your parents yet?

  • Jeff

    Oh and Dog, Lemmings aren’t the lowest form of life. That’d be you and you’re little posse of anti-semites.

  • Rowena

    What world are you people living in? The Holocaust that claimed the lives of 6 million Jews and hundreds of thousands of Gypsies, gays, Catholics and others – including more than 1.5 million children – is one of the most heavily documented and thoroughly proved events in all of human history. Thousands upon thousands of photographs exist; there is film footage galore; and the Nazis themselves (not shirkers when it came to documenting everything carefully and mostly in triplicate) kept careful records. Goebbels, Eichmann and Himmler all wrote openly in their personal papers about plans for the destruction of the Jews. More than that, there are thousands of survivors who have either left their testimony on film or are currently still speaking out and telling their personal experiences of the Holocaust. If you were students at Chapman University, which has one of the nation’s most respected centers for Holocaust education and frequently presents events where students interact directly with Holocaust survivors, you would not be deniers any more. If ALL these people are lying and all the photographs and film footage are doctored and all the U.S. WWII veterans who liberated the concentration camps were also lying, and they kept that fiction up for all these 60-plus years, it would be the biggest cover-up in history. And if you believe that all these people were in on such a massive cover-up, then I feel sorry for you (although I would have to admire your belief in human consistency!). No way can that many people sustain a myth. But it is much easier, I guess, to be a denier and to postulate that this is all a big conspiracy theory. Said Dr. Walter Reich, professor of international affairs at George Washington University: “The primary motivation for most deniers is anti-Semitism, and for them the Holocaust is an infuriatingly inconvenient fact of history. After all, the Holocaust has generally been recognized as one of the most terrible crimes that ever took place, and surely the very emblem of evil in the modern age. If that crime was a direct result of anti-Semitism taken to its logical end, then anti-Semitism itself, even when expressed in private conversation, is inevitably discredited among most people. What better way to rehabilitate anti-Semitism, make anti-Semitic arguments seem once again respectable in civilized discourse and even make it acceptable for governments to pursue anti-Semitic policies than by convincing the world that the great crime for which anti-Semitism was blamed simply never happened—indeed, that it was nothing more than a frame-up invented by the Jews, and propagated by them through their control of the media? What better way, in short, to make the world safe again for anti-Semitism than by denying the Holocaust?”

  • aninonymous

    Rowena is correct.
    I knew someone who was present at the day of liberation of one of the camps. He wrote to his brother about it in a private letter.

    Among other things, he saw a group of sick Dutch children that were used for medical experiments.

    These “anti-semites” are really anti ALL humanity.

  • Rob to Dog

    “The man doesn’t even say the lolocaust DIDN’T happen, he just questions some details of it.”

    ….Yeah. Why don’t you read the second sentence in this article, genius?

  • Jolie

    Holocaust deniers are ridiculous beings that contaminate this precious world with their filth and nonsense.

  • Steve Hawkins

    What I would love to see someday is somebody who will counter people like Bradley Smith with facts. If the holocaust really is one of the best documented genocides in history, there should be no problem showing how the views of people like Bradley Smith are wrong. Don’t resort to ad hominim attacks on holocaust revisionists. Don’t just say that these people are hateful and ridiculous. Take a specific point they make and tell us why it’s hateful and why it is ridiculous. And please dear God in Heaven don’t tell me how your grandfather was a soldier in the Army and saw the camps or how your whole family was killed at Auschwitz. No emotion. Just intellectual discourse.

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