AR-Online logo 



Posted Friday, September 18, 1998

September 15, 1998

Ad sparks annual controversy

By Ernie Suggs, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

IN HER ROLE to help maintain the cultural identities of Jewish college students in metro Atlanta, Heidi Berger annually finds herself perplexed with the attitudes of student journalists at Georgia State University.

For the third consecutive year, The Signal, GSU's student-run newspaper, has run an advertisement paid by Bradley Smith's Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust that questions if the Holocaust really happened.

Appearing in the Sept. 8 edition, the ad offers $250,000 to anyone who can arrange a nationally televised debate between CODOH and the Anti-Defamation League, which combats anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination, on such issues as whether gas chambers were used to exterminate Jews and if "The Diary of Anne Frank" is fiction, not fact.

"We believe and understand that this is not an issue of free speech," said Berger, the Metro Campus Program director for Atlanta YAD, the Jewish Young Adult Agency. "But this is ethically wrong. For a university that talks about diversity, allowing an ad to run like this doesn't reflect well on them. People forget that Jewish students are another type of minority group."

Berger said her organization has tried to talk with representatives of The Signal, but that the students who run it, "haven't understood our perspective."

Jennifer J. Smith, editor of The Signal, said it isn't a matter of understanding a perspective.

She said The Signal's ad policy states that ads will not be rejected because of the political or personal views of the person or group running it.

[OK]"It is a noble thing not to offend anyone, but the implication of picking and choosing what you are going to run based on what you like and identify with scares me very much," Smith said.

Two GSU Jewish student groups haven't met yet this year, so there has been no discussion of the ad, said Mark Budnitz, a law professor and faculty adviser.

"Speaking as an individual, I think a newspaper has a greater obligation than printing anything that someone pays for," he said.

"This was not a freedom of speech or debate issue. This is just a bunch of scurrilous charges that are creating bad feelings among the student body."

But Smith said only about 10 students have asked her about the ad.

Jim Scott, vice president for student services at GSU, said the paper is partially funded by the university through student activity fees but "we can't tell the paper what they can print and what they can't print.

"We sort of leave it to their judgment to make the decision."

John Day, director of diversity education programs at GSU, said the incident can be used to stimulate dialogue on campus.

"Hopefully, through the educational process, we will help students understand different groups and show them that this is offensive to them."

© 1998 Cox Interactive

Our opinion
  WITH HIS tongue-in-cheek offer of a quarter of a million dollars -- "tongue-in-cheek", altho' the funds are actually there -- to any student who can arrange the television confrontation, Bradley Smith has hit the traditional enemies of free speech at a vulnerable place. He has aroused curiosity, and thousands of students are now surfing to his CODOH Website to see what the fuss is all about.

They are intellectually capable of making up their own minds and, we say, good luck to them.

The above news item is reproduced without editing other than typographical
 Register your name and address to go on the Mailing List to receive

[ Go back to AR Online Index | Index to AR.#14 | Go to Main Action Report Index ]

Order books | Auschwitz Index | Irving Index | Irving Page | Irving Book-List | Other FP Authors
Buchladen | Auschwitz | Irving-Verzeichnis | -Hauptseite | -Bücher | Weitere FP-Autoren
© Focal Point 1998 write to David Irving