For Malaysia’s Antisemitic Prime Minster, Speaking at Columbia University Is a Privilege — Not a Righ
Romy Ronen and Michale Schueler
Tue Sep 24 2019
Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, the prime minister of Malaysia, is expected to address Columbia University’s World Leadership Forum on September 25.
Dr. Mohamad has a long history of blatant antisemitism and fear-mongering. According to a 2012 post on his blog, he is “proud to be labeled antisemitic.” In his autobiography, A Doctor in the House, he claims that “Jews are not merely hook-nosed, but understand money instinctively.” Dr. Mohamad has also used known tropes of Holocaust denial to make political points, stating in one BBC interview that “you cannot even mention that in the Holocaust it was not six million [Jews killed].”
In 1997, he gave a speech claiming that the failure of the Malaysian ringgit was due to a “Jewish agenda” led by Holocaust survivor and philanthropist George Soros, and peddling antisemitic tropes of “Jewish money” and a worldwide Jewish conspiracy.
It is true that the First Amendment guarantees that any individual, including Dr. Mohamad, has the right to speak his mind without government censure. However, it does not mean that a person can say anything without social and/or academic consequences. Speaking at Columbia University is a privilege, not a right....