President Shimon Peres harshly criticized New York's Columbia University on Tuesday for allowing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whom he called "the world's greatest false leader," to speak there on Monday night.
"I am very much in favor of freedom of expression," Peres told reporters after a meeting with Greek singer George Dalaras, "but what happened at Columbia University was giving a platform to the greatest lies in the world. Everyone knows that Iran is building an atomic bomb and is a hotbed of world terror. This comes, of course, from an ambition to achieve religious fundamentalist hegemony over the entire world."
Addressing remarks by the university's president, Lee Bollinger, who called Ahmadinejad a "petty and cruel dictator" but said he would have invited Hitler to speak, Peres said that "even Chamberlain and Hitler met for diplomatic talks, and behind all those pretty words was genocide and one of the worst atrocities humanity has known."
Peres called on "all countries in the free world to unite against Ahmadinejad."