Spurious belief

We write to challenge your decision to print an ad from the Committee for the Open Debate on the Holocaust (CODOH) entitled “The Holocaust Controversy: The Case for Open Debate,” which appeared in The Northern Star on Nov. 8.

We do not consider this legitimate advertising and offer the following reasons why we do not believe you should have printed this material:

1. The piece represents false advertising in that its aim is to foster the spurious belief that the Holocaust did not occur.

2. In light of the nature and program of those who prepared the ad, it represents an appeal to bigotry. The Committee for the Open Debate on the Holocaust hides behind a smoke screen of impartiality of scholarship. The Committee was founded in 1987 by the Institute for Historical Review, which itself is part of Liberty Lobby, the most active anti-Semitic organization in the country.

3. The advertisement represents an assault on the sensibilities of Jews and all those who are repelled by any suggestion that the Nazi genocide, one of the most heinous chapters in human history, would be used, manipulated, and misrepresented in this manner.

4. The piece is no more appropriate than an advertisement sponsored by the Ku Klux Klan, advocating racism and suggesting that slavery is not part of American history.

Newspapers, notwithstanding First Amendment rights, have a responsibility to reject inappropriate material in the form of advertisements or letters to the editor.

A newspaper is not a street corner where everyone can say what he or she wishes. It is an institution that needs to balance constitutional First Amendment rights on the one hand and journalistic integrity and readers’ sensibilities on the other.

Barry Morrison

Regional Director

Anti-Defamation League