Update 6:00pm Eastern. This is probably one of the most powerful signs I snapped photos of today at Columbia University…
Absolute moral authority.
Meantime, no sign of the Iranian nutjob here at Ground Zero. It’s possible he squeezed in his visit this morning when the protesters were cleared up. If so, though, why would he sit on the disgusting propaganda photos?
This Ain’t Hell attended the National Press Club protest in Washington, D.C.
Hugh Hewitt is not impressed with Columbia president Lee Bollinger’s attempted salvage operations:
Whenever Lee Bollinger steps down as Columbia’s president, some poor fool will toast him for his “stirring” speech today, for speaking truth to power, blah blah blah. Nonsense. President Bollinger gave Ahmadinejad a microphone and a stage and then tried to use the underbilling to redeem his university’s sorry complicity in the legitimizing of this fanatic’s place in the world. Columbia can black out the backdrop and deliver stern lectures that go unheard in the Islamist world, but it won’t remove the stain on its own reputation: It played a role of accessory to many lies today, delivered by a killer of our troops.
Outside Columbia University at the Stand with Us/Hasbarah protest, approx. 1:00pm Eastern.
Update 5:45pm Eastern. Judith at Kesher Talk has photos of the protesters and 9/11 family members who gathered at Ground Zero this morning before being hustled out by the Port Authority.
Gerard Van der Leun has a round-up of reax to Bollinger’s rope-a-dope.
Update: 4:35pm Eastern. We’ve headed over to Ground Zero, where some of the Columbia University protesters have gathered in case the Iranian nutjob decides to sneak his cursed wreath onto the memorial site.
After the Columbia University speech let out, dozens of protesters stood at the front gates of Columbia chanting “Shame on Columbia!” The anti-Mahmoud coalition took on a few clueless ANSWER protesters clad in orange and Bush Derangement Syndrome bumper stickers. I interviewed Iranian-American dissident Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi of the Secular Muslim Summit, who was livid after confronting the moral equivalence and historical ignorance of the moonbats holding anti-Bush signs. The Jewish groups and Iranian critics of the mullahcracy were joined by many NYC-area bloggers and Gathering of Eagles members as well.
Dan Riehl sheds light on the significance of Mahmoud’s science and technology spiel:
Anyone listening closely should have been able to comprehend that Ahmadinejad’s discussion of science and technology was about the search for truth and it was based upon the notion that to discern truth one must be free of ideology and bias due to a pure understanding of Islam via The Koran. That was why he preceded all that science and technology stuff with the little intro on divine wisdom. And the particular truth he was riffing around had to do with the Holocaust.
It’s precisely that point, which the Left and apparently some on the Right miss that makes Iran and Ahmadinejad so dangerous.
Don’t let the warm embrace of some of the Columbia University students fool you. We saw plenty of disgusted Columbia alumni and families who were not impressed.
Update 2:15pm Eastern. Watching the speech on a TV at a deli. So, Columbia is getting an earful about Allah and Islam. Lots of finger-waving…and now he’s accusing the West of forcing other cultures into “submission.” Classic projection. He’s complaining about nuclear intimidation. Seriously. He attacks the West for “denying the scientific progress of others.”
One CNN commentator is calling Columbia president Lee Bollinger’s introduction a “humiliating dress-down.” Bollinger chided Mahmoud for his “preposterous, belligerent statements.” Raves for Bollinger here. I’m withholding judgement. If you caught it and you agree, chime in.
Update 1:35pm Eastern. Inside the gates, Ahmadinejad has begun the “dialogue.” Video. There are several hundred counterprotesters outside the Columbia gates, mostly Jewish organizations and some brave Persian dissidents. I’ve talked to rabbis, young families, students, alumni. Most are livid that Columbia has penned them off campus. There are busloads of kids here, but many older folks are disappointed that the turnout isn’t higher. This may be because lots of people turned out for the anti-Mahmoud rally at the U.N. Organizers expect many of them to head over here. Lots of helicopters overhead.
We’re going to try to do a livestream from the protest. Meantime, a few more photos:
This mother and daughter drove from Morris County, NJ:
Here’s the Iranian nutjob’s National Press Club appearance.
Update 11:46am Eastern. Allah passes word via PJM that Ground Zero was cleared of anti-Mahmoud protesters this morning.
Meantime, we’re stationed at Columbia at the front gates on 116th and Broadway. I just interviewed CU undergrad Jacob Kriegel, president of the student Jewish organization LionPAC. There’s a sizable crowd gathering. Many Persian students raising their voices in opposition to Ahmadinejad’s presence. We’ll have video.
Here are a few pics of the scene on Broadway, which is lined with media:
Update 9:50am Eastern. Was there a quid pro quo? CNSNews’s Susan Jones raises the question in a story about the recent release of an Iranian Columbia alum (hat tip – reader Jeff):
The president of Columbia University is expressing relief that a Columbia alumnus was released from an Iranian prison — just days before the Iranian president is scheduled to speak at Columbia University.
Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh, who works for George Soros’s Open Society Institute, was one of several Iranian-Americans detained by Iran for allegedly conspiring against Iran’s national security.
Tajbakhsh was freed on bail last Thursday. Iranian President Mahmoud Amadinejad is speaking at Columbia on Monday, and the invitation for him to appear on campus has drawn widespread condemnation from politicians and ordinary Americans, who view Amadinejad as an enemy of the United States and Israel.
Here’s more from the student publication, the Columbia Spectator.
As they say: Question the timing.
Update 9:30am Eastern. Spoof time–a reader sends along the webpage of the new Columbia University School of Terrorism.
Fake, but accurate.
Not a spoof: Left-wing lesbian crushing on Mahmoud.
Another small sign of sanity at Columbia: The law school dean, David Schizer, speaks:
This event raises deep and complicated issues about how best to express our commitment to intellectual freedom, and to our free way of life. Although we believe in free and open debate at Columbia and should never suppress points of view, we are also committed to academic standards. A high-quality academic discussion depends on intellectual honesty but, unfortunately, Mr. Ahmadinejad has proven himself, time and again, to be uninterested in whether his words are true. Therefore, my personal opinion is that he should not be invited to speak. Mr. Ahmadinejad is a reprehensible and dangerous figure who presides over a repressive regime, is responsible for the death of American soldiers, denies the Holocaust, and calls for the destruction of Israel. It would be deeply regrettable if some misread this invitation as lending prestige or legitimacy to his views.
But Hugh Hewitt is right:
While the dean’s candor on what Ahmadinejad represents is welcome, the idea that “prestige or legitimacy” is not inherent in the invitation is just absurd. It is the “World Leaders Forum” at one of the world’s great universities –of course Columbia is not merely “lending” the fanatic “prestige” and “legitimacy,” it is wholesaling both to him and all he represents.
For as long as we recall that Iran has been killing American soldiers and Marines, we will also recall that when Ahmadinejad came to the United States, it was Columbia that welcomed him and gave him a stage, a microphone, a vast audience and all the “prestige” and “legitimacy” Columbia can confer.
A reminder again about the protests taking place today in NYC and D.C. against Iranian madman Mahmoud Ahmadenihad, via The Israel Project. I’ll be in NYC today for his “Manhattan Moment.” How about you:
MONDAY, SEPT. 24:
What: Ahmadinejad to speak at luncheon at National Press Club by videolink
When: 12 p.m.
Where: Washington, DC: National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW
MONDAY, SEPT. 24:
What: Rally led by Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Jewish Community Relations in cooperation with United Jewish Communities, UJA-Federation of New York and Jewish Council for Public Affairs. Speakers include Debra Burlingame, sister of Charles F. “Chic” Burlingame, III, (Capt., USNR, Ret.), pilot of American Airlines Flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11.
When: 12 p.m. (rain or shine)
Where: NYC: Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, 2nd Ave. at 47th St.(across the street from the UN)
MONDAY, SEPT. 24:
What: Rally by students from Columbia and other universities incuding Rutgers, Brooklyn College and Queens College, area high school students and dozens of Jewish organizations
When: 1-3 p.m.
Where: NYC: Outside Columbia University at W. 116th St. and Broadway
Keep checking back for updates.
American former hostage Barry Rosen, held captive in Iran for 444 days with more than 50 other innocent citizens, delivers his message to Mahmoud in the NYPost today:
Ahmadinejad was one of those outrageous Iranians who took me and more than 50 other Americans hostage for 444 days, violating international law and making us suffer indescribable moments of terror.
There is simply no reason to give him a platform to spew his venom.
No matter how hard-hitting Columbia’s president questions Ahmadinejad, the Iranian leader is a winner.
Every word he utters is meant for his radical constituents at home and legitimizes his standing among other dictators like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.
It’s only when Ahmadinejad permits his own people to march and speak freely, that I believe Columbia President Lee Bollinger would be justified in giving the Iranian president an open forum.
Not before then.
Clint Taylor looks at Columbia and is reminded of Yale’s embrace of the Taliban.
Michael Rubin nails academia’s selective defense of free speech:
The issue we see with Columbia is deeper than freedom of speech but rather the inconsistency with which university faculties choose to support it. If men like Richard Bulliet and Lee Bollinger, and women like Lisa Marie Anderson cared about freedom of speech, they might want to enable those who don’t have it, rather than celebrate the men who have taken it away.
Exactly. It has been nauseating listening all weekend to the same, speech-squelching student mobsters who shut down secure-borders proponent Jim Gilchrist now preaching about allowing “dissenting voices” to be heard.
There is one, rare voice of sanity and adulthood at Columbia. Power Line reprints a statement from Columbia U’s business school dean, Glenn Hubbard. His bottom line:
Some would argue that a University should be a place of intellectual freedom and open debate, but others including me argue that Mr. Ahmadinejad, who is responsible for the death of American soldiers, denies the Holocaust, and calls for the destruction of Israel, has proven himself incapable of engaging in a true and honest academic discussion.