Today, the leadership of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, expressed their outrage at Columbia University and its president, Lee Bollinger, for their repugnant decision to host Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad – an unabashed bigot and self-professed “proud anti-Semite” on campus. In his remarks on Columbia’s campus Wednesday, Prime Minister Mohamad defended his anti-Semitic views and engaged in Holocaust denial.
Orthodox Union Executive Vice President Allen Fagin stated:
“Columbia University, President Bollinger and all those who supported this decision committed a grave injustice in welcoming a racist to the campus. Through these actions, they openly abused the halls of a university and allowed it to be a platform for hatred and vitriol. Columbia University’s leaders disgraced their institution today. Moreover, by permitting this hateful speech to be delivered so prominently, and in a context in the United States in which anti-Semitic hate crimes are frequent and on the rise, Columbia has placed members of its community — students and faculty — at risk of harm. As an alum of Columbia, I am particularly offended by this decision. The Orthodox Union, which sponsors activities and programs for Jewish students on Columbia’s campus, cannot stand idly by while our sons and daughters are denigrated and put at risk by an irresponsible leadership.”
Orthodox Union President Mark (Moishe) Bane stated:
“We call on President Bollinger to deliver an immediate, public apology for his decision, which is offensive not only to the Jewish community but to all Americans. Mr. Bollinger previously committed to speak out unequivocally and immediately to condemn any on-campus speaker who presents offensive views. Mr. Bollinger has yet to do any such thing in this case. We observe that this is not the first time Columbia University has offended the Jewish community under the guise of promoting ‘free expression.’ We call on Mr. Bollinger to pledge that it will not happen again.”