web analytics
September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Administration Ripped For Honoring Outspoken Israel Critic


WASHINGTON – The White House is facing mounting criticism over its decision to give a prestigious award to the former United Nations official who presided over the infamous 2001 Durban conference and has a history of criticism of Israel.


The Anti-Defamation League, the Zionist Organization of America and AIPAC were the latest to slam the pick of Mary Robinson, the former UN high commissioner for human rights, as one of 16 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the highest civilian honor in the United States.


On Tuesday, AIPAC added to a spate of initial criticism from conservative pro-Israel blogs soon after Robinson’s name was announced July 30. A day earlier the ADL and ZOA had come out with statements opposing the choice.


“AIPAC respectfully calls on the administration to firmly, fully and publicly repudiate her views on Israel and her long public record of hostility and one-sided bias against the Jewish state,” the pro-Israel lobby said in a relatively rare public statement.


The ADL in a statement called the pick “ill advised” and said Robinson was “undeserving of the honor” because of her “animus towards Israel.”


The ZOA in attacking the selection called Robinson “viciously critical” toward the Jewish state.


Even before the two statements, the White House was defending the pick.


“Mary Robinson has dedicated her career to human rights and working to improve an imperfect world,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said the day after the selection. “As with any public figure, we don’t necessarily agree with every statement she has ever made, but it’s clear that she has been an agent of change and a fighter for good.”


Robinson – an honorary president of Oxfam International, chair of the Board of Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations, and president of a New York-based initiative to put human rights concerns at the center of globalization – called the criticism “totally without foundation” and pointed a finger at Jewish critics.


“There’s a lot of bullying by certain elements of the Jewish community,” Robinson, the former president of Ireland, said Sunday in an interview with RTE Radio One that was reported in Irish newspapers. “They bully people who try to address the severe situation in Gaza and the West Bank. Archbishop Desmond Tutu gets the same criticism.”


Tutu, an anti-apartheid activist whom the ZOA also called a “virulent critic” of the Jewish state, also is among the medal recipients.

 

 


Mary Robinson

 

The Robinson award comes as the Obama administration is already facing increasing criticism from several Jewish groups over a Middle East strategy that they see as placing disproportionate pressure on Israel compared to the Palestinians and Arab states. The president reportedly plans to embark on a campaign of media interviews with reporters from Israel and Arab countries in order to better explain the policy.


The growing controversy over Robinson could potentially complicate such efforts to win over the Israeli public, since the former UN human rights chief is slated to visit the region just a couple weeks after the Aug. 12 White House medal ceremony.


Robinson is expected to join Tutu and former president Jimmy Carter, a longtime Israel critic, on a mission to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza as part of an international group of statesman and dignitaries that calls itself The Elders.


Any anti-Israel rebuke from Robinson or the group is likely to prompt a new round of criticism and questions about Obama’s decision to honor her.


Tevi Troy, a Jewish liaison and domestic policy adviser in the George W. Bush administration, said he was surprised that such a controversial honoree could pass what should be an extensive vetting process in the White House.


Any major award, said Troy, would have to “get clearance” from senior staff, which in this case would likely include top adviser David Axelrod and chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.


One Obama supporter suggested that the controversy was a distraction from more important matters.


“With a major battle to ensure every American has access to health care, delicate negotiations to further the peace process in the Middle East and the battle to deny Iran a nuclear capacity, don’t we as a community have more critical issues to focus on?” said Ira Forman, the CEO of the National Jewish Democratic Council.


The primary criticism of Robinson, the first female president of Ireland, comes over her 1997-2002 tenure as UN high commissioner of human rights, during which she was the convener of a UN conference ostensibly against racism that was filled with anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hostility.


“She allowed the process to be hijacked to promote the delegitimizing of Israel and pronouncements of hateful anti-Jewish canards, such as ‘Zionism is racism,’ ” said ADL National Director Abraham Foxman.


In an article detailing the reasons for the failure of the conference, the late Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) wrote in 2002 that “much of the responsibility for the debacle rests on the shoulders” of Robinson, who “in her role as secretary general of the conference failed to provide the leadership needed to keep the conference on track.”


In discussions during the conference, Lantos wrote in the Fletcher Forum on World Affairs, Robinson “refused to reject the twisted notion that the wrong done to the Jews in the Holocaust was equivalent to the pain suffered by the Palestinians in the Middle East. Instead, she discussed ‘the historical wounds of anti-Semitism and of the Holocaust on the one hand and … the accumulated wounds of displacement and military occupation on the other.’ “


Supporters of the Robinson selection have pointed to an article from The Jerusalem Post to argue that Robinson did make efforts to fight anti-Semitism at the conference. The article reports that “waving a book of anti-Semitic cartoons distributed at the anti-racism conference in Durban, UN High Commissioner Mary Robinson – in a dramatic act of identification with the Jews vilified in the pamphlet – declared ‘I am a Jew’ at an NGO dinner there Wednesday night.”


And one official at a Jewish organization who did not wish to be identified noted that much of the most offensive language eventually was scrubbed from the final document of the 2001 conference, although the fact that the Palestinian issue was ultimately singled out was still a major problem because it marked Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians as an issue of race.


But Robinson’s actions were still too little, too late, said the Jewish organizational official.


Foxman also argued that Robinson unfairly blamed Israel for the outbreak of Palestinian violence that started the Second Intifada, and said her targeting of Israel resumed last year.


In an interview after a visit with The Elders to Israel and Gaza last November, she said, “I cannot believe that Israeli ordinary people understand what is being done in their name; they couldn’t possibly support it if they did.”


And after Israel’s invasion of Gaza, she said the Jewish state contravened “international legal norms relating in particular to proportionality and collective punishment,” while also calling on Hamas to stop firing missiles into Israel.


“She is not an agent of change,” said Foxman, referring to the White House’s defense of Robinson.


Among the 16 honorees is the late Jack Kemp, a former Republican congressman, Cabinet member and vice presidential candidate who was one of the GOP’s leading pro-Israel voices.

(JTA)

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Administration Ripped For Honoring Outspoken Israel Critic”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A general view of the Bat Ain community at Gush Etzion.
US Pushes PA Agenda and Tells Israel to Cancel New Gush Etzion Town
Latest News Stories
Young Israeli boy dip apple in honey in tradition with the Rosh HaShanah New Year holiday

Honey cake, gourmet honey, flavored honey, and honey as a recipe in chicken, and even fish, are all expected to contribute to soaring sales of honey this Rosh Hashanah and holiday season. Ironically, the US Department of Agriculture is conducting hearings to define honey or just how much honey is required to qualify for “pure […]

A general view of the Bat Ain community at Gush Etzion.

Abbas does not have to push agenda because he has the Obama administration is his spokesman.

Steven Sotlof Beheading

The Islamic State (ISIS) has just released a video showing the beheading of another American journalist, Steven Sotloff, according to a monitoring group.

Cantor can thank his defeat to a Tea Party candidate for leading him to more lucrative and stable career.

Hamas won the war in political terms, but that won’t stop Kerry.

A farmer in the (legal) Tikkun Olan Cannabis farm near Tzfat. This is one of their greenhouses. The company is licensed by Israel’s Ministry of Health to grow, process and distribute the medicinal plant.

Israeli intelligence sparked a massive manhunt that foiled an Arab terror attack, caught two suspects and kept Israeli civilians safe.

The ‘Talansky affair’ corruption trial of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert re-opened today in Jerusalem.

Iran has successfully tested a new defensive radar and missile system, its air force chief announced Monday.

Diplomatic relations with Israel are likely to remain in deep freeze for the next few years, Turkish PM Davutoglu signals.

Events on the other side of Israel’s northern border are heating up. The IDF is on high alert in the Golan Heights.

Germany and other western countries have begun providing weapons to Kurds in fight against the IS.

Sept. 1 is a spectacularly important day in Israel.

BDS will be claim victory, but the truth is that a logistics would be a major factor if SodaStream leaves Maaleh Adumim.

The body of 1st Sgt. Shachar Shalev was laid to rest this afternoon in the cemetery in Hipsin.

More Articles from Eric Fingerhut

WASHINGTON – A window was shattered by a pellet gun in an apparent vandalism attack at her Tucson district office. Sarah Palin has put her on the list of Democratic lawmakers she is targeting this fall. Arizona Tea Party activists are pledging to help defeat her bid for re-election.

WASHINGTON – A window was shattered by a pellet gun in an apparent vandalism attack at her Tucson district office. Sarah Palin has put her on the list of Democratic lawmakers she is targeting this fall. Arizona Tea Party activists are pledging to help defeat her bid for re-election.

WASHINGTON – Opinion polls are expected to provide a simple answer to an important question: What are the people thinking? But the details often reveal a much more complicated picture.

WASHINGTON – A U.S. congressman is the latest to call for a Justice Department investigation into whether a pro-Palestinian group has been raising money on college campuses for Hamas.

WASHINGTON – Some conservatives are accusing the Anti-Defamation League of launching a partisan attack following its report asserting that a “current of anti-government hostility” has swept the United States in the year since Barack Obama was elected.

WASHINGTON – As Sarah Palin embarked on a tour for her just published book Going Rogue, she became the latest prospective Republican presidential candidate to criticize the Obama administration’s policy on Israel.

WASHINGTON – A new survey shows that a majority of American Jews would support a U.S. military strike on Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons – a significant increase from a year ago.

WASHINGTON – A new survey shows that a majority of American Jews would support a U.S. military strike on Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons – a significant increase from a year ago.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/administration-ripped-for-honoring-outspoken-israel-critic/2009/08/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: