Ninety-two individuals, none of whom I'd ever heard about,
apparently affiliated with 40 organizations, of which I recognized a mere
handful, have written the president an "open letter" saying
that they had received his "recent decision to boycott the Durban
Review Conference with profound disappointment." It
could be that Barack Obama will know more of the signatories than I
do. But, frankly, I doubt it. (Still, I do want to satisfy
the curiosity of my readers about three of the institutions of which I do
know something. They are the National Lawyers Guild, Highlander
Research and Education Center and the Center for Constitutional
Rights. The first two were born right in the womb of the Communist
Party, and the third was mid-wifed by party lawyers. There are some
facts you'll have to accept even though they were also uttered by J.
Edgar Hoover. Another of the organizations among the signers is the
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. It believes in
a world free of violence, poverty, pollution, dominance, racism, sexism
and homophobia. WILPF also opposes oppression and exploitation,
nice sweet old ladies from another generation: Jane Addams who won
the Nobel Peace Prize, more deserved than Yassir Arafat.)
News of this epistle to the president was, as of Sunday night, not in the Times or on the AP wires. But it was, for some reason, in Ha'aretz.
The missive to Obama tries to cite him back to himself. "We applaud" your decision, say the signers, "to engage in dialogue with governments which you do not always agree such as the Islamic Republic of Iran." Actually, is there any evidence that the president agrees with anything that's important to the regime of the mullahs? I think not.
I'd be very much surprised if President Obama kindled to these imprecations. Durban II, to be held in Geneva in mid-April, is a trap for the Obama administration, full of decoys and bait. Watch out.