Monday, September 24, 2007

I Stand With Israel

I found that neat “I Stand with Israel” page banner in the upper right-hand corner of TMA through browsing the sites of my new colleagues in the Maryland Bloggers Alliance. I figured it is time to do show that I actually do.

By now, everyone knows that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will speak at Columbia University today. Despite much public outcry, Columbia’s president Lee Bollinger has not rescinded the invitation as he did last year. It should not shock anyone that Columbia invited this thug to speak. Columbia has a long history of inviting anti-Semitic totalitarians. In the 1930s, Columbia invited a Nazi shill to praise the qualities of Adolph Hitler in the midst of Kristallnacht. When a student protested this, they expelled him. Like I said that Columbia invited Ahmadinejad to speak and the faculty willingly acquiesced, adds further proof to the axiom that some ideas are so bad only academics could think of them.

Let us be crystal-clear about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he denies the Holocaust calling it a “myth,” and aspires to be the man who brings about the destruction of Israel. About this, there is no dispute. Under Ahmadinejad Iran has fought proxy wars with Israel through Hezbollah, against the United States in Iraq, and taken British sailors hostage after abducting them in international waters. Read this Human Rights Watch report on Iran to see how rosy things are in Iran under Ahmadinejad’s domestic policies.

What place does a cretin like Ahmadinejad have to speak on an Ivy League campus just miles from Ground Zero? Ah yes freedom of speech and academic freedom comes the retort from the anti-American/anti-Israel (and usually anti-Semitic) crowd. I am all for free speech and academic freedom. However, in the case of Ahmadinejad at Columbia, free speech is a red herring. Ahmadinejad has had plenty of forums and opportunities to share his views with the American public. Dan Rather, Anderson Cooper and Scott Pelly have all interviewed Ahmadinejad and none sharply challenged him. Matt Lauer of the Today Show filed this softball interview of an Iranian professor schilling for Ahmadinejad during his trip to Iran.

Bollinger stated that he will issue a series of “sharp challenges” to Ahmadinejad. However, given that so-called “tough” professional journalists have consistently let Ahmadinejad off the hook, there is no reason to believe that Bollinger will be any more critical of him. We should take Bollinger’s paeans to free speech at face value. As National Review noted, Bollinger’s commitment to free speech is dubious at best. When the University of Michigan adopted a constitutionally odious speech code, Bollinger as dean of the law school stayed on the sidelines and only denounced the code AFTER a court struck it down.

No, the real issue here is that by inviting Ahmadinejad to speak, Columbia has granted him its imprimatur and the prestige that comes with an invitation to address the faculty at an Ivy League institution. That is not something a prestigious Ivy League university should be doing. Sadly, it is in line with the prevailing anti-Israel/anti-American, pro-terrorist views of its leading Middle East scholars like Joseph Massad, Gil Anidjar, and Hamid Dabashi. With faculty like this, Columbia has enough “scholars” bashing Israel, calling for its destruction, and spouting ant-Semitic hatred. Bollinger and the Columbia board of trustees should be ashamed for providing Ahmadinejad, the man seeking the power to make the dreams of these “academics” come true, a forum and respectability to spew this hatred.

I Stand With Israel.

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