According to the Spectator, a group of students who are members of the Columbia International Relations Council and Association has been invited to attend a private dinner with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when he travels to New York for the United Nations General Assembly meeting next week. A student spokesman for the group, when asked whether the invitation had provoked controversy within CIRCA, seemed surprised by the question. "Everyone was really enthusiastic," said Tim Chan. "They're thrilled to have this opportunity."
Ahmadinejad represents everything that campus liberals profess to hate. In order of importance, those things would be: 1) persecuting homosexuals; 2) cruel and abusive treatment of women; 3) brutal treatment of minorities; 4) shooting opponents of the regime in the streets; 5) restricting free speech; 6) building nuclear weapons; and 7) sponsoring terror worldwide. Tehran provides materiel and moral support for Bashar Assad's murderous regime in Syria, which has mowed down protesters by the thousands in the past few months. The Iranian regime is also guilty of fetid anti-Semitism and has the blood of many American soldiers who served in Iraq on its hands -- though it isn't clear that the latter two offenses rate very highly with Columbia students.
Even as members of CIRCA were eagerly anticipating dining with one of the world's true fiends, the Iranian government was refusing to release American hikers Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal, who recently were convicted of espionage after a secret trial and sentenced to eight years in prison. Both Bauer and Fattal are graduates of the University of California, Berkeley and believers -- if you can extrapolate from their backgrounds in "sustainable development" and freelance photography for leftist outlets, such as Democracy Now! -- in liberal causes. Even if members of CIRCA feel no particular solidarity with the hikers as fellow Americans, they might at least feel something for fellow members of the liberal clerisy. But apparently not.