Fighting academic anti-Semitism
Bruce S. Ticker
San Diego Jewish World
...The world leader who once declared that he is “glad to be labeled anti-Semitic” joined other heads of state who addressed students as part of Columbia University’s World Leaders Forum; they were in town for the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
The university leadership knew Mohamad’s history, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. It is on record that he has called Jews “hook-nosed,” said they “rule the world by proxy” and questioned the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust.
And when he took questions at Columbia, he denied questioning how many Jews died during World War II, and then said, “I have not disputed them, but I have said that ‘Who determined these numbers?’ If it is somebody who is in favor, you get one figure, if somebody is against, you get another figure…I accepted that there was a Holocaust, that there were many Jews killed, and in fact at one time I was very sympathetic towards them during the war, when you were not around, but I was around at that time.”
So how did this bring enlightenment to Columbia? Prior to Mohamad’s appearance, Columbia President Lee Bollinger characterized his views as “abhorrent,” and explained in a letter: “Nevertheless, it is in these instances that we are most strongly resolved to insist that our campus remain an open forum and to protect the freedoms essential to our University community.”
Brian Cohen, executive director of Columbia/Barnard Hillel, dubbed the invitation “an affront to Jewish students and to anyone committed to equality and dignity.” Jonathan Greenblatt, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said it best: “Of the nearly 200 heads of state in New York this week, surely there are other, non-hate-espousing leaders who could be featured.”...