Soft Power Comes to Washington

As Scott and John noted earlier today, President Obama has given Samantha Power a senior foreign policy job at the White House. She will be named senior director for multilateral affairs at the National Security Council.

Last year, I wrote a series of posts contending that Power is anti-Israel, and at times viciously so. Here is a summary of my evidence:

In a 2002 interview, Power advocated investing billions of dollars to impose a Palestinian state. That investment would include the insertion of “a mammoth” and explicitly “military” force into the disputed territory. Last year, Power desribed this approach as “weird.” But it’s not that weird if you desperately want to tilt U.S. policy decisively in favor of the Palestinians.

Power’s anti-Israel sentiment is further apparent in her support of slashing, if not eliminating, military aid to Israel (an ally surrounded by 300 million people who wish to destroy her) and giving it to the Palestinians, whose charters (whether the Hamas or Fatah version) advocate the destruction of Israel.

Along the same lines, Power has spoken sympathetically about the notion of “alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import [American Jews] and sacrificing…billions of dollars, not in servicing Israel’s military, but actually investing in the state of Palestine.”

Power’s unhappiness with American Jews extends beyond their support for Israel in issues relating to the Palestinians. Outrageously, Power has blamed deference to Israel and the “special interests” that support Israel for the U.S. intervention in Iraq. She does so in the face of evidence that Israel had no particular desire that we overthrow Saddam Hussein, and actually viewed that enterprise as a distraction from the more serious threat posed by Iran.

Power showed the depth of her dislike (if not hatred) for Israel when she blamed Israel for the tactics the U.S. has used in Iraq. She stated that our alleged “deference” to Israel has caused us “to replicate Israeli tactics, which, as the war in Lebanon last summer demonstrated, can turn out to be counter-productive.” Power did not state what she thinks these tactics were, but she seems to have had in mind the bombing of civilians which caused an international outcry. In any case, Power provided no evidence that Israel is to blame for whatever U.S. tactics she finds objectionable.

Still on the subject of Lebanon, Power has expressed outrage at the way Israel has treated the U.N.’s faux peacekeepers in South Lebanon, the ones who stood by while Hezbollah gained a dominant position and used it to commit aggression against Israel. In this connection, Power quotes (with no disapproval) the statement of Sergio Vieira De Mello, the subject of her hagiography, that the Israelis are “bastards.” Power also attributes Israel’s incursion into South Lebanon not to the terrorism launched against it from that area, but to the existence of dispossessed Palestinians and Israeli “insecurity.”

Power criticized the New York Times, which had promoted the bogus Jenin “massacre” story, for attempting to set the record straight through a headline that said “Human Rights Reports Finds Massacre Did Not Occur in Jenin.? Power thought the headline should have been about alleged “Israeli war crimes.”

Fortunately, the portfolio Obama has given Power bears no apparent relationship to Israel. But Power’s obsession with Israel, a nation that, in her twisted world view, is the source of so much mischief, raises the possibility of “portfolio creep.” Perhaps “The Monster,” Hillary Clinton, will provide a safeguard against this prospect.

UPDATE: Many of the links from my original post on Power’s animus towards Israel seem to be “dead” now. I’ll see if somehow I can retrieve them. Meanwhile, Ed Lasky and Richard Baehr (who along with Noah Pollak were invaluable on this subject last year) have their own summary.

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