Can a woman who called for the invasion of Israeli territory be trusted at the United Nations?
On Wednesday, President Obama nominated Samantha Power to be US Ambassador to the United Nations. Power has “been a relentless advocate for American interests and values, building partnerships on behalf of democracy and human rights, fighting the scourge of anti-Semitism and combating human trafficking,” the president contended. Power's record, however, tells a much different tale. Power is, unsurprisingly, not only a radical leftist who believes America is evil and owes the world an apology, but someone with an egregious history of antipathy directed towards Israel.
In a March 2003 article for the New Republic, Power engaged in the typically leftist denigration of the United States, characterizing American foreign policy as "an explicitly amoral enterprise." She bemoaned the fact that America's "exceptionalist impulses," had been "with us for a long time," and that they animated George W. Bush's "militant moralism." She was further lamented that such "militant moralism" was left unchecked by Congress, due in large part to the fact that America no longer sustained enough war casualties to animate their concern "thanks to U.S. technological supremacy."
In the same New Republic piece, Power reveals her true disdain for the US "criminal" foreign policy: "U.S. foreign policy," she said,
needs not tweaking but overhauling. We need: a historical reckoning with crimes committed, sponsored, or permitted by the United States...A country has to look back before it can move forward. Instituting a doctrine of the mea culpa would enhance our credibility by showing that American decision-makers do not endorse the sins of their predecessors.
In 2009, Obama did exactly what Power recommended, and apologized to the Arab world for America's "sins." In 2011, the Washington Post revealed how well that approach worked out. "In most countries surveyed, favorable attitudes toward the United States dropped to levels lower than they were during the last year of the Bush administration," the paper reported.
Power's attitude towards Israel is also alarming and destructive. In 2001, she attended the United Nations' World Conference Against Racism, held in Durbin, South Africa. She remained there after the U.S. withdrew most of its diplomatic participation, when it became apparent the gathering would amount to little more than a platform for anti-American, anti-Israel, and anti-Semitic tirades.
A year later, Power was interviewed by Harry Kreisler of Berkeley’s Institute of International Studies. He asked Power to engage in a "thought experiment" about how she would advise the president "to put a structure in place" with regard to the Palestine-Israel problem to "monitor the situation," if one party or the other was "moving towards genocide."
Power appears quite comfortable with the obviously loaded question, never once acknowledging that Kreisler was making no distinction between the Palestinians, who were in the midst of waging an intifada against Israel, and Israel's right to defend itself from annihilation. After noting there was an abundance of information that didn't necessitate some sort of "early warning mechanism," Power insisted the United States needed "a willingness to actually put something on the line in the service of helping the situation. And putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import.”
The domestic constituency is plainly Jewish Americans. This description in particular reveals Power's sympathy with stereotypes of Jewish wealth and power. Yet Power showed an even greater and darker anti-Semitic streak in the followup, essentially advocating an invasion of Israeli territory on behalf of the Palestinians to protect them from "major human rights abuses":
It may mean, more crucially, sacrificing, or investing I think more than sacrificing, literally billions of dollars, not in servicing Israel’s military but actually investing in the new state of Palestine; in investing billions of dollars it would probably take also to support I think what will have to be a mammoth a protection force--not of the old Srebrenica kind or of the Rwanda kind, but a meaningful military presence. Because it seems to me at this stage--and this is true of actual genocides as well and not just major human rights abuses which we’re seeing there--that is that you have to go in as if you’re serious, you have to put something on the line.
In a further cementing of her twisted moral equivocation, Power describes terrorist leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (who made tremendous concessions to the belligerent Arab Palestinians), as morally comparable; as two men “politically destined to destroy the lives of their own people,” and "dreadfully irresponsible."
Power and her supporters claim those remarks were taken out of context. Yet in 2003, a quote by Power contained in the book "Ethnic Violence and Justice," demonstrates a reflexive antipathy towards Israel as well. Power asks David Rohde, a New York Times reporter who covered the intifada, the following question:
I was struck by a headline that accompanied a news story on the publication of the Human Rights Watch report. The headline was, I believe: "Human Rights Report Finds Massacre Did Not Occur in Jenin." The second paragraph said, "Oh, but lots of war crimes did." Why wouldn’t they make the war crimes the headline and the non-massacre the second paragraph?"
In other words, despite the reality that the so-called Jenin massacre never happened, Power thought the Times should juxtapose its headline to show that Israel was still guilty of war crimes.
In a 2004 review of radical leftist Noam Chomsky's book Hegemony or Survival, Power agreed with many of his criticisms of American's foreign policy, and lumped Israel with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, Russia, and Uzbekistan in references to the “sins of our allies in the war on terror."
Then in 2007, when Power was a professor at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, she gave an interview that has been scrubbed from the school's website. "Another longstanding foreign policy flaw is the degree to which special interests dictate the way in which the 'national interest' as a whole is defined and pursued…" Power contended.
America’s important historic relationship with Israel has often led foreign policy decision-makers to defer reflexively to Israeli security assessments, and to replicate Israeli tactics which, as the war in Lebanon last summer demonstrated, can turn out to be counter-productive.
In addition to appealing to conspiracy theories of tiny Israel's control of US foreign policy, Power completely ignores the reality that the "counter-productive" war in Lebanon was precipitated by Hezbollah in a cross-border assault, during which eight Israeli soldiers were killed and two captured. Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah admitted the operation had been planned for months.
In 2008, Power released a book, Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira De Mello and the Fight to Save the World, a biography of the UN official killed in Baghdad in a 2003 terrorist bombing. When a UN force sent to Lebanon in 1982 to stop a series of attacks emanating from a mini-state created by the PLO in that country proved ineffective, Israel forces remained there as well. Power argued that:
Israeli forces refused to comply with the spirit of international demands to withdraw and the major powers on the Security Council were not prepared to deal with the gnarly issues that had sparked the Israelis invasion in the first place: dispossessed Palestinians and Israeli insecurity.
Again, Power implied moral equivalency by ignoring the reality that Israel went into Lebanon to destroy a terrorist infrastructure on the Lebanese-Israeli border that had attacked IDF forces and the Israeli communities near the border.
Also in 2008, Power wrote a Time magazine column belittling concerns about Iran's nuclear program, characterizing it as a figment of George W. Bush's imagination. And again in that same year, she completely disavowed her 2002 "thought experiment" in an interview with Miftah.org., a pro-Palestine sovereignty website. "Even I don't understand it," she says. "This makes no sense to me. The quote seems so weird."
Power's nomination as the US Ambassador to the UN make perfect sense, of course, for an Obama administration that has made it clear there is precious little in the way of moral clarity with regard to its relationship with Israel, even as the disaster of the Arab Spring threatens to destabilize the region in a manner that may pose an unprecedented level of danger to the Jewish State.
The last thing America needs is another representative willing to see the entire world, including Israel and the United States, in morally relative terms. Power's clear disdain for American exceptionalism is more than enough to disqualify her for the job of UN Ambassador. Our enemies have no such misgivings about who they are and what they want -- and what they are willing to do to get it.
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