March 19, 2021
News Press Release

ZOA Appalled: Opposes Samantha Power to Head United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Sit on National Security Council

Samantha Power

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein, ZOA Chair Mark Levenson, Esq., and ZOA Director of Special Projects Liz Berney, Esq. released the following statement:

The ZOA strongly opposes the nomination of Samantha Power to head the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – a position that President Biden elevated to include a seat on the National Security Council (NSC). In 2013 when Power was nominated for U.S. Ambassador to the UN (a position in which Power helped adopt the worst anti-Israel UN Security Council resolution in history), distinguished British journalist and frequent Jerusalem Post contributor Melanie Phillips wrote, “we should all be frightened by Samantha Power. She is the living embodiment of the way in which ‘human rights’ have morphed into their absolute opposite, and instead of providing a protection against tyranny have been turned into the anvil upon which freedom and justice are being smashed.” Power indeed uses the mantra of “human rights” to condemn and damage human rights-loving countries, especially the U.S. and Israel, and to instead support murderous hateful regimes. Confirming Power to head USAID would enable her to spend billions of American tax dollars to put her harmful, hypocritical agenda into effect. ZOA urges the Senate to not confirm Power.

Power’s alarming, disqualifying record includes the following:

I. Power’s Numerous Anti-Israel Statements, Proposals and Actions: Power’s long history of anti-Israel statements, proposals and actions includes:

  • Power Enabling Extreme Anti-Israel UN Resolution: In December 2016, while serving as U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Power enabled and promoted the adoption of the worst anti-Israel UN Security Council Resolution in history, UNSC Res. 2334. Leaked documents revealed that the lame duck Obama administration worked with the Palestinian Authority to orchestrate UNSC Res. 2334. UNSCR 2334 falsely and outrageously – and in violation of international law – declared that the Jewish people’s and Judaism’s holiest sites, including the Temple Mount, Western Wall, Jerusalem’s Old City and its Jewish Quarter, the Mount of Olives and its 2,500-year-old Jewish cemetery, as well as Hadassah Hospital, Hebrew University, and the historic Jewish heartlands of Judea and Samaria, are all “occupied Arab land.” UNSC Res. 2334 also promoted BDS (anti-Israel boycotts, divestment, and sanctions), and falsely claimed that Jewish homes in the above-listed historic Jewish areas “have no legal validity, and constitute[] a flagrant violation of international law.” (See ZOA Condemns Obama/Kerry/Power For Enabling Passage of Anti-Semitic Ethnic Cleansing Anti-Israel UN Res Denying Jewish Rights to Live in Jerusalem/Judea/Samaria,” Dec. 23, 2016.)

The U.S. Congress overwhelmingly passed a resolution (H. Res. 11) that condemned UNSCR 2334. However, Power made a speech falsely defending the heinous UNSCR 2334 as reflecting longstanding U.S. policy. Power’s speech also blasted so-called Israeli “occupation” and Jews living on Israel’s historic lands.

  • Power Promoted False Moral Equivalence and Anti-Israel Myths at the UN: In February 2016, in her opening remarks at the UN Security Council’s open debate on the Middle East, Power: 

(i)       equated Palestinian Arab terrorists’ stabbing murders of a mother of 6 children, another young woman, and hundreds of other innocent Jews to virtually non-existent “settler violence” – a false and despicable “moral equivalence”; 

(ii)      falsely portrayed the Palestinian Authority (PA) as “pressing for calm” when in fact, the PA (as the PA still does) pays Arabs huge sums of money to murder Jews, and incites violence against innocent Jews in the PA’s speeches, official newspapers, social media, textbooks, schools, clubs, government-controlled mosques, government-controlled television specials, and government-controlled ceremonies honoring terrorists;

(iii)     launched into a tirade against Jews living in the Jewish homeland, and demanded a Palestinian Arab state (sure to be an Iran/Hamas terror state); and

(iv)    complained about and falsely blamed Israel for humanitarian conditions in Gaza – and never mentioned that the designated terrorist organization Hamas is solely responsible for these conditions. Power demanded that Israel “open Gaza border crossing points,” while omitting mentioning the hundreds of truckloads of goods that Israel transports to Gaza every single day. In 2015, 139,364 trucks of goods entered Gaza carrying construction materials (‪over 3.7 tons), medical equipment, and other good for the benefit of Gaza’s civilian population.

(See ZOA Criticizes U.S. Amb. to UN Samantha Power’s Anti-Israel, Anti-Judea/Samaria Remarks at UN,” Feb. 26, 2016.)

  • Power Urged Providing Palestinians With An Anti-Israel Protection Force Against Imaginary Israel Human Rights Abuses, and Imposing Solutions: In April 2002, at a UC-Berkeley “Conversations with History interview, Power outrageously and absurdly urged the U.S. to not fund “Israel’s military,” and instead promoted “more than sacrificing” and investing “literally billions of dollars” in a Palestinian Arab state “to support . . . a mammoth protection force . . . a meaningful military presence” to shield the Palestinian Arabs from non-existent Israeli human rights abuses and genocide of Palestinians. Power also called for “external intervention” to impose a solution – and compared Israel’s actions to the Rwandan genocide. Power also resorted to antisemitic comments against American Jews. Power insisted: “we need 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]. (See Youtube: Obama Advisor Calls for the Invasion of Israel, The HillMay 19, 2011; and “ZOA Opposes Obama Nominee Samantha Power For U.N. Ambassador Power” Hostile To Israel, Naive In Foreign Policy,” June 5, 2013.)
  • Power Called for the New York Times to Headline Alleged Signs of Israeli “War Crimes” – Even Though An Anti-Israel NGO Admitted Its Allegations Were False: In her 2003 book, Ethnic Violence and Justice, Power criticized the New York Times for headlining its report that the anti-Israel NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) conceded that Israelis committed no massacre of Palestinians in Jenin. Power wanted the Times to instead headline HRW’s false allegations that it saw signs of Israeli war crimes.
  • Power Claimed that Supporting Israel harms the U.S. national interest: In an interview at the Harvard Kennedy School, Power answered a question about “long-standing structural and conceptual problems in U.S. foreign policy,” by saying: 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 takeaways from the war in Iraq.” (“Samantha Power on U.S. Foreign Policy,” an interview with Molly Lanzarotta, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, March 14, 2007; “A Perilous Path: The Misguided Foreign Policy of Barack Obamaby Anne R. Pierce, 2016.) 
  • Power Falsely Likened Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to Terror Leader Yasser Arafat; and Condemned the U.S. For Not Condemning Sharon More: In 2003, Power wrote: “[T]he biggest flaw in the U.S. approach . . . [is] its a la cartism. . . . We will lambaste Yasir Arafat, investing significant political capital in regime change, but we will only ritualistically take issue with Ariel Sharon.” (“Force Full,” by Samantha Power, The New Republic, Mar. 3, 2003.)
  • Especially in light of her statements urging imposing solutions on Israel, Power also needs to be questioned about what role she may have played, following the passage of UNSCR 2334, in helping the Obama administration promote an even more horrible anti-Israel UN resolution that would have imposed dangerous parameters for a Palestinian (terror) state. (The Obama administration dropped its efforts to pass that resolution after Russia decided that it would veto it.) (See Lahov Harkov, “Flynn Transcript Shows Russia Opposed Obama UN Resolution on Israel,” June 18, 2020.)

II. Power Sought to Remove Terror Organization From U.S. Terrorist Lists Which Could Then Receive USAID Funds (This Group Was Linked to Bin Laden & Hamas: Emails obtained by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) show that in 2015, while Power was serving as U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Power tried to delist (remove terror designations of) a terrorist group called the Islamic Relief Agency (“ISRA”), a.k.a. Islamic African Relief Agency (“IARA”), a.k.a Islamic American Relief Agency. ISRA/IARA is tied to Osama Bin Laden, Al-Qaida, Hamas, and related groups. Delisting ISRA/IARA would enable it to obtain U.S. taxpayer money through USAID money and international donor funds. The fact that Power was involved in these efforts to delist a terrorist group raises grave concerns that USAID funds will go to terrorist and terror-tied organizations. 

Senator Grassley appropriately demanded that Power provide him with further information about the 2015 emails regarding ISRA’s status and explain “why you would take an interest in advocating on behalf of a foreign sanctioned entity.” The senator asked for this information by March 4. The Washington Beacon reported Power has yet to respond, according to sources familiar with the matter. (“Grassley Grills Biden Nominee Over Push to Lift Sanctions on Group Tied to Terror,” by Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon, March 8, 2021; “Obama Administration’s UN Team Sought to Overturn Designation of Bin Laden Charity,” by Clifford Smith, JNS, Mar. 3, 2020.)

The U.S. Treasury’s terrorist designation of ISRA/IARA explains that: 

(i)       ISRA/IARA was formerly affiliated with a group co-founded by Osama Bin Laden, involved in discussions to help relocate and find safe harbor for Bin Laden. The group was the precursor to Al-Qaida. 

(ii)      “Evidence also shows that as of early 2003, IARA was responsible for moving funds to the Palestinian territories for use in terrorist activities, notably serving as a conduit to Hamas in one Western European country. In part, funds were raised through IARA collection boxes marked “Allah” and “Israel,” signaling the funds would be directed towards attacks against Israelis.”

(iii)     ISRA/IARA was “reportedly linked to the Belgium office of the Al-Aqsa Foundation.” (The U.S. Treasury Department designated Al-Aqsa Int’l Foundation as an additional terror organization linked to funding Hamas.)  

III. Power Downplayed Dangerous Iranian Regime & Nuclear Weaponization as a Phony Threat: In a 2008 Time Magazine op-ed, Power condemned Bush administration warnings about dangers from Iran; condemned warnings that military options were on the table regarding Iran; and blamed the U.S., including by calling for high-level negotiations to “diminish perceptions of U.S. arrogance.” (“Rethinking Iran,” by Samantha Power, Time, Jan. 17, 2008).

In the same article, Power also misleadingly wrote that “the [Bush] Administration’s allegations about the advanced state of Iran’s weapons program [were] refuted in December by the National Intelligence Estimate.” (If fact, as IAEA reports and Israel’s trove of Iranian nuclear documents seized from the Tehran confirmed, the National Intelligence Estimate was proven to be wrong; Iran in fact had a robust nuclear weapons program.) 

IV. Power Accused U.S. of Crimes and Wrongly Criticized U.S. for Not Subjecting Itself to Politicized ICC Jurisdiction:  In her 2003 New Republic article, Power: (i) accused the U.S. of “an overreliance on power”; (ii) accusingly stated that “the question today is whether the United States is structurally capable of using its tremendous power for the good of others”; (iii) claimed that as a result of U.S. actions, “the United States came to be seen less as it sees itself (the cop protecting the world from rogue nations) than as the very runaway state international law needs to contain”; (iv) complained that “The United States will not subject itself to the jurisdiction of the ICC, so only it will decide whether it has violated the Geneva Conventions”; (v) alleged that “much anti-Americanism derives from the role U.S. political, economic, and military power has played in denying such freedoms to others”; (vi) demanded “overhauling” U.S. foreign policy with “a historical reckoning with crimes committed, sponsored, or permitted by the United States” and by “instituting a doctrine of mea culpa” in which the U.S. emulates Willy Brandt by going down on one knee to ask forgiveness for the Nazis’ crimes; and absurdly argued that the U.S. could turn the ICC into a force for good if the U.S. joins the ICC (and subjects U.S. service members to ICC criminal charges), and that the U.S. should be willing to “giv[e] up a pinch of sovereignty.” (“Force Full,” by Samantha Power, The New Republic, Mar. 3, 2003.) 

It is frightening to think that someone with such anti-American views will be in charge of sending billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to foreign entities.

V. Power Engaged in Massive Unmasking: Another deeply concerning Samantha Power scandal is her innumerable requests to unmask U.S. citizens and Trump campaign workers – despite the fact that she had no business doing this as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. (See, e.g., Samantha Power Unmasked: Why would a diplomat need to know the names of Trump officials?,” Wall Street Journal, May 31, 2017; “Samantha Power appears on Flynn unmasking list seven times, despite testifying she had ‘no recollection’ of doing so,” by Gregg Re, Fox News, May 14, 2020.) “Fox News reported in 2017 that Power was “unmasking” at such a rapid pace . . . that she averaged more than one request for every working day in 2016 – and even sought information in the days leading up to President Trump’s inauguration, according to multiple sources close to the matter.” (Id.)

It is extremely concerning that someone who so egregiously violated the Constitutional privacy rights of American citizens may be elevated to a post on the National Security Council.

VI. Power Lobbied for the Disastrous Libya Intervention: Power also lobbied for the U.S. intervention in Libya, which led to the deaths of four Americans and resulted in Libya becoming a “destabilizing hotbed for terrorists.” 

In sum, Samantha Power’s abominable, anti-American, anti-Israel, pro-Iran record clearly disqualifies her from being confirmed to head USAID and to serve on the National Security Council.