Eric Adler in the New York Press reveals a meeting between President Bush and a legal advisor for the PLO:
Diana Buttu has called Israel “the greatest abuser of human rights” in the world, claimed that the Jewish state is worse than South Africa under apartheid and characterized the Oslo peace process as a Zionist ploy to ethnically cleanse Palestinians. She isn’t the kind of woman you’d expect to have the ear of President Bush. But you’d be wrong.
In the October 12 number of the Washington Post, Glenn Kessler details “a private 30-minute meeting in the Oval Office with a group of Palestinian officials last week” held at the behest of undersecretary of state Karen Hughes. Buttu, a legal advisor for the PLO, was among those in attendance. The Post reports that Buttu was stunned to have direct access to the president, and found him conciliatory regarding her concerns about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Last year I attended the Fourth National Conference of the Palestine Solidarity Movement (PSM), where Buttu offered the keynote address, in which she claimed the “the corruption issue [in the Palestinian Authority] has been dealt with.”
The PSM is a front-group for the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), an organization dedicated to sending naÃ¯ve youngsters to the occupied territories to engage in protests aimed at de-legitimizing the state of Israel. In a PSM workshopI attended, ISM co-founder Huwaida Arraf offered a recruitment session for her group, openly acknowledging that the ISM works with Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
The impromptu chat was the work of Hughes, who had just recently finished her ridiculous five-day “listening tour” of the Middle East. (“I love all kids,” she assured a Turkish audience in a typical speech. “And I understand that is something I have in common with the Turkish people.”)
The meeting between Bush and Palestinian delegates such as Buttu makes clear that Hughes’ “listening tour” has led to more pernicious results than her mouthing of a few ineffective platitudes in the Middle East. After concluding that many Muslims blame Israel for all the world’s sins, Hughes set up a presidential get-together with a perverse fanatic. It’s enough to make those concerned about the survival of Israel hope that Karen Hughes no longer plays a role in this administration’s foreign policy.