Samantha Power, Obama's U.N. ambassador pick, has history of controversial statements on Israel

( Samantha Power, President Barack Obama’s replacement for Susan Rice as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, has a history of controversial comments about Israel.

New U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power. Credit: Eric Bridiers.

From January 2009 to March 2013 Power held positions including special assistant to the president, senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights on the National Security Council, and member of the Atrocities Prevention Board.

During a 2002 interview at the University of California, Berkeley Institute of International Studies, when asked what she would advise a U.S. president to do if either party in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was “moving towards genocide,” Power referenced the pro-Israel lobby by saying the situation might lead to America’s “alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import,” before seemingly vouching for an American invasion of Israel to protect the Palestinians from genocide.

“It may mean more crucially sacrificing—or investing, I think, more than sacrificing—literally billions of dollars not in servicing Israelis’, you know, military, but actually in 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 of the old, you know, Srebrenica kind or the Rwanda kind, but a meaningful military presence,” said Power, who later retracted her comments in an interview with Haaretz.

In a 2007 interview posted on the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s website, Power said, “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.”

Morton Klein, national president of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), told Wednesday that a look at the list of Obama’s nominees and appointments to positions that impact Israel—including Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency John O. Brennan, and now Power—“makes very clear

that President Obama is no friend of Israel, and that he is insensitive to the interests of American Jews and the pro-Israel community, because all of those important posts have been filled with people who have been very hostile to Israel.”

But the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) praised the Power appointment, with Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL national chair, and Abraham Foxman, ADL national director, saying in a statement, “We are pleased that President Obama has nominated a true champion of human rights who led the effort to make averting genocide and atrocities a core part of American policy to head the U.S. delegation at the United Nations.”


Posted on June 6, 2013 .