SICSAThe Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism
ACTAThe Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism--A special research unit

(Full Text)

ABSTRACT

Antisemitic propaganda is becoming more sophisticated not only in its argumentation but also in its means of dissemination. The information superhighway -- specifically, discussion groups that are part of the UseNet system -- is one of the newest high tech media for such propaganda. This article examines the various types of antisemitic entries on the UseNet system and the responses they provoke. To date, antisemitic propaganda appears to have been largely unsuccessful, mainly because of the sophistication of the UseNet audience. However, given the system's rapidly growing base of subscribers (now estimated in the millions) and the virtually unrestricted format of many discussion groups, it is likely that such propaganda will become far more pervasive.

INTRODUCTION

In 1976, antisemitic literature entered a new phase with the publication of The Hoax of the Twentieth Century. Written by Arthur R. Butz, a professor of electrical engineering, this book purportedly proved that the murder of six million Jews had not occurred. Butz's book quickly became the model for antisemitism in the guise of historical revisionism.1 Three years after the book's publication, the California based Institute for Historical Review (IHR) was founded by the Liberty Lobby, an umbrella group for ultra right wing activists. The IHR is a prime source of antisemitic publications, particularly those which focus on Holocaust denial. Three of the four "professional" antisemites identified in this study quote at length from IHR "research" in their messages to UseNet discussion groups. However, as will be seen, a good deal of Holocaust denial propaganda focuses not so much on "research" as on allegations of a Jewish or Zionist sponsored conspiracy to prevent publication of the "facts." "Freedom of speech" and "equal time" are the rallying cries of Holocaust deniers; these demands, more than any specific revisionist argument, have met with a certain amount of sympathy both among the general public and among those on the UseNet system.

What is UseNet? A component of the Internet, it is a worldwide distribution network of electronic bulletin boards and discussion groups organized according to a broad range of topics.2 Some discussion groups, more formally organized than others, have a moderator who serves as a mailing address and who screens all entries before posting them. Other groups are more free form, allowing entries from anyone in the network--namely, members of academic institutions, government agencies, private companies, and individual subscribers. In the more informal groups, few if any restrictions are placed on content or length of entries and participants do not have to identify themselves by name, though their site (point of origin) is automatically noted on the top of their entry. On occasion a large group will subdivide into a number of more specific groups. News groups, for example, are organized along various political and geographical lines (e.g., talk.politics.mideast).

For those wishing to disseminate propaganda, the UseNet system has obvious advantages. It has an extremely wide distribution, and those having access through their place of employment can essentially use the system free of charge. Just as important is the liberal policy of many discussion groups regarding content and length of entries. The "professional" antisemites, as will be seen, take freedom of expression to an extreme by broadcasting lengthy excerpts from hate literature (sometimes accompanied by order forms and price lists).3 Such behavior, of course, is a violation of netiquette, or network etiquette, and at times this has had a boomerang effect. In general, however, antisemites do not appear to be deterred by the rules of proper discourse governing the Usenet system.

Since a good deal of antisemitic propaganda is transmitted via the talk.politics.mideast newsgroup, it was decided to focus on this group in a four month research period that lasted from March June 1992. Other groups, such as alt.discrimination and alt.censorship were also tracked (in many cases, the same messages were transmitted to several groups). A total of 384 antisemitic entries and responses were recorded and analyzed.4 Those participating in the exchanges can be categorized into four main groups--antisemites; opponents to antisemitism; "neutrals"; and anti Zionists (who drew a clear distinction between anti Zionism and antisemitism). Analysis was carried out of the length and type of argumentation used by each group, and the extent to which various arguments proved to be more effective than others.

A PROFILE OF PARTICIPANTS IN THE USENET DEBATE

Although no official figures are available, a majority of subscribers to the Internet system are affiliated with academic institutions, private industry, and government agencies. Most, it can be assumed, have a higher than average level of education. Not surprisingly, many of the more active UseNet participants have a strong background in computer science: technocrats and natural scientists are more heavily represented than are social scientists or those in the humanities. Their higher than average level of academic sophistication may explain why UseNet participants seem quite alert to the logical fallacies and misstatement of facts found in many antisemitic messages, while at the same time more inclined to respond favorably to appeals for "academic freedom" or "equal time."

As noted, the UseNet is a worldwide system. Although a majority of participants in this study were based in the United States, there were also responses transmitted from England, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Holland, and several other European countries (all of the entries were in English.) During the four month research period, 184 individuals participated in the debate regarding Holocaust denial and antisemitism.

Antisemites

Two distinct groups are responsible for antisemitic messages. The first, consisting of four individuals, are termed "professional" antisemites both because of the quantity of material they disseminate and because they quote at length from antisemitic publications such as those put out by the Institute for Historical Review. The "professionals" are far more prolific than other antisemitic participants on the UseNet, transmitting 63 out of the 72 antisemitic entries recorded in the study.

Three of the four "professionals" --Ralph Winston (who also uses the aliases of Dan Gannon and Maynard), George Martin, and Pete Faust --broadcast from the same site, known as Banished.CPU. It appears that they first gained access to the Internet via a private company that later canceled their account. The "professionals" claim that Zionist pressure and intimidation is what forced them off the site; opponents counter that they themselves were to blame, since they overloaded the company's computer lines with their propaganda.5 At the bottom of many entries transmitted from Banished.CPU is a path line proclaiming that the original site was "eliminated by Zionist thought police." This message is itself the subject of a certain amount of debate.6 The fourth "professional" is Jack Schmidling, who operates the blatantly antisemitic Amateur Radio Forum of Chicago. Schmidling's messages on the talk.politics.mideast newsgroup are esssentially fulminations against Israel, which he terms the "Evil Empire."7

Six other people during the course of the research sent messages that were antisemitic in content. Of a total of nine messages, six deal with traditional antisemitic themes (e.g., that Jews control the world banking system) and three with Holocaust denial. There is a clear difference in the style of these entries as opposed to those of the "professionals," which are much longer and more sophisticated.

Opponents

"Opponents" --those who take issue with antisemitic messages --are a heterogeneous group. Out of a total of 118 individuals, twenty identify themselves as Jewish; while most of the others explicitly declare themselves to be non-Jews. Messages from opponents originate not only in the United States but in a number of European countries, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. As with the antisemites, a number of participants are more active than others. The twentiy self-declared Jewish opponents, for instance, submitted 112 entries that tend to be longer than the 173 entries transmitted by non Jews.

Neutrals

The twelve "neutrals" in the study also divide into two groups. Six are termed "liberals" whose main concern is freedom of speech. Despite their explicitly stated opposition to antisemitism, the liberals are in favor of allowing antisemites an open forum (along the lines of "I may not agree with what you say, but I'll fight for your right to say it"). The other group of "neutrals," also numbering six individuals, declare themselves to be "open to persuasion" with regard to issues such as denial of the Holocaust and/or alleged Jewish/Zionist conspiracies.

Anti-Zionists opposed to antisemitism

Given the parameters of the talk.politcs.mideast group, a number of anti Zionists also took part in the discussions concerning Holocaust denial and antisemitism. (Entries that pertained primarily to the Arab-Israeli conflict were omitted from the data even if they incorporated antisemitic statements or stereotypes.) Nine messages were sent by five self declared anti Zionists who explicitly stated their opposition to antisemitism.8

There is a wide variation in the frequency and length of messages sent by each group and subgroup. By far the most prolific and wordy are the "professional" antisemites, who average fifteen entries each at an average length of 275 lines.9 In many cases, these long entries (the longest was 2842 lines --nearly twenty eight computer pages) are extracts or entire articles such as "Inside the Auschwitz ’Gas Chambers’" or "An Official Report on the Auschwitz ’Gas Chambers,’ Krakow Forensic Institute Bolsters Leuchter's Findings." Jewish opponents, in contrast, average five entries at seventy lines per entry.

In many instances there are several individuals who are "on line" simultaneously and who comment on the message being sent. (Usually, though not always, these comments are separated from the main message by a line of punctuation.) What emerges in such cases is a "real time"--and often vituperative--dialogue.

MAJOR MOTIFS OF THE DEBATE ON ANTISEMITISM AND HOLOCAUST DENIAL

Some of you have said that, "the last thing the Revisionists want to do is debate their views.' This is exactly the opposite of the truth. The Revisionists have been trying for years to debate the subject...10
In works such as Deoborah E. Lipstadt's Denying the Holocaust, antisemitic and Holocaust denial arguments are analyzed in depth.11 One of Lipstadt's main points is that Holocaust deniers are desirous of open debate, precisely because this is the best means to ensure widespread dissemination of their message. This is not to say that antisemites and Holocaust deniers observe the recognized rules of fair debate; the messages transmitted by "professional" antisemites are full of lies, innuendo, half truths, distortions, and illogic. What is of interest is how these arguments are perceived and responded to.

Six basic categories of antisemitic arguments were found in the UseNet discussions during the research period:

In order to analyze which of these arguments appealed most to the UseNet subscribers, two factors were taken into account. First was the number of participants in the discussions concerning each topic (Table 1); as noted, many participants sent numerous messages. The second factor was the number of responses provoked by each category of argument (Table 2).

ANTISEMITIC STEREOTYPES

More than half of the major dailies in America are under direct control or indirect control of Jews, a minority that makes up only 2.9% of the population. This situation has come about as a consequence of the complete dependence of all papers on advertising revenue. In every major city Jews have predominance in the mercantile trade, which includes department stores, large furniture outlets, discount stores, etc. When large advertisers choose to favor one newspaper over another with their business, that newspaper prospers, and its competitors suffer....12
Arguments, such as the above, that made use of antisemitic stereotypes provoked the greatest number of responses in this study (see Tables 1 and 2).

"Professional" antisemites sent 28 messages (often several pages long), to which 6 "nonprofessionals" responded approvingly. But these were far outnumbered by 67 totally negative replies. Of particular interest is the fact that the number of non Jewish opponents participating in debate on this issue outnumbered self-declared Jewish opponents more than four to one (29 vs. 7).

The "neutrals" in this specific debate were four individuals who consider themselves "open to persuasion." These expressed partial agreement with antisemitic stereotypes concerning the undue influence of Jews/Zionists, condemning as well the "extremism" of certain Jewish opponents active on the UseNet.

DEFINITIONS OF ANTISEMITISM THAT EXCLUDE HOLOCAUST DENIAL

Point out one time that I said I hated Jews. There are many Jews involved in Revisionism. I suppose I can call you a Gentile hater since you are making up lies about me?13
Whether "professional" or not, antisemities rarely admit to antisemitism. Instead they make use of a number of tactics to evade or deny the charge, one of which is to produce a definition that excludes more than it includes. "Antisemitism" or "Jew hatred" becomes that which is grounded on preaching the physical destruction of Jews.14 Making use of this definition, antisemites wax indignant when opponents in the heat of debate refer to them, say, as Nazis. The "professionals" are quick to respond that they are opposed to racism, that they are interested in presenting the "facts," that their aim is to correct historical distortions, and that it is they, in fact, who are the victims of "racist" attacks --perpetrated by the Zionists.

In the following exchange, featuring Ralph Winston (the most prolific of the "professionals"), and Barry Shein (a Jewish opponent), an attack against Holocaust denial is turned on its head when Winston shifts the argument from the Nazi tatooing of prisoners to an altogether different kind of "mutiliation." Challenged by Shein:

You don't think tatooing prisoners like that alone is a crime against humanity? Maybe we should hold you down and see how you like it,
Winston goes on the counterattack and aligns himself with other helpless "victims":
Well now, I suppose you would agree that it is a ’crime against humanity’ to circumcise helpless infants and children. I certainly don't appreciate it that that particular part of my body was amputated when I was a baby. Where are MY billions of dollars of repatriations? Maybe they incinerated it too, that would make it a ’Holocaust!’ Where are MY international laws against people questioning the existence of MY ’Holocaust?’ Where is MY welfare country, MY personal Israel?... That circumcision was perpetrated upon all of us, tolerated by the rest of the world... and we aren't getting BILLION$ of dollars of extorted, undeserved handouts annually must be INSENSITIVITY TO CIRCUMCISEES, if not outright ANTI CIRCUMCISEEISM! Indeed!15
ANTISEMITISM VS. ANTI-ZIONISM

In the above extract, the state of Israel is characterized as the recipient of "billions of dollars of extorted, undeserved handouts." Here and in many other messages, antisemites raise the specter of Zionist conspiracies, domination or undue influence--the word Jews being replaced with Zionists even in apolitical contexts in which it is clear that Jews are the real subject of attack. In some messages this strategy is all the more blatant, since Jews and Zionists are used interchangably. More commonly, however, antisemites deny the charge of antisemitism, preferring to cloak themselves in the more respectable mantle of anti Zionism.

Whereas antisemites commonly insist on the distinction between antisemitism and anti Zionism
(while at the same time proclaiming that their site has been "eliminated by Zionist thought police"), opponents are divided on whether or not the distinction is a valid one. Some respondents, noting the essentially hypocritical stance of the antisemites, deny any such distinction (in the words of one opponent: "anyone that doesn't agree with you, it's because of Zionist pressure and distortion").16 Others, however, affirm it -- though not in the way it is presented by the antisemites:

Anti Zionism is not anti semitism. I reject anyone who equates the two. I've on occasion, been amused at the opposite claim also: People who, because I've denounced anti semitism, have painted me as a Zionist, which I am not, they just assumed I must be and the two are indistinguishable (to both sides).

One unfortunate problem is that there are a few on these lists who, when they say ’Zionist’, pretty clearly mean ’Jewish,’ but have learned to substitute the ’Z’ word for the ’J’ word so as to try to seek sympathy with those who have bona fide criticism of Zionism.17

This position is supported by the "anti Zionists" in this study, who differentiate between their political or ideological opposition to the state of Israel and their non identification with what they too view as antisemitism. One anti-Zionist, for instance, announced that, while he accepted anti-Israel statements, the inclusion of blatantly antisemitic material in the same context had caused him to rethink his entire position.18

Anti Zionism is deftly tied in with Holocaust denial when antisemites claim that the state of Israel was established as a result of Zionist pressure in the wake of World War II. According to them, the Zionists worked in concert with the Allied powers to spread the "myth" of the Holocaust in order to arouse the world's sympathy for the Zionist cause. The state of Israel is thus ipso facto an immoral and illegitimate creation.19

The debate concerning antisemitism vs. anti-Zionism drew the second largest number of reponses, both in terms of the number of participants (47) and the number of messages transmitted (80).

DENIAL OF HISTORICAL FACTS

What proof exists that the Nazis practiced genocide or deliberately killed six million Jews?
- None. The only evidence is the testimony of individual ’survivors.’ This testimony is contradictory, and few ’survivors’ claim to have actually witnessed any gassing. There is no hard evidence whatsoever: no mounds of ashes, no crematoria capable of doing the job, no piles of clothes, no human soap, no lamp shades made of human skin, no records, no credible demographic statistics....20
In order to cast doubt on the authenticity of the Holocaust, revisionists seek to undermine historical facts such as the number of Jewish casualties, the existence of gas chambers and the true intentions of the Nazis vis-a-vis the Jews.
As one opponent noted,
It is very frustrating when trying to debate the Holocaust with the IHR. They have a pre programmed list of not quite completely false statements that they post repeatedly. These are generally obtained from their ’world famous historians, scientists, and engineers’ (that no one else has ever heard of). When their statements are rebutted by facts, their response is that there is a WORLDWIDE ZIONIST CONSPIRACY that, somehow, (a) managed to fake all the thousands of Nazi documents that were seized after the war, (b) managed to TERRORIZE many Nazis into committing perjury by admitting their participation in the Holocaust...(c) induced hallucinations in EVERY surviving inmate in EVERY extermination camp about the gas chambers (d) hid millions of Jews somewhere in central Russia, and finally, (e) managed to get ALL of the allied powers in World War II to do all of the above... and to keep the secret to this day! 21
Particularly noteworthy of Holocaust revisionism in general is the cavalier disregard of the testimony of survivors, as illustrated above. In another instance, no less an institution than Yad Vashem is harnessed to the cause of denial:
Shmuel Krakowski is archives director for Yad Vashem, which is the international center for Holocaust documentation in Jerusalem. Krakowski states that more than 10,000 ’eyewitness’ testimonies about German atrocities against Jews have been shown to be false at Yad Vashem alone!
To which an opponent responds, "I think this part of the posting is a lie. Note that no source is provided to show where and when, and in what context, [Krakowski] ever said this."

Ralph Winston replies that the original reference appeared in an article published in the Daily Northwestern--a U.S. university newspaper-- "as an AD, as my report of it clearly stated at the bottom, contrary to what some lying Zionists try to claim." The opponent is clearly unimpressed:

Note that the one lie is presented in such a way as to make you think that it is stronger than it is: note the clause ’at Yad Vashem alone!’ which falsely implies that there are other such centers which have found eyewitness testimony to be false. (After all, if there were other such centers Ralph would have said so and named them, to make his argument appear even stronger).
Winston, however, presses on, claiming to know of "other people and institutions" that have disproved survivors' testimonies. "Your assumption that I would put all of my evidence into one message," he concludes, "is false."22

Two basic strategies are pursued by antisemites in their arguments against historical facts. The first is to invalidate existing proof of the Holocaust (in some cases, as in the "what proof?" excerpt quoted above, the technique is simply to demand that the other side prove what is aleady more than amply proven)23; and the second is to bring new "proofs" to contradict historical evidence. This second strategy is used most extensively in arguments relying on pseudo science, as discussed immediately below.

Pseudo-science

A recent investigation by a Polish government agency has authoritatively corroborated the findings of Fred Leuchter from his detailed 1988 on site forensic examination of supposed German wartime extermination gas chambers. The American execution expert concluded that the ’gas chambers’ in the former concentration camps of Auschwitz, Birkenau and Majdanek were never used to kill people....24
Some of the longest entries sent by "professional" antisemites are those offering "scientific proof" that purportedly contradicts basic facts concerning the Nazi death machine. The excerpt above is taken from a much longer entry detailing how Polish investigators took samples of wall plaster from the crematoria and tested them for cyanide traces. According to the indefatigable Ralph Winston, the Polish report corroborates Leuchter in that the samples, after tested, revealed virtually no trace of cyanide in the crematoria rooms, as opposed to significant amounts in the delousing and clothes fumigation rooms.

In this instance, as in others, opponents were quick to rebut the "evidence." Danny Keren, for example, asks sarcastically,

- What is the major ’amazing discovery’ in the ’Leuchter report?’
That because less traces of cyanides were found in the gas chamber than in the delousing rooms in Auschwitz, this proves that ’no gassing of people took place, because the gas chamber would have been exposed to a lot more gas than the delousing rooms.’
- Is this true?
- No, it's a blatant outrageous lie... because as I wrote, and as Winston DELETED from my post, Zyklon B is MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE ON WARM BLOODED ANIMALS INCLUDING HUMANS (and Jews) than on lice, bugs etc....
Here follows an angry exchange between the two on the exact amounts of cyanide that should be traceable in a room devoted to extermination, and on the time needed to be exposed to a lethal gas (the less time needed, the less trace a gas would presumably leave). While the subject matter would appear to be academic, the tone of the argument is highly personal-- a characteristic of most of the antisemitic debate --with the phrase "lying idiot" appearing more than once. At one point, the argument suddenly shifts to the ideological plane: after asserting that "the Polish institute completely disagrees with [Leuchter's] conclusions," Keren adds, "not surprisingly, Winston says it is because "they are kissing up to the Zionists. Gee, I didn't know the Zionists rule Poland."

At this juncture, Winston temporarily abandons the "scientific" realm:

No, the Zionists don't officially rule Poland, but they've got everyone bent over the Big Holocaust Story Barrel, including the Poles.... It's very un Politically Correct to agree with Leuchter about ANYTHING now that he has shot a big hole through the Zionist's beloved, invaluable Holocaust Myth, but nevertheless, they agreed with the fundamental parts of his findings and kept as true to the truth in their report as they dared, with Zionist pressure looming over them like an iron cloud all the while.25
The fact that opponents are willing to debate such "evidence" can be seen as a victory of sorts for the Holocaust deniers. Reduced to a formula of "you bring your proofs and I'll bring mine," this kind of debate (in other entries, the very definitions of scientific research, suppositions and scientific tools are called into question) confers a certain academic legitimacy to antisemites --even if the level of discourse is far from academic.

This, however, remains the sole tactical gain of antisemites in the pseudo science debate. Their arguments are soundly rejected (of 32 responses, 30 were rebuttals) and, as with arguments incorporating antisemitic stereotypes, non Jews outnumbered self-declared Jews by a wide margin (22 to 8) in taking issue with the antisemites.

HOLOCAUST DENIAL AS A HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE

We fight for the light of truth!26
Antisemities score their greatest success with arguments focusing on their right to free speech and the public's "right to know." Even those who oppose antisemitism often feel compelled to defend antisemitic propaganda on these grounds. Censorship is abhorrent to most, and antisemites exploit this fact by insisting that a Zionist "conspiracy" is what prevents more widespread dissemination of their message.

The issue of free speech as it pertains to antisemitic propaganda is not a new one. Beginning in 1990, Holocaust revisionists sought to place articles, usually in the form of paid advertisements, in campus newspapers. A vigorous polemic ensued; in some places (as in Northwestern University, cited above) the articles were accepted and in others were not.27 Similarly, revisionist speakers were given access to some university campuses but not others. Echoes of this debate are now to be seen in the messages transmitted on the UseNet system.

The six "liberals" in this study are those who declare their opposition to the antisemitic message while at the same time supporting its continued presence on the UseNet system:

I am seriously confounded. On the one hand I firmly believe in the right to free speech. On the other hand I really hate to let such nonsense go unchallenged. I think that the answer is to let people speak freely. Let all people speak. The loonies and the non loonies.28
In similar vein, when an opponent asks "has anyone gone... and cut [Winston's] lips off yet? Seriously, is there no way this guy can be silenced?" he is chastised by another liberal:
Seriously, have you read the constitution lately? Or Voltaire? Can you read... or do you believe that civil rights should only apply to people who agree with you?
The irony is that in democratic societies we will always have runts like Ralph Winston and others, while in fascist and communist dictatorships such voices would be eliminated as a threat to the common ’security.’29
Yet another liberal counsels pragmatism, pointing out that while the First Amendment prevents the government from censoring antisemites, "individuals can choose to ignore them, not transmit their messages or verbally attack them."30

The six respondents who are "open to persuasion" are concerned not only with freedom of expression but also the virulent tone of what they consider to be an academic debate.31 Distressed by the ad hominem attacks that are a frequent part of the discussion, they express partial agreement with the antisemites' charges of extremism on the part of their opponents. One "neutral," for example, calls both parties to task, expressing his belief that the debate must be maintained on the level of an academic discourse, "without the emotional and political baggage which accompanies it"32 (such a call, as in the case of the debate regarding pseudo scientific arguments, has the effect of conferring legitimacy to both sides, thus granting a partial victory to the antisemites). In even sharper reaction to the virulent tone of the revisionist/opponents debate, another "neutral" states pointedly to an opponent, "I see in your entry more hatred than that of the men of the B CPU network,"33 while a third "neutral" asks, "are the opponents of revisionism prepared for violence against relatives of revisionists?"34 This final query indicates that antisemitic claims of harassment are taken quite seriously by some.35

The debate concerning freedom of expression drew responses from the entire range of participants. In all, 34 individuals took part in the discussions: 6 antisemites (all 4 "professionals" plus 2 others); 16 opponents (5 "Jewish" and 11 "non Jewish"); 12 "neutrals," (divided equally between "liberals" and those "open to persuasion"), and one self proclaimed anti Zionist opposed to antisemitism. What such data indicate is that this particular argument, more than any of the others, struck a responsive chord among a portion of highly educated UseNet subscribers.

CONCLUSION

To date, antisemitic propaganda has not been markedly successful in influencing the views of people active in the UseNet system. The data shown in Tables 1 and 2 demonstrates the vigorous opposition to such propaganda both among Jews and non-Jews. Material transmitted by four highly active "professional" antisemites received an entirely positive response from only six individuals and far more qualified support from six others (those "open to persuasion"). The main reason for this failure, it is postulated, is the relatively high intellectual sophistication of the UseNet audience, who are alert to arguments that are based on faulty reasoning or historical distortion.

Notwithstanding, antisemites have scored a number of tactical gains through their exploitation of the UseNet. The most important is the gradual acceptance of antisemitic propaganda, particularly Holocaust revisionism, as a subject for academic discourse -- despite the violent opposition it arouses. Rather than being dismissed (and ignored) as crackpots, antisemites are gaining a certain measure of acceptability. Therein lies the danger that the lies, half truths, and innuendos they disseminate may gradually come to influence less knowledgable or less sophisticated subscribers.

It is a mistake to ignore the dangers inherent in continued exploitation of the UseNet: as the system grows, so does the potential for its misuse. Antisemites, as has been shown, are loath to play by the rules of netiquette--and it is likely that antisemitic and other hate literature will not easily be banished from cyberspace.

Table 1: Number of Participants per Subject and Group
TYPE OF ARGUMENT ANTISEMITES  OPPONENTS  NEUTRALS  ANTI-ZIONIST 
. PROF. REG.  JEWISH  NON-JEWISH LIB.  OPEN .
DENIAL OF HISTORICAL FACTS 3 . 11 12 . . .
PSEUDO- SCIENTIFIC  3 2 8 16 . . .
FREEDOM OF SPEECH  4 2 4 9 6 6 .
ANTISEMITIC STEREOTYPES  4 6 7 29 . 5 .
DEFINITIONS OF ANTISEMITISM  2 1 4 7 . . .
ANTISEMITISM AND ANTI-ZIONISM  4 6 13 19 . 5 4
Table 2: Number of messages per subject and group 
TYPE OF ARGUMENT ANTISEMITES  OPPONENTS  NEUTRALS  ANTI-ZIONIST 
. PROF. REG.  JEWISH  NON-JEWISH LIB.  OPEN .
DENIAL OF HISTORICAL FACTS 25 . 20 21 . . .
PSEUDO- SCIENTIFIC  14 2 8 22 . . .
FREEDOM OF SPEECH  20 2 8 17 7 11 .
ANTISEMITIC STEREOTYPES  28 6 21 46 . 4 .
DEFINITIONS OF ANTISEMITISM  4 2 8 5 . . .
ANTISEMITISM AND ANTI-ZIONISM  23 6 19 23 . 9 9
Technical Notes

UseNet messages are essentially electronic dialogues, and as such are rarely recorded in any permanent way. In the notes below, messages are identified, whenever possible, by the message-ID appearing in the heading (when this is not available, the article number is given.) Other identifying information:

1) Sent by --this is followed by the user's identification tag line. In most cases, the user's name or alias appears afterwards in parentheses.

2) Also sent to-- many messages are transmitted to several newsgroups simultaneously.

3) Subject --this appears in the message header, put here in quotes.

4) In reference to--in many instances, a message will be sent in reply to a previous entry, whose ID tag is given in <>.

5) Date and time-- in most cases, the hour and minute of transmission are in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT); sometimes a different time zone (e.g., CPT) is indicated.

6) When available, the number of lines is also indicated.

Obvious typographical errors have been corrected in the quotes that appear in the text.

NOTES

1. Deborah E. Lipstadt Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory (New York: Free Press, 1993), pp. 123-136.

2. A number of large News Server groups provide worldwide UseNet services within the Internet system. There are also many smaller systems, some of which are operated by antisemitic groups. These are not dealt with in the current research. See David E. Low, "Hatemongering by Computer," ADL Bulletin, June 1985, pp. 1, 12-13.

3. See, for example: Article 49887.
In: talk.politics.mideast
From: ralphw@b cpu.UUCP (Ralph Winston)
Also sent to: misc.headlines, alt.activism, talk.politics.mideast
Subject: "’Inside the Auschwitz Gas Chamber’ by Fred A. Leuchter"
Date: 19 March 1992, 18:13:43 (PCT)
Organization: Banished CPU + 1 (503) 232 6566
In this transmission, subscribers are urged to "send $2 for a packet of literature and a full listing of books, audio cassettes and videotapes...." The "professional" antisemites also plug upcoming events and broadcasts. Jack Schmidling, for instance, invited UseNet subscribers to "tune in to the Amateur Radio Forum (ARF) Sunday evening at 9 p.m. Chicago time..." (Article 53784 of talk.politics.mideast, from arf!ddswl.MCS.COM [Jack Schmidling ¾ no date available]).

4. Many messages had several antisemitic "themes" and were thus recorded in more than one category.

5. Overloading a network and/or repeatedly sending messages that are inappropriate to the specific newsgroup are clear violations of netiquette. In retaliation, opponents may "flame" the originating site with dozens or even hundreds of hostile transmissions that can seriously disrupt daily operations of the network. This is what appears of have occurred in the case of the "Banished-CPU" site.

6. See, for example:
Message-ID: <1992Mar29.060734.16926@cbnewsl.cb.att.com>
From: stank@cbnewsl.cb.att.com (Stan Kreiger)

7. Article 13648 of talk.politics.mideast
Message-Id: <19925May145930.3995@ddswl.mcs.com>
From: arf@ddswl.mcs.com (Jack Schmidling)
Newsgroup: misc.headlines, talk.politics.misc, talk.plitics.mideast, alt.conspiracy
Subject: Perot on the Evil Empire
Date: 25 May 1992, 18:47:32 (GMT)
Organization: The Amateur Radio Forum
Lines: 53

8. Message-ID: <Nelson92Jul1310004442@cheetah.clarkson.edu>
From: nelson@sun.soc.clarkson.edu (Russ Nelson)
Also sent to: misc.headlines, talk.politics.misc
Subject: "Re: Schmidling is simply wrong"
Date: 31 July 1992, 05:44:42 (GMT)
Lines: 16 lines

9. The average line count is based on the "line number" field in the message header. When such a field was missing, it was estimated by number of pages. Thus there is a small margin of error ¾ insignificant, however, when compared with the difference in average between the various categories of senders.

10. Message ID: <syV1FB1w164w@b cpu.UUCP>
From: gmartin@b-cpu.UUCP (George Martin)
Sent to: alt.conspiracy, alt.activism, alt.censorship, talk.politics.misc
Date: 12 Feb. 1992, 08:26:27 (GMT)
Lines: 75 lines

11. See Lipstadt, Denying the Holocaust, see specially chapter 1 and 2.

12. Message-ID: <gate.JF5RiB1w164@b-cpu.UUCP>
From: ralph@b-cpu.UUCP (Ralph Winston)
Sent to: talk.politics.mideast., misc.headlines, talk.politics.misc., soc.misc.alt. Subject: "Want Facts? ’WHO RUNS THE MEDIA? The Alarming Facts’"
Date: 6 April 1992 01:31:42 (GMT)
Lines: 559 lines

13. From: dzk@cs.brown.edu (Danny Keren)
Subject: In reference to message-ID <RaFLiB1w164@b-cpu-UUCP> (George Martin) "Re: More Answers on Holocaust"
Date: 2 April 1992, 18:51:57 (GMT)

14. See Peter I. Haupt, "A Universe of Lies: Holocaust Revisionism and the Myth of a Jewish World Conspiracy," Patterns of Prejudice 25, no. 1 (1991), pp. 75 88.

15. Ralph Winston responding to:
message-ID: <BZS.92Mar26184905@ussr.std.com>
From: bzs@ussr.std.com (Barry Shein)
Date: 26 March 1992, 23:49:05 (GMT)

16. Danny Keren, "Re: More Answers on Holocaust."

17. Message-ID <BZS.92Mar6212225@ussr.std.com>
From: bzs@ussr.std.com (Barry Shein)
Sent to: alt.conspiracy, misc.headlnes, alt.activism, talk.politics.mideast Subject: "Re: Anti-Zionist/Anti-Semitic Scorecard (a la dfs.@doe.carleton.ca)" Date: 7 March 1992, 02:22:25 (GMT)

18. See, for example, Ralph Winston, "Want Facts? ’Who Runs the Media?’"

19. Message-ID: <gate.6s2DHB1w164@b-cpu.UUCP>
From: ralphw@b-cpu.UUCP (Ralph Winston)
Sent to: alt.censorship, alt.conspiracy, alt.discrimination, soc.history
Subject: "66 questions and answers on the holocaust." 10 March 1992. 405 lines

20.?

21. Message-ID: <1992May25.221804.9141@ziiid.guild.org>
From: overman@shape.mps.ohio-state.edu (Ed Overman)
Sent to: alt.conspiracy, alt.activism, alt.censorship, talk.politics.misc, soc.hist. Subject: "Part I: The Nazis Gassed Germans in Germany." 22 May 1992 17:55:02 (GMT). 417 lines

22. Message ID:
<CONSPO4.92Mar28164734@bingsuns.bingsuns.cc.binghamton.edu>
Sent by: conspo4@bingsums.cc.binghamton.edu (Dan Boyd)
Responding to message-ID: <gate.1ew8GB1w164w@b-cpu.UUCP> (Ralph Winston)
Date: 28 March 1992, 21:47:34 (GMT)

23. See, for example:
Message-ID: <Ke5+XA+@enging,umich.edu>
From: syubok@athena.mit.edu (The Terminator)
Sent to: talk.politics.mideast, alt.conspiracy, alt.discrimination, alt.activism Subject: "Re: False in UNG> False in Omnibus"
Date: 21 May 1992, 00:15:55 (GMT).
Lines: 23 lines

24. Message ID: <gate.a21BiB1w164w@b cpu.UUCP>, from ralphw@b-cpu.UUCP (Ralph Winston).
Sent to: talk.politics.mideast, misc.headlines, talk.politics.misc
Subject: "Polish Government's Findings Support Leuchter: gas chambers fake!" Date: 28 March 1992, 00:56:45 (PST)
Lines: 216 lines

25. Message-ID <gate.Du2kiB1w164w@b-cpu.UUCP>
From: ralphw@b-cpu.UUCP (Ralph Winston)
Sent to: alt.conspiracy, alt.censorship. alt.discrimination, soc.history, alt.activism
Subject: "Even *more* responses from... Ralph Winston (gasp!!!)"
Date: 2 April 1992, 05:52:36 (GMT)
Lines: 663 lines

26. Message-ID: <gate.komZibiw164e@b-cpu.UUCP>
From: maynard@b-cpu.UUCP (Maynard, "the Main Nerd" [alias for Ralph Winston])
Sent to: alt.conspiracy, misc.headlines, talk.politics.misc, talk.politics.mideast, soc.misc
Subject: "Call Banished CPU for *Real* Freedom of Speech!"
Date: 10 April 1992, 02:49:07 (GMT)
Lines: 51 lines

27. See Lipstadt, Denying the Holocaust, pp. 183-208.

28. Message ID <1992Mar13.171654.16230@cvedc.prime.com.>
From: cmr@cvedc.prime.com (Chesley Reyburn)
Sent to: alt.censorship, alt.conspiracy, alt.discrimination, soc.history
Subject: "Re: THE HOLOCAUST STORY: HOW MUCH IS FALSE? The Case for Open Debate."
Date: 13 March 1992, 17:16:54 (GMT)
Lines: 31 lines

29. Message ID: <1992May25.211552.11110@mnemosyne.cs.du.edu> From: ksand@apple.com (Kent Sandvik)
Sent to: alt.conspiracy
Subject: "Re: Ralph Winston"
Date: 4 April 1992, 01:25:38 (GMT)
Lines: 21 lines

30. Entry by gross@befax.uchicago.edu
Respondng to Message-ID: <1992Mar28053748.26745@anasaz> (John Moore).
Subject: "Re: Where is B-CPU, you ask?"
Date: 30 March 1992, 21:51:34 (GMT)

31. Message ID: <1002Apr20.220031:144SIIASTATE>EDU>
From: aric@wdil.wld.loral (Eric Scott Kuhnen)
Sent to: alt.activism, alt.censorship, alt.conspiracy, talk.politics.misc
Subject: "Re: Holocaust Myth"
Date: 17 April 1992, 20:58:08 (GMT)

32. Ibid.

33. Message ID: <seePcHBIvw001TASP@CtEdge.COM>
From: robert@CtEdge.COM
Sent to: alt.conspiracy, alt.activism 



Subject: "Re: B-CPU opens its doors to all hatemongers!!! Come one, come all!"
Date: 8 March 1992, 04:09:39 (PST).
Lines: 62 lines

34. Message ID: <1992 22 Apr 15:32:12 GMT>
From: fnord@panix.com (Cliff Heller)
Sent to: talk.politics.mideast, alt.activism, alt.censorship, alt.conspiracy, talk.politics.misc
Subject: "Re: Holocaust Myths"
Lines: 49 lines

35. Message ID: <SkuJB2w164@b cpu.UUCP>
From: gmartin@b-cpu.UUCP (George Martin)
Sent to: alt.conspiracy, misc.headlines, talk.politics.misc, talk.politics.mideast, soc.misc
Subject:" B CPU Faces Censorship, Again and more answers."
Date: 24 April 1992, 16:25:06 (GMT)



Tali Tadmor-Shimony was born in 1961 in Kiryat-Shmona, Israel. She is a researcher of Jewish history, completing her Ph.D. at the Institute of Contemporary Jewry, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, with a thesis on "National Identity and American Jewish Socialism (1917-1924)." She has published articles regarding twentieth centry American Jewish history.

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