Uproar in America over Columbia University’s platform for Ahmadinejad Monday, followed by his UN General Assembly address Tuesday
Angry protests and demonstrations are scheduled to challenge Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s admittance to America while he and his government deny the holocaust, threaten the United States and Israel, develop a nuclear weapon, send weapons to Iraq insurgents to kill US soldiers, foster terror and are guilty of harsh repressive practices at home.
debkafile reports: The outcry is exactly what the Iranian president aims to provoke by his public relations stunt in issuing peaceable-sounding statements in America in sharp contrast to the rhetoric sounded in Tehran and its violent actions in the region. He told the CBS Iran Sunday night that Iran does not need a nuclear bomb. “If it was useful it would have prevented the downfall of the Soviet Union.” He also denied that his country is heading for war with the US.
At home, he calls the Holocaust a myth and says Israel should be wiped off the map.
New York Sen. Hillary Clinton said: “If I were president of the university, I would not have invited him. He’s a Holocaust denier. He’s a supporter of terrorism. But I respect the right of our country to make different decisions.”
Prominent Israeli political scientist Prof. Shlomo Avineri was also shocked at the platform given by a respectable American university to a holocaust denier. He has proposed meting out to the repressive Islamic regime the same worldwide contempt as the campaign which toppled the Soviet Union.
A Columbia graduate, Prof. Amnon Rubinstein, denounced extending the privilege of freedom of speech to a Holocaust denier and murderer.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said the invitation was “an outrage against civilization” and called Ahmadinijad “a pathological liar” while admitting he was “a very effective public speaker.”
Israel’s foreign minister Tzipi Livni will lead a demonstration against his appearance in New York later Monday.
Columbia University president Lee Bollinger, while promising that students and faculty would “grill” the visitor, said the institution would have welcomed Hitler too before World War II.
His decision was defended by Republic Senator Chuck Hagel, who said:
“We have major differences and problems with Iran. But I don’t think that helps find some consensus and work through some of these issues when you don’t allow people to speak. That’s not who we are as Americans.”
The Iranian president was denied permission to lay a wreath at Ground Zero by police citing security concerns. His visit would have violated sacred ground, said several politicians.