These days, it’s not that difficult to see the divisions in our world. College is supposed to heal these divisions and teach our young people that diversity is not only acceptable, but it is beautiful.
The message at Columbia University is the opposite.
Malaysian politician Mahathir Mohamad has been invited to speak at the university. The problem with this invitation is that Mr. Mohamad is not only an avowed anti-Semite, he takes pleasure in openly spewing the poison that comes out of his lips.
In defending the invitation, University President Lee Bollinger, stated the following:
“This form of open engagement can sometimes be difficult, even painful. But to abandon this activity would be to limit severely our capacity to understand and confront the world as it is, which is a central and utterly serious mission for any academic institution,”
Mr. Bollinger claims that the ” invitation is neither a “validation” or “endorsement” of the speaker’s views.”
As I see it, the problem with the invite is that it validates antisemitism. It validates the BDS movement and other organizations that regularly harass Jewish college students, especially those who support Israel.
Don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe in free speech and a college student’s opportunity to expand their world and their perspective. However, given the current political and cultural climate that we live in, a clear line in the sand must be drawn. That line is hate speech. The question is if university administrations have the balls to draw that line.