As I observed in the previous post, Ahmadinejad is going to speak tomorrow at Columbia University. This morning on NPR Columbia President Lee Bollinger was quoted as saying that, while he was going to introduce Ahmadinejad by listing his human rights abuses, addressing his Holocaust denial, and castigating his calls for the destruction of Israel, he believed that Ahmadinejad had a place at Columbia because university's are places for "dialogue."
Bollinger has issued a statement in which he describes Columbia "as a community dedicated to learning and scholarship, is committed to confronting ideas.... Necessarily, on occasion this will bring us into contact with beliefs many, most or even all of us will find offensive and even odious."
What Bollinger and a lot of other very smart people don't understand is that you cannot dialogue with a liar. They make up facts, create their own reality, and leave you twisting in the wind.
Columbia has given Holocaust deniers everywhere a tremendous victory. He has made their claims and "other side" of a debate.
Secondly, while I hate the glib comparisons to Hitler [from the right and from the left], a not so off the mark comparison has been made between inviting Hitler in the 1930s [early 1930s] and inviting Ahmadinejad today.
For elaboration of this see Raphael Medoff's column at the website of the David Wyman Instittue Columbia University has a record of being open to Nazi representatives throughout the 1930s. It, of course, is not alone in this regard. Harvard did as well. And my guess that lots of other universities did the same.
All in the name of dialogue.