Check out this video created by Ben Feferman, the Hasbara Fellowships campus co-ordinator for Canada, who attended yesterday's protest against Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in New York.
Thousands gathered to demonstrate across the street from the United Nations, as well as Columbia University. Ahmadinejad is set to deliver his annual address before the United Nations General Assembly and he was also invited to speak at Columbia University yesterday as part of the World Leaders Forum.
JTA reported that Ahmadinejad was introduced to deliver his lecture by Columbia’s president, Lee Bollinger, who challenged him.
Bollinger said that the Iranian president possessed “all of the signs of a petty criminal and a cruel dictator.”
Bollinger asked Ahmadinejad to defend his oppression of women, homosexuals and the Baha’i, as well as to explain statements in which he called for the destruction of Israel. He also challenged the Iranian president’s denial of the Holocaust and questioned his country’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, which has brought United Nations sanctions against his people.
“I doubt you will have the intellectual courage to answer these questions,” Bollinger said...
Ahmadinejad asserted that Bollinger had insulted the intelligence of his audience by offering a one-sided introduction “affected by the press and a political monster,” a seeming allusion to the pro-Israel lobby. While Iran welcomes its guests with honour, Ahmadinejad said, “I got a wave of insults” from Bollinger.
He reiterated his past claim that the Palestinian people are unfairly paying the price for the Holocaust. “Why should five million Palestinians pay for this, when they had nothing to do with it?” he asked. He later insinuated that Israel is the reason for all strife in the Middle East. In response to questions about his denial of the Holocaust and his hosting of a conference of Holocaust deniers last year, the Iranian leader said that studying the issue is like any other scientific pursuit and that it should continue, regardless of how well the Nazi killings have been documented.
Students from Toronto involved with Betar, a Zionist campus group, made the drive to New York to participate in the protest.