Brad Smith and the Hillel Rabbis

By Ingrid Rimland


April 8, 2000

Bradley Smith is the one who causes ruckuses on campuses. He sends them an ad, and the campus goes wild. It is a spectacle.

Just recently there was another one somewhere where a student - or was it a prof? - ceremoniously put a match to the offending object, the Smith Revisionist Ad. Revisionists had a hay day with that one and put the "Hitler Burning Books" and the "American Students Burning Books" photos side by side for all the cyber world to admire - and to ponder how Hitler's War has managed to come to American shores, after all.

Besides liking Bradley as a genuinely good and funny person, I have a soft spot in my heart for Bradley as a writer. He knows, as he once said, how we scribes "wool the word." So when I found the little gem below, written quite some time ago, I thought I would give you a treat and him a plug for CODOH ( a website endeavor over which he presides.

(I trust he will forgive me that I couldn't resist editing a bit and added a few carriage returns where he had big, fat paragraphs...).

Here's Bradley:

(Excerpted from A Simple Writer, a work in progress.)

The essay I run as an advertisement in student newspapers on university campuses is making the Hillel rabbis crazy: "The Holocaust Controversy: The Case for Open Debate." It kicked off at Michigan, then went to Duke, Cornell, Northern Illinois and Rutgers. Before I'm finished it'll be in a dozen others.

Last April I published an earlier version of the article in the Daily Northwestern. It's about 4,000 words. It's beautiful. The rabbis are furious. They don't have much influence among Jews at large but on university campuses they know how to put the fear of G-d into the Gentiles.

On every campus where there's a significant number of Jewish students there's a Hillel, usually with a rabbi fronting it. Wherever Holocaust revisionism rears its point of view the furious Hillel rabbis are there to crush it. They think they're back in the Garden, jousting with the serpent.

Hillel is the campus mouthpiece for B'nai B'rith. It monitors public debate on American campuses from a Zionist perspective. It's the leading private Jewish intelligence agency on college campuses dedicated to serving what it believes are Jewish goals, mistakenly.

Preaching against hate while working as censors, the rabbis agitate against a free exchange of ideas. They don't understand that what's hateful is to deny others the right to reveal what they truly think and feel.

The rabbis convince me that they have broad political agendas but no spiritual one. The Hillel rabbis have become the Jimmy Swaggarts of the Holocaust. Ignorant of what they profess to be experts in, sweaty with self-righteousness and bad faith, ever ready to crush the right to freely exchange ideas which is the ideal that a free society turns upon. What a disaster these rabbis are for American Jews.

How many Jewish kids are going to be sacrificed in order to condemn the unbelievers? Sex isn't the achilles heel of these kosher evangelicals. Pride is, and a lust to control the thoughts of others. They're turning the Holocaust story into a Jewish cult, complete with an immense crank literature of infallible texts, crazy miracles, saintly eye-witness tales of miraculous escapes from nazi devils and all of it protected by taboos and media witch trials that condemn as heretics those of us who no longer believe what we no longer believe.

The rabbis act like they believe they're living in a culture foreign to them, pressing Jewish students and others into the service of a cult committed to the overturn of American idealism. Rabbis who work to destroy those who argue for open debate on the Holocaust texts represent a New Inquisition.

These Jewish Torquemadas have the media rack waiting for all who disagree with them about the truthfulness and historical accuracy of their sacred Holocaust texts. Revisionist theory is on the Hillel index of forbidden thought. In 20th century America the rabbis believe the proper punishment for expressions of doubt about what the rabbis believe is public disgrace and financial ruin.

With guys like me, the Hillel rabbis have an insoluble problem. Disgrace means nothing to me and I have no money. I've been disgraced now for years. As a man of action, I accept disgrace. As a pragmatist, I accept poverty.

The rabbis, full of their lust for dominion, don't understand that inwardly they're trapped. They don't understand yet that I'm here to help free them, to help point the way for them to a new freshness of spirit. In the old days some Jews felt in their bones that pride goeth before a fall. Today the rabbis have no sense of that. They've put all their eggs in one basket. Influence means everything to them, liberty nothing. They're living in another, psychologically more primitive era. They remember the ghettos of Eastern Europe but haven't yet opened their eyes to the wonderful vistas in America of liberty and free thought.

I'm going to help fix this for them. I'm going straight ahead exposing the Holocaust story for what it is. I've accepted the responsibility for helping our rabbis, no matter what their religious background, no matter what profession they follow, to get a hard look at American idealism. That's how men of action put it together. I'm a door through which unassimilated rabbis will come to the real America. Hallelujah! (...)

Reporters want to know how I feel about the fact that I am condemned so harshly by so many professors and so many men and women in the Jewish community. Scores of articles, interviews and opinion-page pieces condemning me as a racist, anti-Semite and hater. Editorial writers for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and who knows how many other papers have all indulged themselves with condemning me.

I find the attention interesting and encouraging. A reporter for the New York Times writes that my wife has to clean houses to help me make ends meet. Jews write me letters saying that's what I deserve, a wife who's a cleaning woman.

I accept the ridicule, the charges of being a hater, the contempt. That's part of what the work is. Bringing those charges against me publicly is the first halting step taken in my direction by those who most need to be in better relationship with me.

It's been suggested that my sensibilities have been coarsened over the years by the anger others feel toward me and that that's why I'm not much bothered by being a target for it. I believe such attacks make me more sensitive, not less - particularly toward Jews.

It isn't the acceptance of anger that coarsens sensibilities, but the rejection of it. Any rejection of relationship is stasis. Acceptance is action.

Five years ago there were very few in the Holocaust Lobby who felt they had to condemn me personally for my views. Revisionism didn't count and I didn't count. The outrage that's being expressed over the Campus Project is one sign that the game is starting to play itself out in the theater of public life. That the contest is joined.

All the forces of the Lobby are being brought to bear to stop the project. The difference between myself and those who condemn me is that I look forward to the play. I'm not angry with the other players. I'm just happy that the curtain is going up at last. I await the unfolding of the dramatic line with eager attention. I don't much care who wins and loses. With me, the play itself is the thing. (...)

The job has my attention, it keeps me busy day and night, it's worthwhile work but I have no passion for it. It's the contest as much as anything that keeps me going. The odds. It's a million to one I won't be able to accomplish anything significant in exposing the Holocaust story for what it is. There's something about those odds that excites me. (...)

A young man calls from Los Angeles asking about the scandal I've set off at the University of Michigan. News travels fast. He sounds incredulous. Tonight I dream that he appears at our window and peers in at us at the dinner table. He's a little Jewish guy with a big hooked nose and snaggled teeth. I invite him in, introduce him to everyone and put a place for him at the table. We talk about many things but don't get around to the Holocaust story.

Later he says: "When you invited me in--that was heavy." (...)

One night while walking on the beach at Pondicherry Harvey heard a voice speak out of the darkness: "You can not transform what you have not blessed." After a moment the voice said: "You can never transform what first you have not accepted and blessed."

The words strike a deep note in me. I'm not sure why. I think once more about how useless it is to search and how valuable it is to be aware of where you are and to remain open. Everything is coming to you all the time. Then thought recalls how Jesus taught that it's a virtue to love our enemies and I see the relationship between that idea and the necessity to accept and bless what you want to see transformed.

I've got to bless the Hillel rabbis and dismiss my contempt for them. Not them, but their behavior. (...)

When the rabbis denounce me as their enemy, sometimes I return the favor. I have a clever talent for that sort of thing. Later I always regret having used it.

There's a time in life when every one of us is blessed, while those who age and look for enemies and avoid painful truths and disseminate falsehoods are already burdened with a terrible weight. Maybe I can be counted among such people; certainly the Hillel rabbis can. F

rom this night on, while I will not accept their bad behavior, I am going to accept them as men and women and bless them with my good will, my patience and my radical cooperation.


Thought for the Day:

"The Hillel rabbis are to the students what the Soviet commissars were to the Red Army."

(Ilya Ehrenburg, the Jewish journalist whose rabid anti-German hate messages sent the Red Army on a rampage of murder and rape all across Eastern Europe in the last years of WWII)




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