UN Envoy Samantha Power to AIPAC: ‘US-Israel Partnership Transcends Politics’
JNS.org – United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, speaking to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference on Monday morning, touted U.S. efforts to support Israel at the U.N. and said the U.S.-Israel relationship “transcends politics.”
Power called it “bitterly unjust that the United Nations, an institution founded upon the idea that all nations are created equally,” so often holds Israel to a different standard.
“For Israel, too often, the right to be treated equally, and even the right to exist at all, has been challenged,” she said.
Such attacks on Israel’s legitimacy “are biased, are ugly, and the United States of America will not rest until they stop,” said Power.
Addressing the current tension between the U.S. and Israel over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s March 3 speech to Congress, Power said, “We believe firmly that Israel’s security and the U.S.-Israel partnership transcends politics, and it always will.” After receiving a standing ovation for that comment, she told the crowd, “That is a very important statement you all have made.”
“This partnership should never be politicized and it cannot and will not be tarnished or broken. … The stakes are too high for that.”
Regarding the nuclear negotiations between Iran and world powers, which were the central topic of concern at the AIPAC conference, Power noted that President Obama committed to denying Iran a nuclear weapon before talks began, has reiterated that commitment during negotiations, and will keep up that commitment even if the negotiations collapse.
“Maybe the president has made this point so often that it isn’t heard in the same way anymore,” Power said.
On the topic of U.S. efforts to defend Israel at the U.N., Power noted that the U.S. worked to convene the recent first-ever meeting on anti-Semitism at the same U.N. General Assembly that passed the 1975 “Zionism is racism” resolution, opposed 18 anti-Israel U.N. resolutions last fall, voted against the launching of a U.N. Human Rights Council probe into the Gaza war that did not examine the actions of the Hamas terrorist group, and worked to defeat last December’s Security Council resolution that called for a Palestinian state and Israeli withdrawal from the disputed territories.
Power said the U.S. stands ready, “as we always have, to support and engage with the parties in working toward that two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She criticized both Israeli construction beyond the 1949 armistice line as well as Palestinian lawfare in international bodies, saying that “Israeli settlement activity damages the prospect for peace,” and that one-sided Palestinian actions to accede to organizations such as the International Criminal Criminal court will not help efforts to reach a negotiated solution to the conflict.