By: Morton A. Klein, ZOA
June 5, 2013

ZOA Opposes Obama Nominee Samantha Power For U.N. Ambassador

Power Hostile To Israel, Naive In Foreign Policy
ZOA has expressed opposition to President Barack Obama’s nomination of Samantha Power for the post of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, a cabinet-rank position, in succession to Susan Rice. (Photo: Eric Bridiers)
ZOA has expressed opposition to President Barack Obama’s nomination of Samantha Power for the post of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, a cabinet-rank position, in succession to Susan Rice. (Photo: Eric Bridiers)

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has expressed opposition to President Barack Obama’s nomination of Samantha Power for the post of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, a cabinet-rank position, in succession to Susan Rice. The overwhelming evidence of her entire record causes us great fear and concern as to her appropriateness for this post. The ZOA, in opposing her nomination, cited Powers’ documented record of outspoken anti-Israel statements and lack of diplomatic tact and has urged the Senate to vote her down when her nomination comes before it.

 Power’s record:

  •  April 2002: Urges investing billions of dollars in a Palestinian state and providing a “mammoth” military force to shield it from major human rights-abusing Israel: In a ‘Conversations with History’ interview at University of California at Berkeley, Power, responding to a hypothetical question on a scenario in which the U.S. must prevent the possibility of Israelis committing genocide against the Palestinians, said, “we don’t need some kind of an early warning mechanism there, what we need is a willingness to put something on the line in service of helping the situation and putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import [i.e. American Jews]; it may more crucially mean 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 protection force, not the old Srebrenica or the Rwanda kind, but a meaningful military presence, because it seems me, at this stage – and this is true of actual genocides as well, and not just major human rights abuses that we’re seeing there – you have to go in as if you’re serious, you have put something on the line, and unfortunately imposition of a solution on unwilling parties is dreadful, I mean, it’s a terrible thing to do, its fundamentally undemocratic, but, sadly, we don’t just have democracy here, either, we have a liberal democracy, there are certain sets of principles that, guide, you know, our policy, or they’re meant to anyway and its essential that some set of principles become the benchmarks rather than deference to people who are fundamentally politically destined to destroy the lives of their own people and by that I mean what Tom Friedman has called ‘Sharafat.’ I do think in that sense that both political leaders have been dreadfully irresponsible and unfortunately it does require external intervention which, very much like the Rwanda scenario, that thought experiment, if we had intervened early” (‘Obama advisor calls for the invasion of Israel,’ Youtube, July 28, 2008).

 

  •  April 2003: Obscene moral equivalence between terrorist Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, between Nazi Germany’s actions and U.S. actions: Power wrote, “We will lambaste Yasir Arafat, investing significant political capital in regime change, but we will only ritualistically take issue with Ariel SharonThe United States will not subject itself to the jurisdiction of the ICC, so only it will decide whether it has violated the Geneva Conventions as it bombs Iraq … 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. When Willie Brandt went down on one knee in the Warsaw ghetto, his gesture was gratifying to World War II survivors, but it was also ennobling and cathartic for Germany. Would such an approach be futile for the United States?” (‘Force Full,’ New Republic, March 3, 2003).
  •  2003: New York Times should headline Israeli war crimes: In her book, Ethnic Violence and Justice, Power criticized the New York Times for headlining its report on a publication by the anti-Israel NGO, Human Rights Watch (HRW), with the HRW’s concession that, in 2002, there had been no massacre of Palestinians committed by Israel in Jenin. Power had wanted the Times to refer in the headline to HRW’s claim that it had alleged seeing signs of Israeli war crimes.
  •  March 2007: Supporting Israel harms the U.S. national interest: In an interview published on the Harvard Kennedy School’s website, Power, answering the question of  the reasons behind “long-standing structural and conceptual problems in U.S. foreign policy,” said that one “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 …  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 … So greater regard for international institutions along with less automatic deference to special interests–especially when it comes to matters of life and death and war and peace–seem to be two take-aways from the war in Iraq.” (‘Samantha Power on U.S. Foreign Policy,’ an interview with in Molly Lanzarotta, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, March 14, 2007).
  •  January 2008: Iran a phony threat conjured up by Bush: In an article in TIME Magazine, Power wrote regarding the threat posed by Iran that “the Bush Administration attempts to gin up international outrage by making a claim of imminent danger, only to be met with international eye rolling when the claim is disproved. Sound familiar? The speedboat episode [a reference to the 2007 incident between Iranian speedboats and the U.S. Navy in the Straits of Hormuz] bore an uncanny resemblance to the Administration’s allegations about the advanced state of Iran’s weapons program–allegations refuted in December by the National Intelligence Estimate” (‘Rethinking Iran,’ TIME, January 17, 2008).
  •  2008: No diplomatic tact: Working on then-Senator Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, Power was fired for calling Hillary Clinton a “monster.”

 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 also has a record that strongly suggests that she might well have been a major influence in President Obama’s harmful and humiliating policy of apologizing to the world for American actions that, by and large, have served to protect America and its allies and assured a world order that is not governed by tyrants and terrorists. Her analogy between the need for the U.S. to apologize for its actions like Germany did for the Nazi era is simply an obscene example of moral incoherence. How can such a person represent the United States?

 “As her own words show, Ms. Power indulges in astonishing false equivalence between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA). She clearly has difficulty in appreciating the distinction between a law-based, free society and democracy like Israel that is defending itself from those who seek its elimination, and a terror-sponsoring, terrorist-glorifying, violence-inculcating PA that has neither signed peace with Israel nor recognized Israel as a Jewish state.

 “Ms. Power’s publicly calling Hillary Clinton a ‘monster’ is an episode that suggests a lack of diplomatic tact and circumspection that would bode ill for a U.S. ambassador to the UN.”

 “Ms. Power has written she would like the U.S. to be subject to the International Criminal Court, a body that could harm America and other free societies. One can therefore be sure that she would also like to see Israel subjected to the rulings of the ICC, a body which, as the ZOA pointed out in a Jerusalem Post op-ed earlier this year,  has taken a lead in trying to define Israeli Jews living in and moving to Judea and Samaria as guilty of a war crime.

 “Can a U.S. Ambassador to the UN who seeks these things be good for America or Israel?

 “President Obama’s recent choices of John Brennan as Director of the CIA and Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense; his 2009 abortive nomination of the Saudi-decorated, Hamas apologist Israel-hater Chas W. Freeman for the National Intelligence Board; and numerous, lower-level appointments, when coupled now the nomination of Power, reveal a president with little regard for either Israel, the pro-Israel community or the American Jewish community. 

 “We strongly urge the U.S. Senate to vote down the nomination of Samantha Power.”