Samantha Power Already Faces Knives Out From Some on Israel

U.N. Pick Has Been Outspoken on Human Rights — That's Good

New Voice at U.N.: Samantha Power is a human rights advocate. That doesn’t make her an enemy of Israel.
getty images
New Voice at U.N.: Samantha Power is a human rights advocate. That doesn’t make her an enemy of Israel.

By Leonard Fein

Published June 06, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

The passing of the Genocide Convention by Congress owes not to a sudden interest by an incumbent president but principally to the astonishing record of then-senator William Proxmire (D-Wisconsin), who made it his preeminent cause.

(Between 1967 and 1986, Proxmire gave no less than 3,211 speeches arguing that the United States should sign the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Finally, it did, and the bill was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.)

I have met Ms. Power only once, a casual encounter at a Cambridge cocktail party where we engaged in a longish exchange on her then newish book, of which I was an early reader. She was, as near as I can recall, not yet 30. I wish I could say that I knew even then that she was destined for high office, but the truth is that no such thought crossed my mind. She was “just” another super-bright Cantabridgian who’d written a remarkable book.

Because of her work on genocide, Ms. Power is thought to be an “interventionist,” a person whose readiness to call for American involvement in defense of human rights world-wide is her hallmark. And it is true that she was among the relatively few early champions of American intervention in Libya.

But she turns out to be considerably more nuanced in her appraisal of where and how this country should move from verbal condemnation to active intervention. With regard to Syria, for example, she has been – for better or for worse – quite restrained.

Both as a foreign policy advisor to Obama back in his days as a senator and then as a candidate, and as a member of the National Security Council, she has amply demonstrated her bona fides as a team player well within the mainstream. I am not entirely happy about that; I cannot help wondering whether we would benefit more were she to have remained the outlier her book suggested she would be.

But I can, and on the whole happily do, believe her nomination – yet to be confirmed by the Senate – is a splendid choice. It seems as if President Obama, unfettered by concerns about re-election, is determined to surround himself with this nation’s best and brightest.

Contact Leonard Fein at feedback@forward.com


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.