Jewish Group in Australia Fights Against Freedom of Speech & Open Scholarship
Jewish Group in Australia Fights Against Freedom of Speech & Open Scholarship;
Claims Denial of Holocaust by Australia’s Adelaide Institute Website is Racist
Sydney, Australia, March 11, 1998, Sydney Morning Herald, By JON MARSH, Ethnic Affairs Writer –
The first federal human rights case alleging race hatred on the Internet was heard in Sydney yesterday.
The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission heard a complaint from a Jewish group about a website which published denials that the Nazis murdered Jews in World War II death camps.
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry brought the case against the Adelaide Institute under the Racial Discrimination Act.
The Adelaide Institute’s representative at the hearing, Mr Fredrick To¨ben, walked out in protest, claiming the proceedings were “immoral”.
Mr Jeremy Jones, executive vice-president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, told the hearing: “The Adelaide Institute has published material which constitutes malicious anti-Jewish propaganda.
“Not only does the home page contain denial of the Nazi genocide of the Jews and blames Jews for the crimes of Stalin but, in other directories, material is reproduced which makes statements such as “the well-connected Jewish lobby wants to signal to those who are aware of their various rackets and schemes, that if you cross them as an individual, or as a nation, then they will boycott, hound, persecute and ultimately punish you’.”
Mr Jones said some members of the Jewish community found the material offensive, humiliating, insulting and intimidating.
“The Nazi Holocaust is the single most researched, analysed, interpreted and debated matter of modern, if not world, history,” he said. “The Adelaide Institute’s material is not supported by any academically acceptable standard of research and the respondent to this complaint is in a serious position to know that the material he presents as facts is discredited by all serious researchers.”
Mr To¨ben, who runs the Adelaide Institute from South Australia, said after the hearing: “I walked out of the proceedings because I asked the commissioner if truth was a defence. I did not get an answer and said the proceedings were immoral.
“This is a test case about Net censorship in Australia. It is worse than an inquisition. We have concluded that there was no proof of homicidal gassing during World War II.
“We are willing to discuss the issues – this is what the Human Rights Commission is meant to be about but we are being blocked.”
Mr To¨ben said the Adelaide Institute had been running for five years with “lots” of supporters but would not say how many. The website has been running since May 1996.
The case was adjourned pending further legal submissions and a ruling by the commissioner, Ms Kathleen McEvoy. If both parties do not agree with the ruling, the case can be pursued in the federal courts.
“The Executive Council of Australian Jewry is seeking to reinforce the Australian value of tolerance and the principle that all Australians have a right to live their lives free of racial harassment and intimidation,” Mr Jones said.