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What Do You Call It:
From a blog report on Ahmadinejad's visit to Columbia:
Ahmadinejad argues that he should have the chance to ask these questions about the Holocaust without being attacked. "Why should an academic face insults," he asked. "Is this what you call freedom?"
Why, yes.
WHOI Jacket:
This is madness!
9.24.2007 3:45pm
liberty (mail) (www):
Nice catch!

Freedom for the dictator is freedom for himself, repression for everyone else. Selective freedom. "Political Correctness" sometimes falls into the same trap.
9.24.2007 3:53pm
Steve:
Well, of course he should have to face insults like anyone else, but I'm pretty embarrassed by all the over-the-top efforts to keep the guy from getting to speak at all. What are people so afraid of? All we do is accord the guy more status than he deserves when we let his every movement erupt into some huge controversy. Let him speak, let people protest and show that they disagree with his obnoxious views, end of story.

As for Holocaust denial or skepticism or whatever they're calling it these days, literally the only thing these nutjobs have going for them is the idea that free inquiry is being repressed, someone (perhaps a mighty cabal of Jews) is prohibiting questions from being asked, etc. The laws in Europe against Holocaust denial don't help us on this score anyway. The proper thing to do is foster a culture where every question can be asked, particularly in those areas where we are already confident what the answers will be.
9.24.2007 3:55pm
Milhouse (www):
He should be allowed to speak only at venues that would give the same courtesy to David Duke, Fred Phelps, David Horowitz, Larry Summers, Ward Connerly, or <shudder> Dick Cheney. (Not to imply any actual commonality between all those people, except that they're equally unlikely to be invited to speak, and allowed to speak uninterrupted, at Columbia.)

It's all very well for Columbia to say that it would have invited Hitler; he's conveniently unavailable. Let's see an invitation to Fred Phelps to present his views, with the same courtesy that is extended to Ahmedinijad, and maybe I'll believe that Hitler would have been given the same treatment.
9.24.2007 4:15pm
Anderson (mail):
literally the only thing these nutjobs have going for them is the idea that free inquiry is being repressed, someone (perhaps a mighty cabal of Jews) is prohibiting questions from being asked, etc.

Bingo. Israel should've sent someone from Yad Vashem to the "Holocaust conference" that Iran put on.
9.24.2007 4:16pm
Anderson (mail):
Let's see an invitation to Fred Phelps to present his views

Milhouse, the Rev. Phelps is the head of *what* state, exactly?
9.24.2007 4:17pm
Steve:
Let's see an invitation to Fred Phelps to present his views, with the same courtesy that is extended to Ahmedinijad, and maybe I'll believe that Hitler would have been given the same treatment.

But Fred Phelps is not a head of state, he's just some random nutbag. The only reason Ahmadinejad is relevant to anyone is because he's a player on the world stage.
9.24.2007 4:17pm
Malvolio:
Yes, free speech does make it easier to recognize the idiots. My objection to Ahmadinejad is not what he has to say, but who he is and what he has done.

If Columbia invited someone to speak in support of the proposition that homosexuals should be buried alive, well, I would not go hear that speech, but I would not really object to the speech being given. But Ahmadinejad does not just argue that homosexuals should be buried alive, he actually does it.

Ahmadinejad doesn't just believe that Holocaust never happened, he works towards making a second Holocaust. He doesn't just think that Muslim apostates should be executed, he actually kills them.

Any particular bit of stupidity Ahmadinejad has to utter could be equally well articulated by who is not, or not yet, the butcher that he is.
9.24.2007 4:19pm
NYU 3L:
So, Bollinger would invite Hitler. Why not Gilchrist? Maybe the Minutemen need to set up concentration camps to get the respect of American academia?
9.24.2007 4:24pm
ejo:
yes, in terms of overall decency as a human being and lesser evil, Fred Phelps would be a step up from this guy. Yet, from the reports so far, no real challenge despite the pretensions of Bollinger. why is he given a forum? why would Hitler have been given a forum?
9.24.2007 4:26pm
BGates (www):
Anderson, say Osama reappears leading a coup in Arabia. Presto! He's head of a state, with at least as much legitimacy as Khomeini (or the Saudi family, for that matter). You must be in favor of Columbia extending to him an invitation to talk; what would you think about him requesting to visit Ground Zero?
9.24.2007 4:55pm
WHOI Jacket:
No one's going to take the softball?
9.24.2007 5:05pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
His logic is no different from the left wingers and hollywood types who seriously argue that they can say any vile thing they want, but must be free from any reactions to their speech by other citizens who want not to fund their speech. They cry that any move to not have their speech subsidized by the government or any move by citizens to boycott their "art" is a violation of their free speech rights. Its exactly the same logic as the little monkey boy from Tehran about his holocaust ideas.

Don't tase me bro
9.24.2007 5:19pm
Anderson (mail):
BGates, can you not distinguish that one for yourself?

I'm beginning to think you're not really that Microsoft guy after all.
9.24.2007 5:54pm
Ken Hoop (mail):
Well, now, let's test this negative reaction. A more nuanced view of the suffering of Jews in the world war
was composed by Jewish History professor, Princeton University's Arno Mayer in "Why Did The Heavens Not Darken?"

Brief summation-no purposeful genocide and much smaller amount of victims. Since this view is commonly known
in America, the Irnaian leader's remarks remain as
objectionable as his critics assert. Errrr, but the
Mayer view is not so recognized and the knee-jerk reaction to it predictably scornful. Gues Ahmadinejad has a point.
But not to those who say we are already at war with Iran,
(or in Newt's world war four) hoping to protect Israel and the Empire.
9.24.2007 5:56pm
Anderson (mail):
Mayer's "more nuanced" view suffers from the disadvantage of being a poor fit with the facts. See e.g. Browning, The Origins of the Final Solution.

(Remember that the Wannsee Conference was originally scheduled in late November 1941, before the Soviet counterattack at Moscow, but reset after that event &the Pearl Harbor attack. Christian Gerlach carries the revisionism to a supposed change in the purpose of the Wannsee Conference itself, but I don't think that's been accepted by many experts.)

The destruction of the European Jews begin in June 1941 with the Einsatzgruppen. What happened in January 1942 was simply the notification of the Nazi bureaucracy that the genocide would be spreading to all of Nazi-occupied Europe.
9.24.2007 6:26pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Malvolio sez, 'My objection to Ahmadinejad is not what he has to say'

I suspect that was an inartful construction. He should object.

Ahmadinejad has been screaming 'death to America' for decades. As an American, I object to that.

Perhaps Malvolio is Italian?

Anyhow, all this gumflap carries us away from the only real point. It was not the US or the Jews or the Israelis who set up a stark choice: Iran or Israel?

It's Iran doing that.

I choose Israel.
9.24.2007 6:54pm
JoshL (mail):

Remember that the Wannsee Conference was originally scheduled in late November 1941, before the Soviet counterattack at Moscow, but reset after that event &the Pearl Harbor attack.


Early December. The Moscow counterattack was December 5-6 1941, and Pearl Harbor was December 7. The meeting was supposed to be December 9th.

Incidentally, HBO did a "made for TV movie" called Conspiracy in 2001 about the Wannsee Conference. It starred Kenneth Brannagh as Heydrich and Stanley Tucci as Eichmann, both of whom turned in their regular great performances.

Mayer's view, as is mentioned above, is completely anachronistic. It only makes sense if Hitler was convinced that the war was a failure after the failure to take Moscow AND that the Wannsee Conference had its purpose changed in the couple of months that it was postponed. It also requires a presumption that certain massacres- Babi Yar, for example- were in no way linked to a policy of Jewish extermination prior to December 1941. In short, it's only nuanced if you know nothing about the timeline of the Holocaust and World War II.
9.24.2007 8:00pm
Mary (mail):
You know it's a real pity that they didn't agree to police protection, supply him with Jewish police, and then shriek afterward that he accepted Jewish protection. . . .
9.24.2007 8:10pm
PersonFromPorlock:

"Why should an academic face insults," he asked. "Is this what you call freedom?"

Isn't that also pretty much the position of Duke's Group of 88?

Incidentally, why does everybody assume Hitler would have had a hostile greeting at Columbia? The Hitler of, say, 1938 was an elected leader with great personal charisma and a program with many 'progressive' aspects (government coordination of industry, for instance) and some real economic successes behind him. The antisemitism would have been regarded as unfortunate but "lots of people don't like Jews...."

He might very well have been lionized!
9.24.2007 8:43pm
NickM (mail) (www):

Let's see an invitation to Fred Phelps to present his views

Milhouse, the Rev. Phelps is the head of *what* state, exactly?


The State of Denial?

Nick
9.24.2007 9:05pm
Libertarian1 (mail):
Anderson wrote:
Milhouse, the Rev. Phelps is the head of *what* state, exactly?



Do you think Columbia would invite Cheney?
9.24.2007 11:25pm
Anderson (mail):
Do you think Columbia would invite Cheney?

Do you think he'd accept in a million years?

We *know* Bush is too cowardly to face a potentially hostile audience.
9.24.2007 11:37pm