U.S. President Barack Obama's choice for United Nations ambassador says if she is confirmed by the Senate, she will work to eliminate what she calls the United Nations' "unacceptable bias and attacks" on Israel.
- Jews Applaud Rice; Power Faces Battle
- Power's UN Post at Risk Over YouTube Clip
- Israel's Unlikely Line of Defense in the U.S.
- Senate Panel OKs Samantha Power as UN Envoy
- Henry Siegman / Will US Pay Price for Peace?
Samantha Power says she will also work to make the UN more efficient and stand up for freedom.
Power has been criticized by some groups for past comments considered critical of Israel. By the very nature of her job, she has been more discreet than the current UN Ambassador Susan Rice, in reaching out to the Jewish community and trying to undo the damage wrought by some of her previous statements - including one, unfortunately for her, caught on YouTube, in which she appeared to support an imposed solution, buttressed by armed intervention, to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Still, the former journalist and human rights activist is expected to be confirmed.
The Irish-born Power told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday that the U.S. has no "greater friend" than Israel.
She criticized the UN for its "disproportionate" focus on Israel and said that the Security Council's failure to stop Syria's civil war is a "disgrace that history will judge harshly."
The Israeli government did not express any reservation about Power's nomination, when Obama picked her to replace Susan Rise.
During the course of 2009, shortly after joining the White House staff, Power played a central role in the coordination between Israel and the United States on the Goldstone Report, which determined that Israel had committed war crimes during Operation Cast Lead, the war against Gaza in December 2008. She is responsible for a large part of the strategy with which the United States helped Israel to deal with the report and to minimize its damage.
When Power assumed her position she urged the United States to join the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Israel was worried, and believed that if the United States joined, that would provide legitimacy for the anti-Israeli organization. A senior U.S. official said that Power claimed − both in discussions in the White House and in conversations with leading Israelis − that joining the Human Rights Council would give the United States better tools to protect Israel from discrimination.
Power’s views on the Palestinian question are identical to those of Obama. She is strongly opposed to construction in the settlements and believes that Israel must end the occupation and help to establish an independent Palestinian state. Despite that, during internal discussions at the White House she supported a veto against the condemnation of construction in the settlements in the UN Security Council in February 2011.