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November 01, 1991 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-11-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I OPINION

A Newspaper Advertisement
Is A Serious Responsibility

PHIL JACOBS

Managing Editor

N

ext time, let's just
take a full-page black
swastika and print it
on the backside of a news-
paper. Then, let's wrap
ourselves up in the Ameri-
can flag and talk about First
Amendment rights.
You think that is
preposterous? Check out last
Thursday's Michigan Daily.
They did it. They just used
words instead of symbols. In
case you didn't get an oppor-
tunity to see it, this
"prestigious" college news-
paper ran a paid ad that
claims Nazis didn't gas the
Jews. In fact, the showers
they used were to delouse
the Jews. Why were the
Jews emaciated? The adver-
tisers believe the Germans,
in a war-time economy,
simply were concerned about
feeding the rest of their
population first.
Someone at the Michigan
Daily made a terrible error,
but don't even dignify it by
calling it poor judgement. It
was in effect no-judgement. I
don't want to talk about that
anymore. Instead, I want
those, including the editor of
the Michigan Daily, to try
and feel the pain of the Holo-
caust.
Let's snap a photograph
here. Two little children, one
is 3 years old, the other 5.
Three-year-olds, whether
they are in a day care center
because both parents work,
or they are in their backyard
on the swings, should be do-
ing a fair amount of
laughing, and playing with
toy figures such as Big Bird
or Bert and Ernie.
But let's get back to our
photograph. There's our 3-
year-old boy with a jacket
covering his naked chest, a
pair of ripped shorts and
only one shoe. He's not cry-
ing, he's howling. He wants
his mommy. He doesn't want
his mommy because he's cut
his finger or because some-
one won't share. His mommy
has been forced away at
gunpoint. He's on the street
alone. Who is hugging this
child? His 5-year-old sister.
His 5-year-old sister!
See their faces. Look in
their eyes and look at their
starving bodies and look at
the way they are traumatiz-
ed. There's no one to play
with now. Nobody is tucking
them in bed anymore. Do
the words "tucking them in"

or "Big Bird" stay out of
your aperceptive mind?
Wake up. People use these
words every day.
The face of a child of the
Holocaust can keep you
awake at night, once you've
seen it . . . that is if you are
really in touch with what
human rights really are.
Nobody in the Germany of
the late 1930s protected this
child's First Amendment
rights. By printing what it
did, and wrapping itself in
the First Amendment, the
Michigan Daily is justifying
the absence of rights of mill-
ions of Holocaust victims.
Does keeping this ad out of
the newspaper slap the First
Amendment in the face? I
think not. Because the First
Amendment and the other
great freedoms of this coun-
try aren't something you fool
around with. You are not

Does keeping this
ad out of the
newspaper slap the
First Amendment in
the face?

mischievous with them. If
you want to talk about the
six million who died in the
Holocaust, do it in a respon-
sible way. Bring in people
who have tatooed numbers
on their arms. Let them
debate the doubters. Cover
community forums based on
the issues, the hard issues.
But don't stop pointing
fingers and hiding. You are
pointing instead at
yourselves.
Would you run an ad that
says there are no such thing
as homeless people? Why
not, it's a free country isn't
it? Would you run an ad de-
nying that Afro-Americans
came here in shackles amid
such squalor that many
didn't make it alive out of
the excrement around them
in the holds of transport
ships?
The First Amendment
guarantees the freedom of
the press — to print what it
wishes. It does not guar-
antee a public outlet for the
revisionists in someone
else's newspaper. The pro-
tection, and the responsibili-
ty, lie squarely on the
shoulders of the editors and
the publishers of the Mich-
igan Daily.
If there's anything at all
positive about all of this, at
least people are talking
about it. At least the com-

munity, not just the Jewish
community but the entire
community, expressed their
anger. That's been a
positive.
Lord knows there are plen-
ty of other issues to debate
and discover. There were
times when I would come
home late from playing ice
hockey at a rink near the in-
ner city of Baltimore. At 1 in
the morning I'd be driving
past subsidized high-rise
buildings in the middle of
winter, when no one else was
around. Time and time
again I would see tiny
toddlers walking hand-in-
hand with a teen-age mother
on the street. All three of
them were children, and all
three should have been in
warm rooms, sound asleep.
Let's face the real issues as
people, as journalists. There
are still abused children dy-
ing of hunger in this coun-
try, in this world. There are
so many areas we could get
into, so many stories to tell.
An ad in a leading college
newspaper denying that 1
million children, a
multitude, a_ generation,
never died at the hands of
Hitler, does not belong in
any newspaper that believes
in First Amendment rights.
If you believe it does, you
are encouraging in your own
way the undermining of
something you should hold
very near and dear — your
own First Amendment
rights.

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THE HOLOCAUST CONTROVERSY:
The Case For Open Debate

By Bradley R. Smith

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The ad in the Michigan Daily.

The brother and the sister
on the sidewalk had no
rights. They had no food.
They had no life.
There were plenty of
newspaper ads back then
that made sure of it. Runn-
ing an ad disputing the
Holocaust should cause pain
in all of us. The memories
alone should serve as
enough of a reminder. We
don't need anyone to update
the pain.
On the flip side, those that
actually believe in the so-
called "myth of the six mill-
ion" can point to an ad in a
credible student newspaper
and use this ad for credibili-

ty. It might not mean much
by itself now. But in the col-
lective, when we read about
men like David Duke becom-
ing political powers, blacks
using anti-Semitic epithets
in the streets of Crown
Heights and now an adver-
tisement in a respected uni-
versity's student newspaper
disputing our darkest hour,
it's time for Jews to pay at-
tention and for everyone to
work hard to keep all of this
from getting worse.
In a world where life is
becoming cheaper, terrorism
and hate don't need adver-
tisements. They're doing
quite well without them. ❑

Fanning Farrakhan's Flame

GARY ROSENBLATT

Editor

I've got a great
idea here but
you're going to
get upset. So I'll
just come out
and say it and
then explain.
Let's have Jew-
ish organizations, and
especially the B'nai B'rith
Hillel movement, sponsor a
national speaking tour on col-
lege campuses for the Rev.
Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharp-
ton, Kwame Ture (formerly
Stokely Carmichael), David
Duke and a variety of neo-
Nazis.

See, I knew you'd be upset.
But think about it logical-
ly. Given that Jewish organ-
izations are desperate to
counter the assimilation

trend in this country, par-
ticularly among young peo-
ple, and given that the big-
gest turn-on for Jewish kids
on college campuses is to
protest the appearance of
anti-Jewish speakers like
the Rev. Farrakhan, why not
have him, and others like
him, speak on as many cam-
puses as possible? I guar-
antee that large numbers of
Jewish students will voice
their protests with pickets,
rallies and debates.
What better way to inspire
Jewish students than to
challenge their complacent
attitudes toward Jewish
survival and have them con-
front, face to face, those who
would have us powerless, if
not worse.
The facts are that it's
effective. While most
students do not attend
Sabbath services at Hillel or

come out to hear an address
from an Israeli represent-
ative discussing the merits
of Zionism, tell them that
Louis Farrakhan is coming
to preach his anti-Jewish
venom and they'll be lining
up to organize against him.
This is not only true of col-
lege students. Too many of
us identify Jewishly out of
negative, rather than
positive, emotions. Offer us a
chance to go to synagogue
and we'll pass. But call us a
"dirty Jew," or worse, and
we'll be overflowing with
Jewish pride.
This speaks to a flaw in the
American JeWish psyche,
reflected in the fact that we
respond best to crisis and
threats and to defining
ourselves as victims. Take
Israel, for example.
Most of us recognize our
Continued on Page 22

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

7

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