September 25: 'Post' readers ponder the Columbia invite

Please, for the sake of heaven and Columbia University, do not attempt to invite Osama bin Laden to be "challenged" by Columbia students and faculty.

September 24, 2007 19:39
letters March 2008

letters good 88. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Sir, - Further to "Columbia's 'realpolitik'" (Editorial, September 24), I would like to share some thoughts expressed in a letter to Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia University: Your ill-conceived invitation to the president of Iran to speak at Columbia has endangered my life and those of other Columbia alumni in Israel. Hundreds of us came to Israel to pursue our work and studies here. The Iranian president has threatened numerous times to destroy the State of Israel, and is actively developing regular and atomic weapons of mass destruction to accomplish his genocidal goals. Should he succeed, God forbid, will Columbia University be able to face the world and say "Our hands did not spill this innocent blood"? The dubious need to allow Columbia students to get acquainted with the forces of evil in this world cannot justify the many lives that will be lost if this man succeeds in his evil intent. Dean John Coatsworth went a step further, saying, "We'd let Hitler speak" (September 24). Israel today has tens of thousands of residents who survived the Holocaust that the president of Iran labeled "a myth." More than 100 members of my wife's family were slaughtered in the Holocaust, caused by Adolf Hitler. Millions of human beings were killed in the war brought on by the same man. Circumstances fortunately prevented Columbia from disgracing itself by inviting this arch-enemy of humanity to speak to its students. I am certain that some of the great professors of Columbia such as Robert Merton, Paul Lazarsfeld and Seymour Lipset, who wrote and lectured on anti-Semitism and racial discrimination, would have opposed an invitation to Hitler. Please, for the sake of heaven and Columbia University, do not attempt to invite Osama bin Laden to be "challenged" by Columbia students and faculty. STANLEY WEXLER Jerusalem Sir, - Now we know that Columbia would invite Hitler to speak, the question is would they invite the "Alien," the intelligent, extraterrestrial life-form from the movie of the same name, to be "challenged" by the students? Here, perhaps Columbia would pause. Why? Because the danger would be imminent. Is this not the best illustration of George Orwell's maxim that only an intellectual can be so stupid? To him it does not matter that Hitler killed 50 million people, or that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, if not stopped, may kill even more - it is all theoretical, and can be debated. The intellectual would disregard all morals in the name of principles whose absurdity he can grasp only when directly confronted with the likes of the Alien. By then, it is usually too late. MLADEN ANDRIJASEVIC Beersheba Sir, - Let the Iranian president talk at Columbia University. It won't diminish the Americans or the Jews. Suppression of free speech will strengthen him. Let the intellectuals question him and know the truth. He may be right in his opinion. We should not be fooled by the past, but be brightened by the future. MOHD AZHAR ABDULLAH Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia Sir, - Shmuley Boteach's "No red lines at Columbia University" (September 24) was a great article. I am furious about Ahmadinejad's getting a welcome there. I'm thinking Jane Fonda and Vietnam. My aunt was at Auschwitz/Bergen Belsen, and was not a Jew! I'd be glad to prove it to him. If she hadn't died not long ago, she would show her scars from experiments. No going to Columbia for my grandchildren. I'll make sure of that. PEARL ALVAREZ BENATOUIL FOUGERE Reno, Nevada A bit of good will Sir, - Yasser Arafat was charged with running a "revolving door" justice system. He arrested Palestinians for whatever reason, but soon enough released them. Apparently our government learned this system. Lock up Palestinians for whatever crime they commit, but then release them as a good-will gesture to "strengthen" Mahmoud Abbas. A revolving door is a revolving door, especially when Gilad Schalit is still a prisoner ("Israel approves release of 90 Palestinian prisoners," September 24). MILTON H. POLIN Jerusalem I slam Jesus down no-one's throat Sir, - I am a Christian who has volunteered with the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem. I believe in supporting Israel and her God-given right to her land. We Christians come to Israel to celebrate the Lord and bless your people. If the rabbis are so afraid of Jewish people converting, it has nothing to do with us witnessing. I slam Jesus down no one's throat. If asked, yes; I will give an answer. True Christians love whether or not any person accepts Jesus. The important fact to remember here is: Christians are Israel's best friends by command of the Lord. As we say in Georgia, don't bite off your nose to spite your face ("Chief Rabbinate bans Jews from annual Feast of Tabernacles March," September 19). CANDACE SHAW-GROSSI Temple, Georgia Feast of Tabernacles March: We'll be there Sir, - My husband and I will be attending the Feast of Tabernacles parade in Jerusalem for several reasons. First, we believe that no one, not even a group of distinguished rabbis, has the right to demand sanctions on Israel's friends and allies, no matter what their religion. Would those rabbis demand a similar boycott if pro-Israel/pro-Jew Muslim Zionists (who do exist!) held a parade for us in Jerusalem, even though Islam is also a missionary religion - even more than modern Christianity? Secondly, we will be there because of our warm, personal relations with many Christian Zionists over the past 25 years. Not only have there been no attempts to "Christianize" us, when discussions do arise we find we have more points of mutual agreement than of disagreement. They respect us and we respect them. The proof? They remain Christian Zionists full of love and protectiveness for Israel and the Jews, and we remain Jews, full of love and respect for our stalwart Christian friends, who have been with us through thick and thin. TRUDY GEFEN Kiryat Ono Watch and weep Sir, - Our High Court of Justice is considering the sale of JNF lands to Arabs ("Petitions challenge idea of 'Jewish land,'" September 24). The Olmert government is considering the further removal of Jews from their homes. It would seem that the Arabs won't have to destroy Israel by violence; they can just sit tight and wait for the Israelis to sell or cede it to them. Are we witnesses to the Jewish relinquishing of Jewish rights to this land? To the end of the dream of Jewish survival as a nation? To the rejection of the Zionist dreams of peace and security at last, in a land of our own? Are we just to watch and weep? R. EHRLICH Jerusalem In memoriam Sir, - Re "Legendary mime Marcel Marceau dies" (September 24): :-( YONATAN SILVER Jerusalem

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