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Note to the reader: It never ceases to amaze me how supposedly intelligent, well-intentioned government bureaucrats and agencies can embark on a course which is doomed to diminish the cause they profess to espouse. To date, I have received no response from Mr. Yalden. However, this letter was published in the December 6, 1996 issue of the Western Jewish Bulletin.


November 27, 1996

VIA E-MAIL

Mr. Max Yalden, Chairman
Canadian Human Rights Commission
320 Queen Street
Place de Ville, Tower A
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 1E1

Dear Mr. Yalden:

I am writing to express my concern regarding your comments, as reported in the following November 22/96 Canadian Press Report:

OTTAWA (CP)--In an unprecedented move, the Canadian Human Rights Commission has ordered hearings into complaints that Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel is promoting hatred on the Internet.

Commission head Max Yalden said Friday he believes the commission has the jurisdiction to shut down Zundel's Web site, even though it's based at a Web server in California.

"The signal's being picked up here, and where it's originating doesn't make any difference," said Yalden.

Zundel's site contains material disputing the Holocaust and detailing his numerous legal battles.

There is no technical way for Canadian Internet companies to block Zundel's site, but Yalden said the commission has jurisdiction over telephonic communications and Internet messages are transmitted over telephone lines.

He said the commission's aim is "to stop (Zundel's) signal if we can. It's not all that easy, but that would be our intention, to stop him from doing that (posting material on the web)."

If you have been quoted correctly, then I must express my dismay that your views reflect a complete lack of understanding about the Internet and how it functions.

Let me state, without reservation, that I am a member of the Canadian Jewish community who has always found Zundel's publicity-seeking diatribes, lies - and his distortions of reality and historical fact - to be beneath contempt. These publications, from which he derives income, are promoted on his web pages through which he attempts to merchandise his material and to solicit the financial support of like-minded individuals and of those on whose ignorance he preys.

I am also a volunteer co-webmaster of The Nizkor Project [ http://www.nizkor.org ], an award-winning and much respected Canadian website - with links and mirrors throughout the cyber-universe. Nizkor is arguably the repository of more hate-filled racist propaganda than any website one is likely to find on the Internet - including Zundel's. An electronic resource for those who seek the facts pertaining to the historicity of the Holocaust, Nizkor also monitors and documents the material of Holocaust deniers, such as Zundel, so as to assist others in exposing and refuting their material which is nothing less than an assault on truth.

No reasonable, self-respecting person would disagree with the assessment that Zundel is promoting hatred. By the same token, no reasonable self-respecting person would disagree that the only results of the proposed action of the CHRC against Zundel will be to diminish the credibility of the CHRC and to give Zundel the publicity he craves - thereby guaranteeing him a platform, from which he will engender sympathy as you permit him to pronounce his further martyrdom to the cause of "freedom of speech."

Again, if you have been quoted correctly in the CP report, I respectfully - and strongly - urge you to reconsider the course on which you have determined the Commission will embark. I would also respectfully suggest that - regardless of the outcome of these proposed hearings - those funds currently designated for this purpose would accomplish far more if the Commission were to find a way of redirecting them towards supporting the work of The Nizkor Project.

The Zikaron Tolerance and Remembrance Society [*], is registered as a non-profit charitable organization by Revenue Canada. I know that the Board of Directors of the Society, who have established a fund to support the needs of The Nizkor Project, would be most appreciative. And you can be assured that while neither you nor the CHRC can "stop Zundel's signal," you will have taken a concrete step towards ensuring that it is significantly weakened.

[*] Mailing Address: The Zikaron Tolerance and Remembrance Society, 6540 East Hastings Street, Suite 221, Burnaby, BC V5B 4Z5

Yours truly,

Hilary Ostrov

[phone number and snail mail address in original. hro]

cc. Editor, Jewish Western Bulletin


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