US Jewish Leader Calls for Halt to Columbia Donations Over School’s Hosting of Antisemitic Malaysian PM
A prominent US Jewish leader is calling for a halt of donations to Columbia University over a scheduled appearance there on Wednesday of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed, who has a long record of antisemitic statements.
In a letter sent to Columbia President Lee Bollinger on Tuesday, World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder wrote that the school’s decision to host Mahathir was “consistent with the double standard against Jewish people, which would never be tolerated with someone who spoke similarly against people of color, gay people or other minorities.”
Lauder went on tell Bollinger he would be encouraging his friends to “immediately cease any of their contributions to your institution until such a time anti-Semitic despots are no longer welcome on your campus.”
A Change.org petition protesting Mahathir’s Columbia speech had received nearly 3,000 signatures by Tuesday afternoon.
The 94-year-old Mahathir’s most recent public antisemitic outburst occurred in June, during an appearance at Cambridge University in the UK.
The event moderator asked him, “Why do you say that the Jewish people in general are inclined towards money? There are lots of Jews who care about human rights, care about social justice, care about democracy.”
Mahathir answered: “I have some Jewish friends, very good friends. They are not like the other Jews, that’s why they are my friends.”