During a well-publicized interview in 2002, Samantha Power reflected on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. She advocated a diversion of funds committed by the US Administration to Israel—for its defense needs—to the Palestinian Authority. She called for a US military intervention aimed at imposing a solution on the Palestinian question. She appeared to portray the Palestinians as victims of Israeli oppression.
In a radio interview in 2008, she doubled down on her extreme leftist’s views, responding to a question by complaining that "So much of it is about: 'Is he going to be good for the Jews?"
In a 2011 interview with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, she seemed to have changed course. Boteach reported that “Samantha Power seemed genuinely and deeply pained by the perception that she was not a friend of Israel.” She rationalized her 2002 comments by explaining that she was asked to respond to a “thought experiment”, a trick question— “what she would advise an American president if it seemed that either party in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict were moving toward genocide”—and that she stumbled, nose-diving into that trap. Had she had more media experience, she should not have responded. She alluded to the fact that her words were taken out of full context.
Given the multi-colored picture painted above, the question of whether or not Ms. Power’s new appointment is “good for the Jews” is not a trivial one. Still, the answer, in my opinion, is fairly obvious. Samantha Power’s earlier views concerning Israel will not be pertinent to her job in the UN.
Here is why.
The UN ambassador is merely a messenger. He or she serves at the pleasure of the president of the US. Although ambassadors write their own speeches, they follow talking points consistent with US policy determined by the president.
Regardless of their brilliance or points-made, speeches in the UN do not sway opinions. All ambassadors follow voting choices inspired and determined by their bosses, the top leaders, the true policy makers in their country. Ethics and justice are as dead as Latin. Politics and venal national interests rule the roost in the UN.
Samantha Power will follow directions, passed on to her by President Obama when it comes to voting choices and dealings with other diplomats, regardless of her personal preferences or emotional brainwaves.
And when it comes to the president, we have witnessed a dramatic evolution in his attitude toward the Jewish state in general, and concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular. When President Obama took office in 2009 he believed that Israel was at fault for the unending stalemate in the “Peace Process”; he believed that the Arab countries and Iran could be won over by his show of respect and admiration to the Muslim world. By 2013, he appears to have learned a lesson. He understands the reality of the situation. He does not merely say that he is a true supporter of the Jewish state; he delivers, and he does so with unprecedented military and intelligence cooperation, significant financial support, perseverance before an extensive anti-Israel lobbying consensus in the UN Security Council, while employing the US Veto power time and again to stop bullying the Jewish State.
But above all, we must remind ourselves that leaders go through a life changing reality check once they assume power. On their campaign trail, or while in the political Opposition Party, they stick to popular ideals; they advocate solutions that make their supporters and potential voters feel good. They do so with no consideration or understanding of political, economic and national security constraints. It’s easy and trendy when the buck stops somewhere else.
Samantha Power was not representing her country when she was making her unfortunate remarks. She could afford articulating “shoot from the hip” ideals as advocated repeatedly by the extreme left; she represented no one else but herself. When, all at once, her words and actions might stand for her country, her boss rather than her own naive ideologies, she would become increasingly more responsible, more self-scrutinizing, more educated about the actual realities of the Middle East.
I would not lose sleep, not even for a moment, as a consequence of Samantha Power’s elevation to the job of the next US ambassador to the UN.
Avi Perry is the author of “72 Virgins”—a popular thriller about a countdown to a terror attack on US soil. He is currently a talk show host at Paltalk News Network (PNN). He served as an intelligence expert for the Israeli government and was a professor at Northwestern University. He was a VP at NMS Communications, a Bell Laboratories distinguished staff member and manager, and a delegate of the US and Lucent Technologies to UN International Standards body. He is also the author of “Fundamentals of Voice Quality Engineering in Wireless Networks.” For more information, visit www.aviperry.org.
Without exception, all of the latest diplomatic tsunamis have been blamed on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s policies. On the face of it, Israel has been facing an uninterrupted deterioration in its international standing in recent years. Referred to as an aggressor, an occupier of someone else’s land, a war criminal, it seems that the more accusatory the term, the more popularity it garners. Evidence to the contrary fell on deaf ears as the world became obsessed with playing pin-the-blame on Israel
It’s always been Israel’s fault regardless of the evidence, regardless of the truth—Guilty, guilty, guilty.
Without exception, all of the latest diplomatic tsunamis—including the threats from Turkey, the attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo, the Jordanians’ hostility, international community’s support for the Palestinian statehood bid in the UN—have been blamed on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s policies.
Opposition leaders and media personalities in Israel vociferously express their disapproval, with claims that had they been in charge, things would have been very different. No doubt they would have found a way to return to the negotiating table with the Palestinian Authority, offer the Palestinians sufficient reasons for abandoning their UN move, and ultimately secure peace with Israel; no doubt they would have further hatched a plan to pacify Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan; they would have curbed all possible motives behind the Egyptian mob’s attack on the Israeli embassy.
After all, they claim, all these events have one dominating trait: they all took place under the present Israeli government. Consequently, the root cause for the world’s dissatisfaction with the Jewish state must be a direct result of said government's policies and misdeeds.
Seems a bit far-fetched? It is.
That's because today, the media vogue is to exploit the misguided perception that time is running out on the current status=quo. Truth is, Israel's current position is neither new or unique, and certainly not worse than under previous leaderships.
The Jewish State has been operating under the ominous cloud of "existential threat" since before it was even born.
Media pundits are too obsessed with sensationalism to admit that Israel’s international standing today is in actual fact relatively stable. In addition, its economy is one of the strongest in the world and the quality of its citizens life remains high — certainly a vast improvement on any other period of time over the last century.
Furthermore, these fear-mongers—which include many leaders themselves—would have us believe that in spite of the country's security and prosperity, the existing state of affairs is unsustainable and that a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority is absolutely essential. Here in Israel people have deemed a peace agreement necessary in being able to move towards a more permanent and a more stable international standing, a more prosperous economy, and a more favorable view of Israel as a fair and just democracy.
Meantime, the world continues to erroneously turn to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as being the representative of the Palestinian people. There are in fact two separate Palestinian entities, the PA, which is unstable at best, and Hamastan, which is not under the PA's influence or jurisdiction.
Subsequent to the signing of a peace agreement with Israel, the Palestinian representation as it stands right now may well be hijacked by a terrorist regime, in which case It will be far more difficult for Israel to defend itself.
In that case, is it not preferable to hang on to the "unsustainable" status-quo?
Abbas made it clear in his latest speech at the UN that under no circumstances will he abandon his people’s demand for the right of return. No peace agreement with Israel will magically eliminate this preposterous condition. An establishment of a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza will not end the Palestinian dream for a greater Palestine, extending from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Time and time again, Abbas has reaffirmed the argument of many "radical" rightwing that the idea of “two states for two peoples” living side by side in peace is as infeasible now as it was in 1947, when the UN first proposed it and it got rejected.
It takes two to tango and make peace but only one side to break that peace and go to war. But blaming the Israeli government for its rigidity is not only ridiculous and unfair, it is morally wrong. It is the Palestinians’ uncompromising position on pre-conditions such as the right of return (in addition to Hamas' uncompromising position on destroying the Jewish State), that is to blame for "unsustainable" status quos and impasses.
Some wise people have listed three options Israel has been facing: 1. Two states for two nations, 2. continuing the status quo (which some even go as far as to compare with the South African apartheid), or 3. A single dual-nation state (remember Yugoslavia?). All of these options are far from ideal. The only question at hand is which option is the least negative, the least infeasible.
A single state where Jews lose their majority and consequently their unique identity is unsustainable and most certainly infeasible. Jews will never be given the opportunity to live safely and honorably in an Israel that will have a Muslim-dominated government.
Two states for two nations is an ideal solution only if both states view this solution as final rather than a temporary bridge to the complete annihilation of the other. The present status quo is thus left as the lesser of evils, and is a temporary solution, but at least it is one that remains open to the possibility that conditions on the ground might someday change and be better suited for a “two-state for two nations”— final and a permanent solution.
Until that time, we need to put a stop to the collective anxiety attacks: Looking for a quick fix to our growing apprehension will not provide the imaginary relief we are dreaming about. The State of Israel has been at war for the past sixty four years; the Jewish people in Israel fought for their survival in the Holy Land since the days of Joshua. The present Israeli government is just the latest one in to find itself under siege in the course of the Holy Land's history.
The refusal of Jews to assimilate within their surroundings is the only fault one can place on the present and past Jewish leaderships. If you do not wish to convert to Islam (or to Christianity, as was the case in anti-Semitic Europe), then be prepared to keep on struggling. A Jewish State in the midst of an Islamic ocean is a thorn in the eyes of this hostile neighborhood.
Let’s face it. No action by the Israeli government other than relinquishing its unique Jewish identity will pacify its present enemies. Rather, the definite rationale standing in the way of a permanent peace is the desire of the Jewish people to live in a free, independent Jewish state. .