16 PRIOR RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE A SIMILAR OUTCOME ATTORNEYS SELECTED TO SUPER LAW YERS WERE CHOSEN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROCESS ON PAGE 41.
Q: Weren’t you also part of a meeting with
homosexual leaders at the White House?
Apparently the first time that happened?
A: That’s correct.
Q: What do you remember about that meeting?
A: It was the beginning of the administration,
March 1977, and Midge and I suggested that they
come and meet with us to tell us what problems
they had with the government. I had been the
only straight person on the board of the National
Gay Task Force. So the heads of that, male and
female, came. Frank Kameny came.
Obviously there are a lot of interesting stories
in the White House. Joan Mondale was very
involved with the arts. I was on her subteam
and became friendly with her and then the
vice president. The vice president asked me
to be his deputy counsel and liaison with the
intelligence agencies for the White House to
discuss the rewriting of their charters—because
of all the violations that happened because of
Watergate, etc., etc. I think I was the youngest
person in the room. We did that every day for
I was also involved in the pre-Camp David
negotiations. Mondale went to Israel to warm
up the situation and I went along. They took
along Democrats who were high-profile and
who had donated to the cause: Lew Wasserman
and Arthur Krim, among others. There were two
planes and I got to sit with Lew and Arthur. I
was told … Actually it was Bob Torricelli, who
ultimately became a senator—he was associate
counsel, younger than me, but very savvy about
politics—and he told me to talk to each person
and get to know them and let them get to know
you. So I did what he said. This is a bit of a funny
story. I get off the plane. At the bottom of the
stairs is the defense minister of Israel, Ezer
Weizman, whom I knew. And we start speaking
Hebrew. Mondale almost fainted. He thought I
was from Minnesota.
These heads of the movie studios were like, “Oh
my God.” They had all the money in the world,
and they were very interested in Israel, but they
didn’t speak Hebrew. So they were, frankly, taken,
and they came to me, almost together, and said,
“When you get out of this business, we can help
you into our business.”
Q: So that’s how you got into entertainment
A: That’s why the door was open, let me put it
Anyway, I wanted to come back to New York,
so they had me participate in the running of
[Carter’s] primary campaign in New York City. As
my reward for doing that, I got to go to the U.N.
for the last year of the administration as one of
the six representatives of the United States. So
my dream came true.
A: Can you believe that? I mean that’s crazy,
Q: What does a representative, as opposed to
right? It was not exactly what I thought it
was, but it was fascinating and fabulous. I
learned the U.N. is a complicated place but it
is a valuable place for preventing trouble. It’s
also an opportunity for diplomats to see one
another so you can forestall misunderstandings
and make things happen. They are not an
enforcer, as we well know. But it’s got huge
NGOs, where they help people all over the
world. It’s not what everybody wanted it to be
but it is valuable.
an ambassador, do at the U.N.?
A: I was the person that sat for the United States
in the third committee. The third committee was
the committee that dealt with economic and
social issues: women’s rights, human rights. It
was the time of the Cold War, so we would sit
there every day with these telexes, which were in
a huge stack. Anything to do with Russia was at
the top because it was the most important. They
came in different colors, depending on what it
was supposed to be, how you were supposed
to be dealing with it. And if something got very
controversial, sometimes you’d need to go back
to the White House.
Q: And the Cold War was getting colder, right?
Afghanistan, we’re boycotting the summer
A: And the Russians were saying that we, the
United States, violated the human rights of
African Americans. I don’t remember who they
complained about but I turned around and
gave them what for publicly and it ended up
in the U.N. newspaper. The KGB literally came
over to me and asked me how I spelled my
name. But you know, when you’re young, you’re
fearless and stupid.
LEFT: When she was 8 years old, Haft visited the U.N. on a school trip and thought, “OK, this looks like a good place to tell the world what to do.” In 1980, she got her wish.
RIGHT: Haft with the ACLU in the early 1970s, where her work in early gay rights litigation led her to, of all places, the Playboy Mansion.