A 2002 YouTube video that is less than 3-minutes long is likely to play a prominent role in any campaign launched by right-wing Republican and Jewish groups against the appointment of Samantha Power as America’s next ambassador to the United Nations.
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In the clip, which she has since disavowed, Power appears to refer to the pro-Israel lobby as “a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial support,” indicate hostility toward U.S. aid to Israel, and sound as if she supports an American-imposed solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that would be backed by a “meaningful military presence.” In the clip, she also appears to describe both Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat as “terribly irresponsible.”
The interview, conducted by Harry Kreisler of Berkeley University while Power was an academic at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, was a lynchpin in right wing attacks against her during U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2008 election campaign. Power was described as being pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli - and her views were said to reflect Obama’s own.
In a 2008 interview with Haaretz, however, Power disowned her own comments, saying she didn’t understand them and that they sounded ”weird” even to her own ears.
Moreover, Power has since earned public endorsements from the likes of former New Republic editor Martin Peretz, who asserted in an emphatic 2008 article “Samantha Power is a friend of Israel.”
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who was recently supported by Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson in his failed run for U.S. Congress, described Power as “one of my heroes” and wrote: “Samantha Power has done the Jewish people a service by highlighting the crime of genocide and we welcome her repudiation of earlier comments on Israel.
"They were some time ago, she has expressed her regret for comments that lent themselves to misinterpretation and Judaism teaches that a person is judged primarily by their actions."