Hitler Ahmadinejad At Columbia - Free Speech Or Incitement?
Israel News Agency
Jerusalem ----September 23...... As one who studied at Columbia
University, I am both embarrassed and ashamed of that fact today.
Columbia University in New York City had one of the finest journalism
schools in the US, that is until Columbia invited Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,
the president of Iran to speak at Columbia tomorrow.
Iran President left Tehran for New York today and will participate
in a question and answer forum at Columbia tomorrow. Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad is traveling to New York to address the United Nations'
see, I live and work in Israel, a tiny, democratic nation in
the Middle East which Ahmadinejad has sworn to "wipe my
children off the map." Not really a nice thing of this
dictator who fashions himself after Adolf Hitler with a twist
of Islamic lemon to say.
Iran is one of the world's leading sponsors of international
terror, especially the Hizbullah gang in Lebanon, and he is
now obsessed with building thermonuclear weapons with which
he might just accomplish what Hitler could not: the annihilation
of half the world's Jews with the push of a single button.
is also directly responsible for the murder of dozens of numbers
of American troops in Iraq, whose killers, according to hundreds
of reliable reports, he is arming and funding.
US State Department calls Iran a state sponsor of terror, and
Ahmadinejad has called the Holocaust ``a myth'' and urges for
Israel to be destroyed.
would Columbia University desire to have Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
speak on their campus?
it freedom of speech or is it marketing? Is it marketing at
the expense of incitement to commit genocide against the civilian
population of Israel?
let's take a deeper, more cerebral look.
acknowledged last week that the visit to the university of Iran
terror leader Ahmadinejad was initiated not by the university
but by the Iran envoy to the United Nations through a faculty
member, Richard Bulliet.
was an excellent public relations speaking engagement placement
made by Iran. Something that the William Morris Agency would
have been proud of (the placement - not Ahmadinejad).
is described as having been criticized for, among other things,
"his views on the Israel Palestinian conflict as overly
favoring the Palestinian cause" and also for offering "qualified
support" for the revolution that brought the mullahs to
power in Iran in 1979.
"If Hitler were in the United States and wanted a platform
from which to speak, he would have plenty of platforms to speak
in the United States," Columbia's Coatsworth said in an
interview with Fox News.
"If he were willing to engage in debate and a discussion
to be challenged by Columbia students and faculty, we would
certainly invite him."
former professor of history at Harvard, Coatsworth is dean of
the university's School of International and Public Affairs,
whose graduates, according to a statement Coatsworth issued
last week, "serve as diplomats, intelligence analysts,
security experts, business leaders, human rights activists,"
and leaders of non-governmental organizations.
even if Hitler would have been, or Ahmadinejad is, welcome at
Columbia, would an Egypt tribal leader be invited to defend
female genital mutilation, a practice the Egyptian government
is finally trying to ban? What about the current president of
Sudan, or the leader of the Janjaweed militia that is committing
genocide in Darfur?
Hoenlein, Executive Vice-Chairman of the Conference of Presidents
of Major American Jewish Organizations, discussing the importance
the September 24, 2007 rally protesting Iranian President Ahmadinejad's
visit to the UN.
week, the university's president offered his own defense of
"The event will be part of the annual World Leaders Forum,
the University-wide initiative intended to further Columbia's
longstanding tradition of serving as a major forum for robust
debate, especially on global issues," he said in a press
Columbia's president states: "World Leaders" is he
focusing on world leaders who serve as examples of democracy
and freedom or global sponsors of terrorism?
"In order to have such a University-wide forum, we have
insisted that a number of conditions be met, first and foremost
that Iran President Ahmadinejad agree to divide his time evenly
between delivering remarks and responding to audience questions.
I also wanted to be sure the Iranians understood that I would
myself introduce the event with a series of sharp challenges
to the president on issues including: The Iranian president's
denial of the Holocaust."
has already answered that question, he calls the Holocaust a
public call for the destruction of the State of Israel."
has already expounded on this issue, as recently as yesterday
during the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur when he introduced and
showed off his new Ghadr long range missile that had a sign
on it saying: "Israel must be destroyed."
reported support for international terrorism that targets innocent
civilians and American troops."
Ahmadinejad is a man of action, barbaric action. How many Israeli
civilians did he murder this year through his Hezbollah puppets
in Lebanon and Syria, how may US soldiers did he kill in Iraq?
pursuit of nuclear ambitions in opposition to international
has answered this question as well telling the United Nations
to go to hell.
if these fundamental questions have already been asked and answered
then what is this exercise taking place at Columbia tomorrow?
It is a marketing event. A marketing event which has backfired
on Columbia. A marketing stunt poised as free speech when all
know that it is nothing less than a hate speech to be delivered.
US INTEL, the CIA, military intelligence and the NSA really
need to hear something new by Ahmadinejad that satellites and
microwave surveillance have not already picked up?
Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called on Columbia University to
reconsider its decision to host Iran's president.
similar invitation to Ahmadinejad was revoked last year by Columbia
President Lee Bollinger.
Feith, CC 09 and editor of the Jewish affairs publication
The Current, expressed his concern directly to Bollinger
that there was a difference between refusing to suppress hateful
speech and actively inviting and providing a platform for it.
Bollinger responded that the invitation very well may serve
to help controversial speakers, but that the negative is far
outweighed by the importance of confronting ideas and not shielding
ourselves from the world as it is.
is inappropriate and a perversion of the concept of freedom
of speech," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.
"Columbia University has no moral imperative, no legal
imperative, no social imperative to give Ahmadinejad a platform,
which he would not give them in Tehran. Why give him the credibility
and the respectability of a major institution of higher learning?
What message does that send to the students? This is not what
the First Amendment is all about."
a letter to President Bollinger, the ADL said it was "extremely
dismayed" by the university's invitation to the Iranian
President, who has repeatedly called for the destruction of
Israel and has made remarks denying the Holocaust, and Bollinger's
plans to personally introduce him at the forum. The League noted
Iran's support for international terrorism and his country's
ambition to acquire nuclear weapons as reasons enough not to
provide Ahmadinejad a platform at Columbia.
not free speech. This is Ahmadinejad inciting the Iranian and
Islamic global public
with hate and violence. It is a perverse marketing event being
staged by Columbia
at the expense of Israeli civilians and US troops killed in
year, Columbia almost made the same mistake," said Mr.
Foxman. "Ahmadinejad didn't get better since then. He's
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Friday that the university
was free to invite Ahmadinejad to speak, but "personally,
I wouldn't go to listen to him - I don't care about what he
House deputy press secretary Tony Fratto said Friday that the
Bush administration had no involvement with Columbia's decision.
is a country where people can come and speak their minds,"
he said, adding, "It would be wonderful if some of the
countries that take advantage of that here allowed it for their
own citizens there."
was reported today that Iran's judiciary is to have shut down
the offices of a news Website critical of Iran President Mahmoud
Mehr News Agency reports that Baztab, a Website close to
the former head of the Revolutionary Guards Mohsen Rezaie, had
been banned in April and is the subject of a legal complaint
from the Iran presidency.
Ahmadinejad's Columbia speech and question and answer be made
available to the citizens of Iran. Will the citizens of Iran
witness thousands of New Yorkers telling Ahmadinejad to go home?
way. Iran will edit out and censor the negative and use the
positive to incite the Iran and Islamic public. Does Columbia
trip to New York also created a debate this week over his rejected
request to lay a wreath at 9/11's Ground Zero. Politicians and
families of Sept. 11 victims were outraged that Iran's president
might visit the site.
York Police rejected Ahmadinejad's request, citing construction
and security concerns.
George W Bush backed New York authorities in blocking a Ground
Zero tour, saying, "I can understand why they would not
want somebody running a country who is the state sponsor of
terror down at the site."
Iran leader said before leaving Tehran earlier Sunday that the
visit would allow him to meet independent politicians from Tehran's
arch foe and provide Iran a platform to address the international
General Assembly of the United Nations is a good opportunity
to present the solutions of the Iranian people to solve the
problems of the world," he was quoted as saying by the
Fars News Agency.
need to take advantage of such opportunities to present the
positions of the Iranian people as they (the Americans) are
very keen to hear them." That is what Ahmadinejad wants
his voters at home to think. And Columbia is giving it to them.
organizations in the United States are planning large-scale
demonstrations, involving thousands of protesters this week
to express their growing anger at Columbia University's invitation
to Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
- the Coalition for Jewish Concerns plan to mount a vigil
of conscience at 115th and Broadway as Ahmadinejad speaks
at Columbia University on Sept. 24th at 12:30pm.
authorities however, have advised that only Columbia University
students and faculty will be permitted on the campus on
Monday, September 24, and thus, neither Rabbi Weiss nor
Amcha will be permitted to protest against Mr. Ahmadinejad
at that time.
AMCHA sent the attached letter to Columbia University
president Lee Bollinger, protesting Columbia's decision
to close the campus to outside demonstrators.
limitation on non-University affiliated persons is particularly
inappropriate here where the speaker and his considerable
entourage is not affiliated with Columbia University,"
Rabbi Weiss argues.
Rabbi Avi Weiss, National President of AMCHA, indicated,
"We've raised a voice against Palestinian disinvestment
conferences at Ohio State, Duke, and Michigan amongst
others. This is the first time a university campus has
been closed to us."
Should the university not grant AMCHA the right to protest
on campus, AMCHA, as the letter indicates, "will
consider pursuing legal remedies."
September 21, 2007
Via Facsimile and E-mail
Mr. Lee C. Bollinger
535 West 116th Street
202 Low Library
Mail Code 4309
New York, NY 10027
Dear President Bollinger:
This firm represents Rabbi Avi Weiss and Amcha
the Coalition for Jewish Concerns ("Amcha").
I write in connection with the upcoming visit of Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, to the Columbia campus
on Monday, September 24.
Rabbi Weiss and Amcha intend to protest against Mr. Ahmadinejad
but have been advised that only Columbia University students
and faculty will be permitted on the campus on Monday,
September 24, and thus, neither Rabbi Weiss nor Amcha
will be permitted to protest against Mr. Ahmadinejad at
You are a First Amendment scholar of considerable repute
and as such are, I suspect, both sympathetic to and supportive
of the First Amendment principles of free expression that
permeate Columbia's own policies and regulations regarding
demonstrations, rallies and picketing. Specifically, Section
440 of Chapter XLIV of the Rules of University Conduct
Demonstrations, rallies, picketing, and the circulation
of petitions have an important place in the life of a
university. They are means by which protests may be registered
and attention drawn to new directions possible in the
evolution of the University community. . . . .
While the University as a private institution is not subject
to the Constitutional provisions of free speech and due
process of law, the University by its nature is dedicated
to the free expression of ideas and to evenhanded and
fair dealing with all with whom it conducts it affairs.
The Rules of University Conduct are thus enacted by the
University to provide as a matter of University policy
the maximum freedom of expression consistent with the
rights of others. . .
While the University certainly has the right to enact
and apply reasonable restraints on the time, place and
manner of demonstrations, banning all non-University affiliated
persons from the entire campus is not such a reasonable
This limitation on non-University affiliated persons is
particularly inappropriate here where the speaker and
his considerable entourage (which I understand will be
permitted on the Columbia University campus) is not affiliated
with Columbia University.
I therefore ask that you advise by return facsimile today
or on Sunday whether the University will permit Rabbi
Weiss, Amcha and others similarly situated, onto the Columbia
University campus on Monday, September 24, 2007 so that
they may peaceably demonstrate against Mr. Ahmadinejad
and the hate-filled and offensive positions that he has
Should the University not permit Rabbi Weiss and Amcha
to demonstrate on campus on Monday, September 24 in accordance
with the University's own policies and guidelines, Rabbi
Weiss and Amcha will consider pursuing their legal remedies.
Very truly yours,
cc: Rabbi Avi Weiss
Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Gillerman, also likened
the Iranian president to Adolf Hilter, and said that a proposed
visit by Ahmadinejad to Ground Zero would be similar to a visit
to the site by the Nazi fuehrer.
Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni, who is also in New York,
has spoken out harshly against the divisive visit. "In
a just world, his visit would never have been authorized and
Iran would not be a member of the United Nations," said
Ahmadinejad to come here - the UN should be ashamed. It is shameful
for a world that does not understand that Ahmadinejad is exploiting
international values to harm us all. This will not come without
a price. The world must put an end to this. The world cannot
allow a nuclear Iran," she said."
team of lawyers, led by Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz,
are seeking to have Ahmadinejad arrested upon his arrival in
"He is an international war criminal," Dershowitz
told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. "He has repeatedly
violated the anti-genocide convention. He is as guilty as the
Rwandans who are convicted and sentenced to years in prison
for inciting genocide."
the US military accused Iran of smuggling surface-to-air missiles
and other advanced weapons into Iraq for use against American
we will see how much guts George W. Bush really has.
Will he, will the Governor or Mayor of New York have this "diplomat"
arrested, detained and held for the World Court as a criminal,
as a terrorist or will Ahmadinejad be protected by so-called
thing is certain. Columbia University has now placed a commercial
marketing event, a cash generating PR effort over the lives
of Israel civilians and US troops in Iraq.
Joseph Goebbels, the leader of the NSDAP's propaganda machine
and Hitler minister responsible of all Nazi propaganda would
have been proud.
Since 1995, the Israel News Agency has been vigilant on behalf
of Israel, 365 days a years, 24 hours a day.