NEW YORK (Oct. 14)
Following angry demonstrations and heated debate concerning a quotation from Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” that appeared on the masthead of The Dartmouth Review, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith has been invited to help investigate what the editor of the Review called “a criminal act of sabotage.”
The Review, financed by a powerful conservative network, is published off campus by Dartmouth College students but is unaffiliated with the college. Three of its 24-member staff have resigned since the controversial issue was published Erev Yom Kippur.
The text, which was inserted in place of a quotation from Theodore Roosevelt which normally runs in that space, read, “I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews, I am fighting for the Lord’s work.”
Kevin Pritchett, editor of the Review, called the quotation “sick, ugly and anti-Semitic. We are not laughing at the murder of the 6 million, and we intend to find out who placed the quote into the system,” he said.
The editors of the Review issued an apology for the appearance of the passage, saying it had been “slipped in” by an unknown staff member. The apology read: “The human filth that placed this trash in our newspaper made a mockery of this credo. This cancer among our ranks, we assure you, will be sought out and thoroughly punished.”
According to Pritchett, the masthead was changed following the final review of the text prior to publication. The Review has invited the ADL to take part in the investigation.
Leonard Zakim, New England regional director of ADL, said, “This latest offense to intelligent people is further evidence that the pattern of offensive coverage and writings the paper has published is not the fruit of well-intentioned intellectual provocation, but instead reflects an intentional undermining of respect for Jews, blacks and others.”
STUDENTS STAGE A RALLY
When questioned about the investigation, Zakim responded, “We will not be looking for fingerprints. We feel it is a question of how to reconcile responsibilities and sensitivity,” he said.
Zakim also expressed concern about the “rush to defend the Review by some conservatives.” He feels the rights of the First Amendment are being used “as a disguise for volatile and insensitive things the Review has done.”
A rally was held Oct. 4 by the Student Assembly at Dartmouth, to demonstrate that the Review is not supported by the student body.
In three days, more than 2,000 of the school’s 4,000 students signed a petition disavowing connections with the Review. A similar petition was circulated in 1989 on which more than 1,000 students signed.
The Review has a history of controversial incidents that have coincided with holidays or campus events.
In 1980, the newspaper sponsored a champagne and lobster brunch on the day of a fast intended to draw attention to world hunger. In 1986, on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, 10 Review staffers helped tear down shanties that had been erected on college grounds to protest apartheid policies in South Africa.
In 1988, the newspaper published a cartoon, on the 50th anniversary of Kristallnacht, depicting Dartmouth President James Freedman, who is Jewish, as Hitler.
Freedman and The Dartmouth (the official undergraduate newspaper of Dartmouth College) have both condemned the publication of the “Mein Kampf” quotation.
CONSERVATIVES DEFEND PAPER
Freedman denounced the Review for “an act of moral cowardice that continues the publication’s “reprehensible pattern” of discriminatory attacks.”Appalling bigotry of this kind has no place at this college or in this country,” said Freedman.
Rep. Chester Atkins (D-Mass.) has issued a statement calling the incident “yet another example of this publication’s policy of whipping up hate with vicious attacks.”
An aide to Rep. Mel Levine (D-Calif.) says the Jewish congressman plans to circulate an open letter to Washington lawmakers asking Dartmouth alumni and political conservatives to withdraw support for the Review.
Conservative journalist William Buckley Jr., one of the newspaper’s key national supporters, said the incident had to be a fluke, because it was so far out of line with the newspapers editorial policies.
Buckley joined in criticizing Freedman’s counterattack, as did Sen. Gordon Humphrey (R-N.H.).
“The hysterical response of Freedman and others” is “irresponsible,” said Humphrey, who once helped raise $7,000 at a Washington benefit for the Review. “The editors have denounced it and disassociated themselves from it.”
Zakim of ADL expressed concern over Humphrey’s statement.