As Purim approaches, thousands of Israeli children and families grapple with poverty
Samantha Power brings to foreign policy an activist impulse that many in the pro-Israel community wish was more prevalent among American diplomats.
Except Power, a former White House national security council staffer nominated this week by President Obama to represent the United States at the United Nations, has at times directed her interventionist inclinations at Israel.
A former journalist and Harvard-educated lawyer known for her work on human rights and genocide, Power presents a rare and polarizing dilemma for the pro-Israel community: Enthusiastically embrace her proclivity for tough U.S. intervention and hope it never manifests in her dealings with Israel? Or block her?
Two conservative Jewish groups, the Zionist Organization of America and Emet, have taken the latter approach. In urging the Senate to kill Power’s nomination, they have cited a 2002 video in which Power appears to advocate transferring U.S. assistance from Israel to the Palestinians and deploying an interventionary force to protect the Palestinians, among other statements.
“The overwhelming evidence of her entire record causes us great fear and concern,” the ZOA said in a statement.
Meanwhile, an array of Jewish groups — including the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, and the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly — have endorsed her unreservedly.
The ADL and the Rabbinical Assembly, in separate releases, each used the phrase “champion of human rights” to describe Power, who first came to wide public attention with the publication of her 2002 book, “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide,” which considered American inaction in the face of various genocides.
Notably, two groups that maintain a regular U.N. presence, the American Jewish Committee and B’nai B’rith International, had no comment. B’nai B’rith’s said it was withholding approval of Power’s nomination until she addressed her earlier remarks under oath during Senate confirmation hearings.
“Israel has few real friends at the United Nations and at the top of the list is the United States, and it is really incumbent on the representative to be prepared, willing and able to rebuff and repel that kind of language,” said the group’s executive vice president, Daniel Mariaschin.
A similar dichotomy is playing out among Republican senators, with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a leading critic of what he sees as Obama’s gun-shy foreign policy, saying he would support her, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a Tea Party favorite, expressing deep skepticism at the choice.
On Friday afternoon, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a pro-Israel leader in the body, strongly endorsed her on Twitter. “As United Nations Ambassador, Samantha Power will aggressively represent the United States interests in an increasingly hostile body,” he said on one Tweet, and then immediately: “Power will also be a strong supporter of our close friend and ally Israel.”
The difference was pronounced this week even among Republican Jews, with the Republican Jewish Coalition urging senators to ask Power hard questions about past statements and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, whose failed candidacy last year for the U.S. House of Representatives was heavily touted by the RJC, singing her praises.
“I take my yarmulke off to President Obama for one of the most impressive actions of his presidency, namely, the nomination of Samantha Power to the post of American Ambassador to the United Nations,” Boteach wrote in the Huffington Post.
Power, 42, was born in Ireland, but moved to Pittsburgh as a child. Her coverage of the Balkan wars for a number of American media outlets in the 1990s led to an interest in human rights law. Her 2002 book drew strong reviews and attracted the attention of Barack Obama, who was then contemplating a Senate run. Power joined his 2008 presidential campaign as an adviser and later the Obama White House, where she worked on on multilateral organizations.
Central to critiques of Power is a chat she had with a University of California-Berkeley professor, Harry Kreisler, in 2002, when she headed Harvard University’s Carr Center for Human Rights. Kreisler, hosting Power on his public access program, framed a question about U.S. intervention in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a “thought experiment” and asked Power what she would do if “one party or another” seemed ready to commit genocide. At the time, Israelis and Palestinians were mired in the Second Intifada.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
“With the launch of this new historic agreement, we hope to make the lives of newlyweds better and more meaningful, so that if, God forbid, the marriage breaks up, it will be done in a fair and respectful manner.”
Bibi’s speech will be during the U.S. workday, but prime viewing time in Israel.
The report, ordered but never implemented by PM Netanyahu, determined that Israeli settlements are legal according to international law.
Herzog, Livni and their media backers have thrown everything at Netanyahu. Voters are not impressed.
The report seems unbelievable, but the newspaper has an interesting track record.
Snow is uniting the American people, so to speak. An area in every one of the 50 states, including Hawaii, will see snow this week, according to the WeatherBell site. This week will be the first time since 2012 that even Florida will see snow. New York is expected to get another 3-4 inches today, […]
On Thursday evening, students at the Orot Etzion Boys Elementary School in Efrat reenacted different Biblical scenes as part of an interactive live art/Torah exhibition for the month of Adar. Every floor, corner, class and even staircase of the school (think Jacob’s ladder) showed off exhibits and models the students put together by themselves. In […]
A proposed law would require the Senate to approve the deal. Obama threatens to veto it.
The Israeli decision came, according to al-Jarida, in response to U.S. and Iran secret talks—behind Israel’s back—over Iran’s nuclear program.
Free speech is cherished, but hate displays on Sacramento home quite disturbing.
Democrats did not sponsor but also did not try to block the resolution.
More than 20 cars and buildings in a Jewish community in north London were vandalized with swastikas. The Nazi symbol was drawn on approximately 27 cars in the Osbaldeston Road area of Stoke Newington on Sunday night, The Daily Mail reported. An unnamed 32-year-old man was arrested in connection with the vandalism Tuesday. The neighborhood […]
New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind called on the Jewish community to attend the funeral of an assassinated New York police officer. “The brave men and women of the NYPD risk their lives every day to protect us. We value them and stand with them,” Hikind, a Democrat who represents Brooklyn, said in a statement […]
“Move Jew” scrawled on a Philadelphia home and slurs written on a synagogue and 10 garages in Chicago.
Cuba has “the largest pool of untapped baseball talent in the world, and Major League Baseball may tap and leave Cuba dry.
Argentina’s president Christina Fernandez has accepted an official Jewish godson for the first time in the country’s history to help counter legend of death to a seventh son. She described in seven tweets her meeting with her new godson, Yair Tawil, a member of a Chabad-Lubavitch family. He was adopted as a godson under a […]
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/powers-interventionism-thrills-pro-israel-crowd-except-on-israel/2013/06/08/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: