CCAW weighs in

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A statement from the Columbia Coalition Against the War:

Open Letter to Progressive Opponents of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

As Columbia only very recently announced, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be speaking in Roone Arledge auditorium this Monday. A number of students and student organizations have already announced plans for a protest rally the same day. We are not among them. We do not endorse Ahmadinejad or his views, many of which are inexcusable. However, as opponents of a US military strike against Iran, we have serious concerns with the content of some of the hostility that has been expressed to his presence, and specifically with the planned protest.

We fear the demonization of Ahmadinejad, because we think this demonization contributes to the likelihood of war. In the current climate, with many on the political right in the U.S. and Israel pushing for air strikes, a campaign against Ahmadinejad is dangerous, regardless of the intentions of most involved. A call to action, unless it prominently rules out war, implies military action.

A rally where each speaker denounces Ahmadinejad’s reactionary policies and just a few call explicitly for military action will still be perceived, on campus and around the U.S., as pro-war. The right-wing media, from Fox News to the New York tabloids, has already jumped on the event, and will spin it to favor their cause. Conservative organizations with no affiliation to Columbia’s campus, such as the David Project, have already signed on to the rally on Facebook, and are likely to distribute hundreds of warmongering flyers and picket signs. The rally will seem to be a sea of pro-war demonstrators – and the more people who attend it and the more organizations that endorse it, the more powerful this disastrous message will be.

A U.S. attack on Iran, which is not an inevitability but is a real possibility, would have consequences just as terrible as the invasion of Iraq. Thousands would die in initial air strikes, and more in the resulting backlash and regional conflagration. The work of Iranian campaigners for free speech, women’s rights, and lesbian and gay liberation, and against racism and anti-semitism, would be set back immeasurably. As Iranian Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi has pointed out, “Human rights are not established by throwing cluster bombs on people. You cannot introduce democracy to a country by using tanks.”

There are other means for engagement with Iran than war, and other means for disagreement with Ahmadinejad than the planned protest. We call on those who do not support a war with Iran to be wary of the vilification of Ahmadinejad, to avoid Monday’s rally, and to express vocally their opposition to military intervention.

Columbia Coalition Against the War



  1. um...

    I actually kinda second that. What the hell are they talking about? They'll rush the stage and throw out Gilchrist, who despite being a jackass, hasn't really done anything at all other than shout, but they're not willing to protest someone who is actually a danger to his people and potentially to the world? Wow

  2. Although  

    On second thought, it is adorable to see how powerful David Judd thinks protest is. In his mind, and in the frazzled minds of his SSO counterparts, if Columbia students protest the president of Iran the ramifications will lead to WAR. Not likely.

  3. truth

    judd's anti-Semitism is disgusting. "demonization leads to war". and what does appeasement do? he is wiling to demonize: jews, israel, the american government, 90% of the american people, but a brutal maniacal despot is beyond reproach. the left is pathetic.

  4. ridiculous

    this is an absolutely ludicrous position. The fact that this group doesn't feel comfortable protesting is pathetic. Not only that, if you're worried about how the rally will be percieved, why dont you get up there and state your position on going to war. What a joke

  5. JUDDFan

    Judd, JUDD, Judd! Goooo JUDD!!!

  6. What is

    unreasonable about this. There's clearly an effort to create a political climate in which war against Iran would be acceptable. Opponents of the war should avoid feeding into it.

    The hysterical response to Ahmadinejad the president of a country that does not have nuclear weapons (unlike the US and Israel), doesn't regularly invade or bomb other countries (unlike the US and Israel), and doesn't regularly threaten to invade or bomb anyone (unlike the US and Israel) is just unreal.

  7. weak  

    Judd, you should be ashamed of yourself. When others are accusing Ahmadinejad of anti-Semitism, Holocaust-denying, and pursuing a bomb, you and your organization should be standing up for the truth! For example, did you know:

    1) Ahmadinejad doesn't want a nukes for a bomb, he just wants it for energy.

    2) He isn't a threat to Israel, for "wipe off the map" was a mistranslation. Such a phrase doesn't exist in Persian. What he really said was that the Israeli regime should "vanish from the page of time." This, clearly, is not a threat.

    3) He hasn't denied the Holocaust, just its politicization. While quoted as calling it a "myth," let's not forget that he speaks Persian, and so did not technically say the exact word "myth."

    David Judd needs to stand up for the truth. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should be embraced, not vilified. On September 24, I hope David Judd and the Columbia Coalition Against the War will join me in a protest not of the Iranian president, but of the America-zioni-warmong-totalitar-colonial-neoconservative US government, which will finally be revealed as a PUPPET GOVERNMENT of Israel!!!!

    • whoops  

      *And by government I mean regime/empire.

    • Wow

      I agree!

      But how will the protest against 'America-zioni-warmong-totalitar-colonial-neoconservative US government' differentiate itself from the anti-Ahmadinjedad protesters?

      My suggestion: T-shirts

      We can make T-shirts.

      But what image could represent our stance against the 'America-zioni-warmong-totalitar-colonial-neoconservative US government'? Maybe a picture of … a baby eating an ant? YES! Let us wear t-shirts with babies eating ants!!!!

      now all we need to do is rally our forces…

    • umm no

      Evidence points towards the conclusion that Iran is pursuing a highly enriched uranium (HEU) program (centrifuges, etc.)...which in turn can be further processed to weapons-grade plutonium.
      You can produce nuclear energy by alternative means. The fact that Iran is pursuing a HEU program causes concern not only for the US, but also for the world (ie Kouchner and UNSC sanctions)

      And what about Qud forces found in Iraq? How do you explain Iranian interference there?

      Don't sit there, pee on my foot, and tell me it's raining. There isn't some vast neocon conspiracy.

      • um...  

        i think its actually disputable whether iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, but, #10 was OBVIOUSLY trying to be a parody.

      • isn't kind of

        funny for someone who lives in the United States to be pissed at Iran for supposedly meddling in Iraq.

        Are you serious? You'd almost think that Iran had 160,000 combat troops there occupying the place.

        Or the world's largest nuclear weapons arsenal.

  8. nonconformity

    Nice publicity move —

    though, I suppose we can assume that many of the protesters will not necessarily be against the war but rather against a CRAZY TYRANT or some similar standard caricature of this controversial and uncompromising President.

    I am super excited just to watch. I hope nothing ridiculously embarrassing (read: student activity takes the event's spotlight as a consequence of some student group going 'too' far) happens.

  9. lolz

    those tough college idealists are so cute.

  10. oh please  

    "We fear the demonization of Ahmadinejad, because we think this demonization contributes to the likelihood of war."

    FUCK you. Are you really so idiotic as to think that anyone who dislikes Ahmadinejad absolutely wants war? We would lose troops, and they would, also. They would also lose many civilians because the nuclear plants are *conveniently* located in extremely populated regions. What this tells me is that Iran absolutely realizes that neither Israel nor the US aims to kill civilians, and placing a target in a densely populated region will make the western world think hard before bombing.

    I am so tired of leftists who do not realize how incredibly lucky they are to live here and not in Iran. This letter reeks of "We think Ahmadinejad is a badass for standing up to the west. Bush is Hitler and Ahmadinejad is justified."

    Ahmadinejad does an outstanding job of making himself look like a villain. No demonization is necessary by anybody else. Do you fools (I'm talking to you, David Judd) even understand what goes on in Iran? For example, how DARE you claim that the US is unfriendly to gays and women when in Iran, gays are executed and raping a women is not really a crime!

    I do not want to see a war against Iran. I would, however, love to see the Iranian people overthrow their own government (...again). But I would NEVER support turning a blind eye to Iran's actions for the sake of adherence to a uniform anti-war stance, as you so clearly support. If you were Iranian and had actually been to Iran, you'd feel the same way.

    The latter does not exist in Iran.

    • fuck YOU  

      I am incredibly tired of utter BULLSHIT like "I am so tired of leftists who do not realize how incredibly lucky they are to live here and not in Iran."

      This is exactly the same kind of irrelevant idiocy that was used to sell the war on Iraq. Yes, we're better here than there; NO, that doesn't mean they'd be better THERE if we BOMBED them. What in that makes you think that I think I'm worse off than Iranians? What the hell is your point except to hurl an insulting smear that serves only as a red herring in a debate where - not for us on Bwog, but in the country - thousands of lives may be at stake?

      • listen idiot  

        If the US (or Israel, likely Israel) were to bomb Iran, it would be in airstrikes in order to destroy the potential for a nuclear weapon. When Israel did that to Osirak, they killed only ELEVEN PEOPLE. It SAVED thousands of lives--by preventing Iraq from having a weapon that they would have ostensibly used to incite a real full-fledged war, which would endanger their own people. This is no different. Go back to your bongos, hippie.

      • and for the record  

        The stuff that was used to sell the war in Iraq was "We think there is a link between Al Qaida and Iraq, and Iraq has WMDs". The Human rights argument was not used until AFTER the link and WMDs failed.

        And hm, people like you are the ones who are bitching about Saving Darfur. What do you think that would involve? It would very likely involve civilian deaths. You don't think the ends justify the means there?

  11. This

    is awesome. I love when people get angry.

  12. well friggin said

    #19 for president!!!

  13. fyi

    The David Project et. al. are not Columbia groups and will be taking action at their own right-wing nutjob rally, likely on 116th St. While the media may try and conflate the two, this rally will be separate and apart from the Columbia Coalition's on-campus rally.

  14. Please  

    fuck the David Project up, anybody who sees them. Those Zionists are a disgrace & have seriously hurt our reputation + ability to bring in alum donations.

    And if anybody needed more of a reason to dismiss David Judd as a total dumb ass, let this be it.

  15. yeah  

    dems emailed dissing CCAW "misinformation"

  16. why?  

    all the animosity towards David Judd? He's one of many leftist activists, and it's just crude of you all to single him out. The strength of the Iraqi resistance and liberation movement has probably spared Iran from invasion, but we must still be careful. An invasion of Iran is still very possible.

  17. Concerned Columbian

    CCAW = the worst Columbia has to offer.

  18. Think for a second

    It's a little disappointing that people see no problem with having strong opinions about Ahmadinejad without ever hearing anything from him. Granted, he's not a good guy, and I certainly wouldn't want to be in a country where he's in power, but all the stuff about how he's a modern-day Hitler is a little tiresome (plus it helps reinforce Godwin's law).

    When you talk about Ahmadinejad, just realize that your thoughts are about three or four degrees away from the source. He says something in Farsi, that gets picked up in the Iranian press, then it's translated and picked up by an American newspaper. *Then* a cable news show whittles it down to a 30-second blurb to put between stories aboout O.J. Simpson and designer vaginas.

    Furthermore, it's not like Ahmadinejad has mind control powers. He's not going to sway anyone in the audience, and his people back home will only think more of us for having him come speak. We can continue to hate him, justifiably so, but at least we'll know what we're hating.

  19. Protesting  

    against Ahmadinejad is pointless. It's like voicing your outrage at "ALL BAD THINGS."

  20. argh

    Are any of the people posting here actually Columbia students? Or is it just overflow from FreeRepublic?

    • probably overflow  

      #19, #32, #33 seems to have nothing but arguments by vague association - i'm pissed at being told i'm somehow failing to recognize my relative privilege to iranians, which means i'm 1) among those who are "bitching" about Darfur and 2) a "hippy" with "bongos". this isn't rational thought, and i hope it's not columbia thought. it reads like freeperism.

      • cool

        i can pick out radical post numbers and claim they're just kos members or somethign too.

        Yeah, the majority of students on ths campus are liberal, but they're not super retarded liberal like you are (its obvious you're both 36 and 37)

        p.s. vague association is more valid than ad homs

        • hmm

          If you had half a brain, you would have just lied and said you were a columbia student.

          Bwog, can't you just redirect these right-wing idiots to the IDF webpage or something, like the little green footballs website does?

          • again

            ad homs.

            First of all, as suprising as they may be, there are Columbia student who do happen to visit right wing blogoshpere sites. Just like there are those who visit left wing ones. Some even try to visit both. Its not even hard to find them--there are a couple on the PSSA, in the model UN, part of CPU and definitely in the republicans, conservatives and pro life groups.

            But hey, I understand that you're probably one of those revolutionaries whose formulating the revolution from his/her mcbain shaft in between the masturbation sessions you engage in while your roommate actually ventures out into the outside. But just because you technically spend more time in a Columbia building then I may---or hold a different political opinion--doesn't mean that you can assume everyone who disagrees with you can't be from Columbia.

            I mean, for a purported liberal, you realize that claiming that any dissenting voices are just from outside 'radical' sites [where the people are depraved] is basically setting up an 'other' for you to dehumanize in a political sense right? Youre lucky I don't go to SHOCC and recommend you for opression training.

        • bwog-ignorant  

          trolls are easy to spot because they don't know what the "track" button does.

  21. The very

    fact that this abomination of a human being was INVITED to speak in a formal academic setting legitimizes his beliefs. Let me ask you, have you ever listened to the raving lunatics that chill outside Morton Williams? Believe me, they have VERY strong beliefs as well. Perhaps they too should be invited by Bollinger, as their perspective is entitled to the same freedom of speech rights as this tyrant's. But no, we don't do this, because we realize and are not ashamed to publicly acknowledge the illegitimacy of their opinions; so, why are we so eager to hear the raving of another lunatic? Because he has money and bombs? I am deeply ashamed to be part of an institution that enables such sub-human scum to spread messages of hate and barbarism.

    • and....

      students who support his invitation on the premise that ignoring or strongly opposing him will lead to war are complete idiots. People like him SHOULD be violently opposed, SHOULD be denied free speech, and yes, SHOULD be removed from civil society. You think just because he lives in a city instead of a cave, he's any different from Osama? You think because he doesn't publicly sign checks to terror organizations he's any different from Hamas? Then by all means, we must invite them for sessions of "academic discourse" as well. Never mind that they are cowardly mass murderers, their opinions matter! You people disgust me.

  22. Figures

    If you're a brown-skinned oppressor, you're okay (Ahmadinejad) but if you're a white-skinned one (Gilchrist), we're gonna' rush the stage!

  23. Ernst

    Preface: I'm against wars with Iran and Iraq.

    That said, here's hoping a thousand Andrew Meyer-like individuals will disrupt the Ahmadinejad speech with such intensity that the entire auditorium will be filled with cries of "Don't taze me, bro!"

    "Progressive" community, my ass.

  24. Behrouz Azarnia

    Columbia: Thy Name Is Idiocy

    How the West can defeat Islamofascism when our so-called prestigious learning institutions have no ability to make a distinction between good and evil. The Iran lobby (Gary Sick, Hamid Debashi,... ) are doing their best at Columbia to give legitimacy to the Islamic-Nazi regime of mad mullahs.

  25. Anonymous

    Joint news release of the International Action Center and the Stop War on Iran
    Contact: Sara Flounders at 212-633-6646

    Stop the war drive against Iran
    No to the demonization of President Ahmadinejad

    We denounce the campaign of demonization against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that has preceded his visit to attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York. We call on the anti-war movement, progressive organizations, students, workers and community groups to stand up to this racist campaign and say loudly and clearly: No war against Iran!

    What is the aim of this carefully crafted campaign by local, state and federal officials, the Republican and Democratic leadership, and the corporate media? To beat the drums for a new U.S.-led war against a sovereign, oil-rich Middle Eastern country, while diverting attention from the intractable crisis of the genocidal U.S. occupation of Iraq, which by the most recent estimate has cost 1.2 million Iraqi lives, and the growing economic crisis for poor and working people here at home.

    Whatever the intentions of some progressive student organizations who plan to join a protest planned against President Ahmadinejad’s Sept. 24 speaking engagement at Columbia University, their participation feeds into this pro-war campaign. The reactionary media and right-wing groups have taken complete ownership of the protest and will use it to feed the war hysteria. We agree with the Columbia Coalition Against the War, which says, “We call on those who do not support a war with Iran to be wary of the vilification of Ahmadinejad, to avoid Monday’s rally and to express vocally their opposition to military intervention.”

    The conduct of the New York City administration, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council head Christine Quinn, has been nothing short of criminal. The NYPD refused President Ahmadinejad’s request to lay a wreath at Ground Zero, citing so-called “security concerns.” At the same time, every statement by the Bloomberg administration has been calculated to stir up racist forces and threaten the safety of a visiting head of state, while implying that the NYPD will not provide him with the required protection. The Bush administration has been complicit in these threats, as have both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.

    To his credit, President Ahmadinejad has refused to be intimidated by these threats and plans to go ahead with his scheduled public appearance at Columbia University.

    Media have reported on Pentagon plans to strike against 10,000 targets in the first hours of a military attack on Iran. The targets are not only alleged nuclear power and military sites, but the very infrastructure of this country of 71 million people, including roads, bridges, the electrical grid and water supplies. Two U.S. aircraft carriers are perpetually stationed off Iran’s coast, and U.S. military bases throughout the Middle East are targeting Iran with missiles and bombers. Covert U.S. military incursions in Iranian territory have been reported. The unprovoked Israeli attack on Syria Sept. 6, which had White House approval, has also been reported as a dry-run for that U.S.-sponsored, nuclear-armed settler state’s participation in a war of terror against Iran.

    Before the 1979 revolution, Iran was a virtual U.S. colony ruled by the brutal Shah. The nationalization of Iran’s oil industry since 1979 has meant social programs, education and literacy for both women and men, health care and other social benefits. The Iranian people, whether or not they support the Islamic establishment or the current government in Tehran, are determined to protect the gains of their anti-colonial revolution. Like the resisting Iraqi population, they will not return quietly to the days of Pentagon and Wall Street domination.

    We stand with the President Ahmadinejad and the Iranian people to say: Stop the war drive against Iran!

    Initiated by the International Action Center and Stop War on Iran

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