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Wednesday, June 5, 2013
ZOA Opposes Obama Nominee Samantha Power For U.N. Ambassador

June 5, 2013
Power Hostile To Israel, Naive In Foreign Policy
ZOA Opposes Obama Nominee Samantha Power For U.N. Ambassador

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. We understand that Samantha Power played an important role in
diminishing the negative impact of the UN Durban II conference which
condemned alleged Israeli human rights actions. We also understand that Ms.
Power played a positive role in combating the Palestinian unilateral
statehood efforts at the UN. Nonetheless, 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 in
opposing her nomination 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 Sharon ... 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 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).

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. We understand that Samantha Power played an important
role in diminishing the negative impact of the UN Durban II conference which
condemned alleged Israeli human rights actions. We also understand that Ms.
Power played a positive role in combating the Palestinian unilateral
statehood efforts at the UN. Nonetheless, 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

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

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