Does Samantha Power, Obama's Choice for UN Ambassador, Present a Problem for Israel?
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.