Bollinger Stuns Ahmadinejad With Blunt Rebuke

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[from The New York Sun]

By Annie Karni

President Lee Bollinger of Columbia, in a dramatic speech broadcast around the globe yesterday from Morningside Heights, delivered an oratorical haymaker to President Ahmadinejad, attacking his record on human rights, Israel, and terrorism in remarks that will likely overshadow anything the Iranian might say during his diplomatic rounds in America.

In systematic fashion, Mr. Bollinger, who was being closely watched in New York and beyond because of criticism that he had blundered by inviting Mr. Ahmadinejad in the first place, rebuked the Iranian president for calling for the destruction of Israel, for funding terrorism, for fighting a proxy war against America within the borders of Iraq, for persecuting women and homosexuals, and for flaunting the international community in the pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Mr. Bollinger called Mr. Ahmadinejad’s stated denial of the Holocaust “brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated.” His remarks were made all the more dramatic by the fact that the Iranian leader was seated only yards away, in a corner of the stage where he listened as an interpreter translated Mr. Bollinger’s words.

“Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator,” Mr. Bollinger said, after challenging the Iranian to admit a delegation from Columbia to speak at an Iranian University.

Mr. Bollinger’s remarks were met with a rant from Mr. Ahmadinejad, who called his remarks “an insult to the knowledge of the audience here” and a “vaccination” of the event.

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