Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is being received with open arms at Columbia University in New York City, that bastion of transcultural dialogue. “Columbia’s Dean John H. Coatsworth, in the name of defending the university’s invitation to Ahmadinejad, told Fox News that the institute would have invited Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler to appear before students had he been willing to participate in an open debate.” This is the man who has made it his job to lift denial of the Shoah to the level of polite conversation among “enlightened” minds addicted to the narcotic of free speech. If you oppose his visit to Columbia, you are branded a paladin of the pro-Israel Lobby (apparently worse than Holocaust denial or incitement to genocide in these parts), despite the fact that there are more reasons to oppose this man than stars in the sky. Can we be so blind? Well, there is always the idea that by inviting him he will reveal himself before us in all his buggery as just the bigot he is. But my guess is that he will be so well-behaved that next year’s Conference of Holocaust Deniers will be held on New York’s Upper West Side, and not in Teheran. As Deborah Lipstadt wrote, “The people at Columbia who invited him have minds that are so open their brains fell out.”
Marc Alan Coen, also in the NEWYORKERS section of this blog.