At least three leading pro-Israel American organizations have come out early and with vigor against the nomination of Samantha Power to become the next United States Ambassador to the United Nations.
The non-partisan Washington D.C.-based Endowment for Middle East Truth, a self-described think tank and policy shop, issued a statement deploring the nomination on Tuesday, June 4, the same day that the Republican Jewish Coalition did. The Zionist Organization of America, the oldest Zionist organization in America, was the first out of the starting gate with its long, detailed, public opposition to Power’s nomination on Monday June 3.
And on the other side of the ring we have perhaps the most famous and famously wealthy Jewish organization, the Anti-Defamation League, Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz and rabbi to the Stars and former congressional candidate Shmuley Boteach, all of whom are publicly placing their heckshers on Powers.
The Republican Jewish Coalition said Power “has a record of statements that are very troubling to Americans who support Israel.”
“In 2008, as an academic who taught at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Samantha Power suggested that the U.S. should invade Israel militarily to impose a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and protect “a new state of Palestine.” Her writing and public appearances reflected her views that special-interest lobbies in this country (read, the “Israel lobby”) have too great an impact on our foreign policy in the Middle East,” RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said in a written statement. “She must respond to the strong doubts about her views raised by that record. Senators should also examine her tenure as head of the President’s Atrocity Prevention Board to see what results, if any, came out of her time there.”
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “The ZOA is deeply concerned about and opposed to the nomination of Samantha Power as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. The overwhelming evidence of her entire record causes us great fear and concern as to her appropriateness for this post. Ms. Power’s record clearly shows that she is viscerally hostile to Israel, regards it as a major human rights abuser, even committing war crimes, and would like to see the weight of American military and financial power go to supporting the Palestinian Authority, not Israel. In contrast, she has spoken of Iran as though it scarcely poses a problem. She also strongly suggested that the U.S. cease worrying about alleged Jewish power and money which allegedly forces the U.S. to support Israel and which allegedly is not in the national interest.
“Samantha Power is clearly the wrong choice for UN Ambassador, particularly at this sensitive juncture in history,” EMET’s President and Founder Sarah Stern wrote in a press release.
“Considering Power’s openly hostile positions on Israel as well as her deep seated resentment for the United States, and her biases in favor of the Palestinians despite their continued incitement to hate and to kill Israelis, our one true democratic ally in the region, and on the Iranian nuclear program, “she continued, “this appointment shows supporters of Israel that the Obama Administration’s worst instincts are coming to the fore in its second term. It’s deeply distressing. We oppose her nomination in the strongest terms possible.”
There are those in the public eye who are frequently considered to have strongly Jewish, pro-Israel positions, who have expressed support for Power.Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, the prolific author once known as the “rabbi to the stars” because of his close-relationship with singer Michael Jackson, was won over by Power during a closed meeting between her and “40 Jewish leaders held in the offices of Jewish philanthropist Michael Steinhardt.
Boteach described that meeting and his conversion to Power-lover and defender of Power in an article published in the Huffington Post:
Typical of her erudition and brilliance, Samantha presented a sweeping view of American policy in the world’s most dangerous region. Then, she directly addressed the accusations that she harbored animus toward Israel. And in the presence of the leaders of our community, she suddenly became deeply emotional and struggled to complete her presentation as she expressed how deeply such accusations had affected her.
Tears streamed down her cheeks and I think it fair to say that there was no one in the room who wasn’t deeply moved by this incredible display of pain and emotion.
And the ADL’s national director Abraham Foxman and Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL National Chair, had this to say:
As the world is sickened by the images of slaughter in Syria and as Israel faces an ever more volatile Middle East, we are heartened that the U.S. will be represented by an individual whose moral resolve and fierce pragmatism will serve our country well.
Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz, strongly recommended confirming Powers’ nomination, but the words he chose and the way he used them are worth parsing carefully. He wrote:
To be sure, Samantha has said some things she now regrets — about Hillary Clinton, about Israel and about other controversial matters. She says what she thinks when she thinks it.
As the United States representative to the United Nations, she will articulate the policy of the Obama Administration. She will have to be more diplomatic than she was while in private life. I am confident that she will make our country proud.
I have discussed the Israeli-Arab and Israeli-Palestinian conflict with Samantha on many occasions. As a strong supporter of Israel’s security, I have a high level of confidence that she will do and say the right things.
Indeed, because of her sometimes critical attitude toward certain Israeli policies — some of which I agree with, others of which I do not — she will bring added credibility to her positions at the most anti-Israel location in the world other than perhaps, Tehran.
In other words, she has a loose mouth, she’s said things she shouldn’t have, she will need to learn to be a diplomat, but she will be the voice of the Obama administration at the United Nations. And by the way, her being perceived as anti-Israel is really kinda good for the Jews, right?
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the U.S. correspondent for The Jewish Press. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com
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