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Poisoning the Web: Hatred Online
Internet Bigotry, Extremism and Violence
Table of Contents

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Responding to Extremist
Speech Online:

10 Frequently Asked Questions
Holocaust Denial:
David Cole and Roger Garaudy

Beyond the "revisionist" information posted at their Web sites, Holocaust deniers have demonstrated their extensive use of the Internet in responding to two events in 1998: the trial of Roger Garaudy and the "recantation" of David Cole.

In late 1997, a document entitled "David Cole: Monstrous Traitor" reportedly appeared on the Web site of the Jewish Defense League (JDL), a Jewish extremist group. The JDL's statement, attributed to Robert J. Newman, went far beyond criticizing Cole for denying the Holocaust, asserting in no uncertain terms that the JDL wished to "get rid" of him:

Don't you think it's time that we flush this rotten, sick individual down the toilet, where the rest of the waste lies? One less David Cole in the world will certainly not end Jew-hatred, but it will have removed a dangerous parasitic, disease-ridden bacteria from infesting society...An evil monster like this does not deserve to live on this earth.

At the document's close, the JDL offered a "monetary reward" for the location of David Cole, implying that it was prepared to take immediate, possibly violent, action.

Within a few months, a "Statement of David Cole" appeared on JDL's Web site, supposedly signed by Cole and notarized on January 5, 1998. In it, Cole renounced his Holocaust denial, explaining that he stopped expressing such beliefs in 1994. "During my four years as a denier, I was wracked with self-hate and loathing," he wrote. "The hate I had for myself I took out on my people." "The Nazis intended to kill all the Jews of Europe, and the final death toll of this attempted genocide was six million," Cole acknowledged. At the end of his "Statement," Cole claimed that it was "made freely and under no duress, and is quite willingly, even happily, given to Mr. Irv Rubin of the Jewish Defense League."

Unable to believe that one of their own would admit that the Holocaust is historical fact, numerous Holocaust deniers, from Bradley Smith and Ingrid Rimland to lesser-known figures on the Web and in Usenet newsgroups, complained that the JDL had forced Cole to recant.

Another cause célčbre among Holocaust deniers widely discussed on the Internet involved French Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy. On February 27, 1998, a French court found 84-year-old Garaudy guilty of violating a law that prohibits the questioning of crimes "against humanity." Also convicted for "racial defamation," he was fined 240,000 francs (roughly $40,000). These judgments stemmed from claims made in his 1995 book The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics, in which he denied that the Holocaust occurred, saying that Jews under Nazi control died of starvation and disease, not poison gas.

Significantly, Garaudy, a convert to Islam, received support during the trial from anti-Semitic Muslims in the Middle East. On January 19, 1998, about 70 Palestinian professors, journalists, and religious leaders protested in front of a French cultural center in support of Garaudy. The Islamic Human Rights Commission, an Iranian activist group, and Al-Khaleej, a United Arab Emirates newspaper, also defended Garaudy.

In their efforts to win support for Garaudy, both in the Middle East and elsewhere, Holocaust deniers employed the worldwide reach of the Internet to spread their message. During the trial, a Web site entitled Support Garaudy was created by the "Garaudy Support Committee." The site, which was registered in the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar, is available in Arabic and French as well as English, clearly indicating the deniers' desire to reach Arab and European readers. It portrays "Rajaa Garaudy" as an "international French Muslim thinker" who is "standing alone in the face of the Zionist arrogance." Support Garaudy links to Bradley Smith's CODOH Web site, where visitors can read the complete text of Garaudy's book.

Holocaust deniers used the Internet to update their supporters on the Garaudy case and voice their opinions about it. Support Garaudy and the CODOH Web site contained the text of, or links to, stories about the trial culled from newswires, and Ingrid Rimland's "Z-Gram" E-mail newsletter supplied breaking news on the topic. Additionally, Ernst Zündel used Rimland's "Z-Gram" to comment on the trial. "New inroads are being made in Revisionism in the Arab countries," he wrote. "Garaudy and his wife had been invited by the Egyptian Minister for Culture and Information to come to Egypt." In another "Z-Gram," Rimland wrote that Garaudy's conviction was "good news, because what do we have now in the Arab world? A dozen countries being notified the French are in the clutches of an enemy we share!"

Next: Ahmed Rami


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