Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ron Paul website defends neo-Nazi Ernst Zundel

The Daily Paul, a blog associated with the Ron Paul campaign, has published a column defending neo-Nazi publisher Ernst Zundel. Zundel was recently released after serving several years in prison in Germany. He was convicted of crimes connected with his decades-long campaign of disseminating neo-Nazi propaganda in Germany. Promotion of race hatred is a crime under German law, although the standards for proving such crimes are stringent. Starting in the 1970s, Zundel published countless books and pamphlets promoting Nazism and Holocaust denial through his publishing house Samisdat Publishing, which was located in Canada. He was convicted in connection with his shipping massive amounts of this material to Germany, where it played an important role in organizing the contemporary neo-Nazi movement. Titles he published included pro-Nazi works such as The Hitler We Loved and Why; UFOs -- Nazi Secret Weapon?, German Secret Weapons of World War II; Secret Nazi Polar Expeditions; and Holocaust denial works such as The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, by Arthur Butz; A Straight Look at the Third Reich and The Six Million Swindle, by Austin App; and Auschwitz, Dachau, Buchenwald: The Greatest Fraud in History, by Richard Harwood. Zundel and his supporters continue to publish anti-Semitic material via a website called  (Read more about Zundel here and here.)

The Ron Paul supporters at the Daily Paul have a different view of things. In a post headlined Holocaust Denial is a Crime? (read here), they've concluded that the answer to that question should be no.  Here's what the post's author "sempiternal" writes:

This is insane. Apparently if you question or don't believe the Holocaust story, then you are a criminal in multiple countries.
A criminal for not believing something? Am I missing something? I've never even heard of this ridiculousness before, which probably shouldn't be a surprise given the horribly corrupt state of America media. The story checks out though, it's surreal - 1984 for real;
In several European countries, including Germany, Austria, Belgium, Poland, Spain and France, Holocaust denial is a specific criminal offence. In Canada, Holocaust denial can be prosecuted as a hate crime.
Zundel released from German prison
Ernst Zundel, who was freed on Monday after serving five years in a German prison for denying the Holocaust, said he did not know whether he would try to return to Canada.
I saw this today and couldn't believe the irony and absurdity of sending people to jail for what they say and believe, especially since the very subject is about the imprisonment and killing of Jews for believing in Judaism.
Was anyone else here even aware of this?

Contrary to what the Ron Paul campaign website claims, Zundel was not imprisoned for "not believing something", but for promoting racial hatred in a decades long campaign in which he was a key organizer.  This involved publishing and distributing many thousands of copies of books and pamphlets devoted to falsified history and hate speech.  Zundel worked in this crusade with an international network of fellow neo-Nazis with the intention of promoting that cause.  He was not convicted of not believing in somthing, but of campaigning to promote racial hatred in a country where they know first hand where ignoring such a threat can lead.

While the Daily Paul is anxious to defend the neo-Nazi Ernst Zundel as being innocent of any crime, they are more than happy to convict others.  Take President Obama, who they have convicted of  war crimes (here), treason (here) and unnamed offenses purportedly stemming from promoting immigration amnesty, a position which he has not actually taken.  They have also organized a campaign to impeach President Obama based on -- well, I read the petition but the actual charges are a little difficult to discern.  They involve absurd allegations that Obama was born in Kenya and has committed immigration and election fraud by claiming to have been born in Hawaii.  (Read here.)  Please read these columns before you write me to say that the Daily Paul's charges against Obama are hyperbolic, ironic, or otherwise not to be taken literally.  This website is filled with absurdly strident columns literally charging that President Obama should be convicted of various crimes.

It's not only the president who gets this treatment from the Daily Paul.  Check out the post headlined "the real patriot act" authored by a Ron Paul supporter calling himself "patriot till death".  (Read here.)  Here it is in it's entirety:

exposing,identifying,arresting,prosecuting and upon conviction of treason, executing zionist traitors is not is however our lawful, constitutional and patriotic duty as americans to preserve, protect and defend our constitution and the republic it defines against all enemies foreign and domestic.
We also have a moral obligation to past, present and future generations of a truly free and independent people.
for more information on how you can help please contact your local police,state police and or county sheriff.

also please visit these very informative web sites.

read these books
the international jew/the worlds foremost problem by henry ford
war is a racket by usmc general butler
pawns in the game by admiral william guy carr

youtube........911/zionists ............wake up america!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
this needs to be printed out and passed to all americans asap!!!!!!!! get to work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Since September 2008, the Daily Paul has had that anti-Semitic screed advocating killing Zionists on their website, where it's attracted a large number of supportive comments.  This as the Daily Paul defends one of the world's most influential neo-Nazis against his conviction for committing real and very harmful crimes.

There continues to be some very troubling things about the Ron Paul campaign.


Robert said...

I don't see anything explicitly anti-Semitic about the post at the Daily Paul. Protecting the rights of racists and political extremists to publish and distribute their work is compatible with a polity that encourages free expression. I'd even argue that we're *obligated* to defend the rights of extremists and Holocaust deniers like Zundel, if we believe in free expression. That's an uncomfortable position to take, given the kind of characters we're talking about, but I think it's the right one. And the fact that it's uncomfortable is all the more reason to defend it. It's too easy to squash the loonies on the fringe, and it sets a bad precedent, even in Germany, with its history.

Now, given the Daily Paul's penchant for acting like an exhaust pipe of the American far right, this is not too surprising. (Thank you for keeping tabs on them, too, and others. It's why I read this blog.) And given the double standards of what counts as expression that should and should not be protected, we can see where the Daily Paul shows its sympathies. Although it's not explicitly anti-Semitic, it's implicitly so, as is the line, "Apparently if you question or don't believe the Holocaust story, then you are a criminal in multiple countries."

Notice the blogger uses the term "Holocaust story" -- not simply Holocaust. It's just a story, in his mind, like others, which may or may not be true, not to be treated as an established fact.

Adam Holland said...


Of course, I defend the First Amendment here in the U.S., and Zundel has the right to publish here, but Germany is different. They really feel the threat of a resurgence of pro-Nazi sentiment and want to stop it before it gets a foothold. Zundel was not just someone who "disbelieved" in the Holocaust, he was involved in organizing a neo-Nazi movement in Germany, and the Germans are legitimately concerned about such things.

I understand that Zundel was convicted under laws prohibiting promoting racial hatred, not for Holocaust denial per se. While he didn't directly commit violent acts, under the law in Germany, he was responsible for promoting them. A similar exception to free speech in the U.S. is that threats of violence against individuals can be considered criminal. Similarly, civil law in the U.S. can hold hate speakers liable for violent acts they inspire. The German law goes a bit farther down that track.

The idea that is in anyway comparable to Nazi restrictions on free speech is completely over the top. This law is used sparingly, has a very high burden of proof, is subject to fair adjudication, can be freely debated by German legislators, and has been challenged in court by those who oppose it. This isn't the Nazis burning books (and their authors). This is a bulwark against those who would return to that era.

With respect to whether this post is anti-Semitic, I think you're on the right track when you note the use of the term "Holocaust story". Hell of a story, that Holocaust story.

Robert said...

I should apologize for not making my comment more clear. My line that it sets a bad precedent, in Germany, with its history, made it sound like I was comparing criminal penalties against Holocaust denial with Nazi-era laws. That wasn't my intention at all. That would be highly inflammatory and show a profound ignorance of the difference between fascism and the attempts made by democratic governments to prevent it. My bad. Poor language.

I meant to say that even in Germany, where it is necessary to treat neo-Nazi movements with the utmost seriousness, we should nonetheless avoid criminal penalties on those expressing fascist views on free speech grounds.

In any case, you point out that Zundel was prosecuted under German hate speech laws. But I'm unconvinced that neo-Nazism is a serious threat to the democratic order. The NPD is marginal, and is so thoroughly infiltrated by the security services it's hard to believe that even in extremely dire circumstances the party would be able to do much of anything (though I'm willing to listen to evidence to the contrary). Nazi sentiment is, however, highly offensive and very taboo in Germany, which leads me to believe that the motivation for continuing the laws has much to do with that. I don't think that's a very good standard.

Adam Holland said...


These laws have their roots in the period of de-Nazification, when Nazis were still committing terrorist acts. No one (except Zundel and his friends?) believes that the Nazis will take power again or pose a threat to national security, but they continue to pose a threat comparable to that posed by the Klan in this country in the 60s. In most of the U.S., cross burning and covering one's face (i.e. with a hood) are crimes. Those limitations on free speech rights are (or were) considered necessary to prevent Klan violence. These laws in Germany are of that order.

Now take a look at what's happening in countries like Hungary, and tell me that there isn't significant fascist support looking to scapegoat Jews and Roma for economic troubles and crime. Should Germany suffer a depression, I hate to think of the demons lying below that seemingly calm exterior. Not that they will go Nazi, but that the Nazis will go crazy.

Robert said...

I can't deny there is significant pro-fascist sentiment in Eastern Europe. At the same time, fascism didn't take power in Germany due simply to economic circumstances.

I think it was Robert Paxton who said that fascism spread most virulently in young, immature democracies (which could be interpreted as a warning about Eastern Europe). In Germany, there was a decade of civil unrest, a significant communist movement which frightened conservatives into siding with the far right, and resentment towards foreign powers perceived as exploiters, following an unresolved war many Germans felt they hadn't lost. That last point, in particular, is unthinkable today, and I doubt many Germans want to return to a political climate where annexing the Ostland has popular currency. But I suppose one can never be too sure.

Moving in reverse order, cross burning is not in itself illegal in the United States. It must be proven whether or not the act is intended to intimidate. If a Klan group burned a cross on the lawn of a black family, which is certainly political and racial terrorism, then the group can face charges. A Klan group can organize on private property and burn crosses on their own time, I think. And they can demonstrate in public, quite openly in fact.

Now, if it is as serious in Germany as you believe it is, then I'll grant due deference. There are circumstances where the power of the state to prevent the growth of a significant fascist movement is warranted. If I lived in Germany, I may side with your argument. It's easy to make my argument when I'm not walking past them on the sidewalk, or when coming home from a pub or seeing them outside my window. I think I'm going to close out this discussion, but it's been a good one and I'll be reading regularly.

Adam Holland said...

Thanks for your contribution, Robert. I agree with you that Germany will not be facing a neo-Nazi mass movement any time soon.

Anonymous said...

"Ron Paul website..."

"The Daily Paul, a blog associated with the Ron Paul campaign..."

It seems to me that both the title of your post and the first sentence in it are meant to lead people to believe that Ron Paul himself has direct input and influence upon the contents and comments contained there. A simple examination of the credentials shows this is in fact not the case.

It's really hard to give the rest of your post much credence at all given its transparent strawman basis. Honestly, would this post gained any notice at all had you started it with "A site for fans of Ron Paul"? Or titled it "Ron Paul fan website"?

Examine your motives.


Adam Holland said...


While you are correct to point out that the Daily Paul website is not an official arm of the Ron Paul campaign, it is certainly associated with the campaign. In fact, it's one of the most popular websites devoted to activism and discussion relating to Ron Paul on the internet, as I'm sure you know. Moreover, it's fully moderated and both bloggers and postings there are subject to the guidelines of the blog's editors. (I feel compelled to point this out because Ron Paul supporters have frequently responded to my previous writing about racist material on Ron Paul websites by claiming that there was no way to prevent it from being posted there.)

Are you actually claiming that the Daily Paul is not associated with the Ron Paul campaign, even informally? Maybe you should examine your own motives.

Anonymous said...

The fact that nutjobs occasionally get something right is not a cause to paint everything they say with the same broad brush.

Obama IS an imposter, IS a traitor, IS a pathological liar, and IS ABSOLUTELY NOT an American citizen born in Hawaii, regardless of everyone's political persuasion.


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