ADL Calls On Columbia University To Rescind Invitation To Iranian President Ahmadinejad
Update: ADL condemned President Ahmadinejad's speech at Columbia University as "a charade of half-answers and obfuscation" and anything but the much-touted scholarly free exchange of ideas promised by the university. More
New York, NY, September 20, 2007 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called on Columbia University to reconsider its decision to host Iran's president at a question and answer session with faculty and students. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is scheduled to speak September 24 at a forum sponsored by the university's School of International and Public Affairs.
A similar invitation to Ahmadinejad was revoked last year by Columbia President Lee Bollinger.
"It 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."
In a letter to President Bollinger, 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.
"Last year, Columbia almost made the same mistake," said Mr. Foxman. "Ahmadinejad didn't get better since then. He's gotten worse."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.