College conservatives and Democrats are joining forces at Columbia University to oppose a controversial speaker.
In a joint letter to the Columbia Spectator the the president of the College Conservatives and the membership director of the College Democrats voice their opposition to an upcoming speech by Norman Finkelstein — a man they refer to as "an anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, anti-America Holocaust revisionist and terrorist sympathizer."
Finkelstein, who was invited to Columbia by the school’s Muslim Students Association, will speak on "Israel and Palestine: Misuse of Anti-Semitism, Abuse of History" next week.
Within their letter, Chris Kulawik and Josh Lipsky say they do not wish to censor Finkelstein but rather inform the community of "this blatant hate-mongering."
"Well, what precisely is Mr. Finkelstein’s crime? It is not that he is a Holocaust revisionist. It is not that he denies the right of the Jewish state to exist. It is not that he cheapened the lives of the millions of innocents lost to the concentration camps by equating their systematic murder to any other large disaster. No, his crime both includes and transcends these radical, depraved stances. Only months after Sept. 11, 2001, Finkelstein asserted his support of terrorism. In that 2001 interview, Finkelstein exclaimed, ‘Frankly, part of me says — even though everything since Sept. 11 has been a nightmare — You know what, we deserve the problem on our hands because some things [Osama] bin Laden says are true.’"
According to advertisment posted on Columbia University’s Muslim Students Association website a variety of groups are co-sponsoring Finkelstein’s speech. Some of those mentioned include: United Students of Color Council, Arab Students Association, Organization of Pakistani Students and the International Socialists Organization.
Kulawik and Lipsky go to say in their letter, "If these groups want to bring a speaker to campus, we support their decision, but we question the use of our tuition to fund an individual so beyond the pale that academia, left and right, condemns him."
They also encourage the student body to "show up" next week "to let this facilitator of hatred, fear, and lies understand just how passionately the students oppose his radicalism."
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