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July 5, 2015 7:18 pm

Will Samantha Power Be the First American UN Ambassador to Abandon Israel?

avatar by Shmuley Boteach

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US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power. Photo: Screenshot.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power. Photo: Screenshot.

Last week, mega-philanthropist Michael Steinhardt, co-founder of Birthright Israel, which has brought 500,000 young Jews to Israel, joined with our organization The World Values Network, in a full-page New York Times ad about Ambassador Samantha Power. In the ad Mr. Steinhardt reminded the Ambassador of her commitment at her Senate confirmation hearings, “I will stand up for Israel and work tirelessly to defend it” at the United Nations.

At the AIPAC Annual Policy Conference in Washington, DC, in March, Samantha avowed, “It is a false choice to tell Israel that it has to choose between peace on the one hand, and security on the other. The United Nations would not ask any other country to make that choice, and it should not ask it of Israel.

Ambassador Power, of course, was correct – security is the foundation of any sustainable peace framework in the Middle East. To its credit, the United States has long stood for justice and served as an essential check against overreach, anti-Semitism, and double standards by Arab and European nations at the UN.

Yet statements in April by Ambassador Power refusing to rule out supporting UN resolutions that target Israel, added to recent claims by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, have raised serious questions about the specter of betrayal by the United States and Ambassador Power during the UN General Assembly in September. Reports have emerged that France plans to put forth a resolution before the UN Security Council that will call for an immediate resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority with a hard-cap of 18 months for a final deal. Under the French proposal, if no deal is reached in 18 months, the UN would recognize the Palestinian state, effectively granting legitimacy to an organization that has consistently proven incompetent, corrupt, hostile to democratic values, and openly supportive of terrorism. While the global Jewish community has come to expect little from France, Hamdallah said that France and the U.S. are “coordinating” together on the diplomatic catastrophe. There also exists the possibility that should Israel refuse to accept a UN Security Council Resolution authorizing a timetable for the unilateral creation of a Palestinian State, economic sanctions could be levied against the Jewish State.

For starters, the very notion of this process – which rewards the Palestinian Authority for failure – is patently absurd. In practice, if Israel doesn’t entirely capitulate to every demand of the Palestinian negotiators, the Palestinians are granted statehood. There is zero incentive for Palestinians to even pretend to negotiate in good faith. The mortifying results of the American discussions with Iran on nuclear weapons lowered the world’s estimation of the State Department’s ability to negotiate, but this framework would be a historic nadir.

It’s also worth questioning whether this proposal is even in the best interests of the Palestinian people. The Palestinian Authority’s leadership has repeatedly proven itself incapable of adhering to basic democratic principles, transparency, and rule of law. The PA’s history of graftsupport of terrorism, and lack of accountability is staggering.

But at a personal level, it’s not simply the concept of this proposal that is mortifying – it’s the person who would be central to the decision for the United States to betray its closest ally if this proposal moved forward: Ambassador Samantha Power.

As many know, long before Samantha Power became Ambassador Power, she was a well-regarded academic studying human rights at Harvard’s Kennedy School. It was there she wrote the Pulitzer-winning book that launched her career into orbit, A Problem from Hell, the stirring and essential indictment of the inability of the United States to act against genocide over the past 100 years.

But as her star rose in the Obama Administration, many began paying attention to other early statements and writing, including specific ones that raised great concern about her feelings towards Israel and understanding of the conflict. These might have gone unnoticed for any ordinary academic speaking loosely early in her career, but Samantha Power was no ordinary academic.

Due to those earlier statements, Ambassador Power wasn’t implicitly trusted by members of the Jewish community when she took her role in the National Security Council. After writing an op-ed where I encouraged her to clarify her statements, she did just that.

We met in the White House, and spoke candidly – and even quite emotionally – about Israel, the challenges in the region, and the real concerns of anti-Semitism that some had about her earlier statements. Her passion and emphatic support of Israel was self-evident and convincing. From that moment on, I became intent on transforming the Jewish community’s opinion of her, working side-by-side to persuade others that she was someone whose judgment and understanding of the conflict could be trusted when it came to issues related to Israel. Ultimately, when the time came for her nomination to serve as US Ambassador to the United Nations, the Jewish American community registered strong, widespread support.

Yet in recent months, the Ambassador Power currently representing America before the United Nations has been a far cry from the Samantha I knew. It has pained me to see her embrace the disastrous Iran deal, even as its leadership repeatedly and unapologetically threatened Israel with genocide. Even unrelated to issues involving Israel, she failed to recognize the Armenian Genocide by its proper name – “genocide” – on its 100th anniversary in April, joining the ranks of that “problem from hell.” The latter was particularly breathtaking given her impassioned plea to the Armenian-American community in 2008 to support President Obama entirely predicated on his commitment to recognize the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks as “genocide.”

Still, I concede Iran and the Armenian Genocide are issues somewhat tangential to her role. This French proposal, however, is not. It is squarely and unambiguously her responsibility, and will be remembered as a turning point for Samantha Power’s legacy. She will be confronted with a stark choice between doing what’s right or giving in to the misguided rhetoric of the United Nations. For the sake of justice as well as her legacy, she must stand firm and act on the commitment to Israel she impressed on so many when her nomination was considered.

The path forward is clear: the United States – and specifically, Ambassador Power – must stand in the way of any attempt to move this resolution through the UN Security Council. Moreover, if President Obama compels her to support this resolution, she must consider her position and her ability to continue as Ambassador. This resolution proposed by the French and the pledges she made to the Jewish community to stand by Israel’s side are completely incompatible, especially in light of the Palestinian Authority’s collaboration with Hamas whose genocidal charter against Israel remains in full force.

In recent years, the United Nations has shown shocking hostility to Israel that would be comical if it were not so serious. From the modern-day blood libel of the Goldstone Report to the laughable double-standards applied by any number of UN General Assembly resolutions. As anti-Israel and anti-Semitic fervor has captured the imagination of the United Nations, the United States has stood by the Negroponte doctrine and proudly asserted its support for the only true democracy and ally of the United States in the region time and time again.

I am supremely confident the Samantha Power I knew would hold up this tradition. Her legacy and the security of the State of Israel depend on it.

Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi,” whom the Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America,” is founder of The World Values Network and is the international best-selling author of 30 books, including The Fed-up Man of Faith: Challenging God in the Face of Tragedy and Suffering. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.

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  • Judy Silver-Shapiro

    She is, was, and always will be an ANT ISRAEL-ANTI SEMITE. Her husband, HERR obamma confidante, cass sunstein, has been a JEW and ISRAEL-Basher AD NAUSEAM.
    Rabbi Boteach hosted her at his own SHABBOS dinner table, and I am grateful that he finally realizes who she REALLY is!

  • rulierose

    oh Shmuely, Shmuely…

    how well I remember your column a few years ago ASSURING US that Samantha Power was a friend of Israel! you were absolutely sure. despite all the evidence to the contrary–but you said no no, you’d talked with her, so you knew.

    so it’s especially ironic to see that you’ve finally taken the blinders off and are realizing her true character.


    america, american jews/reform conservative and many are filled with as much hate….as far as the writer….i think he is one sick fool….period…..and as for all the notes above….thanks….from what you say and do…….all dumB americans period….like to hear your voice…POWERS IS DOING JUST WANT SHE IS TO DO……IRRITATE AND SHOW HOW MUCH A DUMB S-UT SHE IS…..ALL AMERICANS ARE IN FACT…AND THANKS FOR THE IDIOT WHO IS RUNNING OFFICE……


  • Robert Weintraub

    The present administration will veto any hostile resolution directed against Israel because the Democratic Party needs Jewish money to operate.

  • Jonah

    When will you get it through your thick skulls!….America with this administration is not your Ally. Isnot! Is not! Is not! Your ally. Everything and every action they take is preplanned to deceive you. They study every reaction Israel will make based upon their statements. They are attempting to brainwash you with worthless deceptive rhetoric. It’s easy for them…they call it ” roping the dopes”. The laughing in the W.H. Chambers is so loud it is deafening.

  • Vivienne Havalant (Leijonhufvud)

    This girl is one of Obama’s favorites, she is inexperienced, under 45, Irish and anti-semitic. She has no place in politics but like all current politicians world wide including Sweden she is utterly ignorant of contemporaey history. Further more Irish curriculum does not have on its agenda modern history outside of Ireland. History lessons in Ireland start with the freedom fighters the IRA and prior to this ancient myths. And this idiot girl is in a powerful position, never before in history has the world appeared to be at the ‘End of days’ with kids wearing nappies in power!

    • rulierose

      and she’s married to Cass Sunstein, the animals-have-civil-rights guy who’s another of the Obama self-hating-Jew professoriate class.

  • Josephine Goldman

    You voted for him twice! What did you think you were doing?

  • Aaron Mirror

    This “ambassador” will do whatever obama tells her to do. She could resign, but she won’t.

    This administration will be over in 18 months and a GOP administration could reverse whatever the UN does in September.

    The key decision is whether American Jews will continue to support progressive liberal anti-Semites. If any Jew supports Hillary Clinton, yes she who kissed Arafat’s wife right after she made a horrific anti-Semitic speech, that Jew needs to have their head examined.

  • Richard Finn

    It seems that some people leave Harvard dumber than when they entered; e.g. Obama and Power

  • Israel must not depend on any countries, like USA.
    Every Jews and Christians who loves Israel any places in this world as a fruit from God, must depend on GOD. Pray for salvation from God, not Obama, not Europe, not Muhammad, not Technology, not your Money TO SAVE ISRAEL.
    GOD is our Helper, look at the Bible how David can kill Goliath.
    You and I, must depend on GOD, today.

  • Yale

    Imagine the reaction if some country were to submit a resolution to the Security Council stating that unless the Palestinians and Israel reach an agreement within 18 months, all of the territory associated with the settlements would be recognized as being within soveriegn Israeli territory.

    This is the mirror image of what France is proposing and I think goes a long way to show why the near-universal hostility toward the settlements is wrong as well as wrong-headed: They are the only leverage Israel has to push the Palestinians toward any agreement at all.

    • Alan Lippert

      You nailed it. Brilliant.

    • Ra’anan

      Very good point!

  • E Pluribus Wombat

    Before she was ambassador she called for a military invasion of Israel to conquer the Jews and take their land away from them at gun point.

  • Sigmund Bloom

    When I questioned my senators about her being named to this post, I was advised by our senior senator that Ms.Power had graduated from a local high school and was quite smart. Sen. Isackson went along with the nomination. I have long had doubts about this woman’s alliances and her honesty. It is now apparently being played out. While it is disappointing, it is not surprising to me. Like the current prez, she is looking to make her mark. And if Israel suffers because of it, apparently it is the price she will pay for her legacy. As said one time by a smarter guy than me: “If you lie down with dogs, expect to get fleas…..’

  • Björn A

    This is proof that the world is guided by an evil power. World leaders have fought blindness and enticed by his desires …

  • Larry Dobroff

    The key thing to remember is the Ambassador is just a mouthpiece for the President and Secretary of State. They do what they are told.

  • “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:26

    It would appear that many world leaders are turning from once held values to achieve their desires.

  • But it’s not Samantha Power, it’s her boss Obama in the White House. Don’t put the onus on the wrong person.

    • Mike P.

      Nah, it’s also Samantha Power, herself…nobody who doesn’t despise Israel would vote for this resolution, knowing its logic and its consequences…anyone who cared at all about ending the soft bigotry of low expectations against the Palestinians, and reducing the likelihood of a genocide of the Jews….would vote against the French proposal, even at the cost of tricking their boss, and losing their job.

  • Vivarto

    Spineless academic.
    Motivated by ego rather then truth.

  • Terry Gosden

    It is time that Israel was treated the same as other countries. America,s standing not only in the Middle East but Globally sufferers because it’s use of the veto in bodies that could and should apply the correct pressure to stop the continual suffering of the Palestinians. Gaza is a concentration camp, no way out, no way in, even their food is measured, just enough to keep them alive, their water contaminated, and their infra structure destroyed. What other country in the World would be allowed to do this to an indigenous population, under occupation. Many countries have been destroyed for far less. To call Israel a democracy is sickening, they discriminate against all ” other” religions, and even Jewish people of different skin colour.

    The Ambbassador is right, and it’s time for a radical re- think as to whom America,s real friends are.

    • E benAbuya

      Indigenous? The PalArabs are the only indegenes unable to pronounce their name for their “Native Land” in their “Native Language” There is no unvoiced labial plosive phoneme (the ‘P’ sound” in Arabic.
      Gaza is the only “concentration camp” with a water park and five-star hotels.
      They could have had water and sewer infratructure if they didn’t keep loading the pipes with shrapnel and rocket fuel and firing them at Israeli civilians willy-nilly

    • mary daly

      bravo I totally agree

    • Haroldpom

      Terry misses the point. The Palestinians are governed/rules by terrorist organizations both of which seek the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews. He blames Israel for the lack of peace. Terrorist organizations begin wars they know will lead to the deaths of Palestinians but they don’t care about Palestinians. A dead Palestinian, particularly a child works wonders in the propaganda war against Israel. The one Jewish state has remained a democracy despite the existential wars it has faced since it was recognized by the UN in 1948. Meanwhile the surrounding Arab/Muslim states persecute religious minorities and women but Terry doesn’t care. 56 Muslim states are not a problem for Terry but one Jewish democratic state is.


      Terry, you are right about one thing: IT IS TIME for a radical rethink. For the thinking to be useful – it is necessary to get the facts.
      not only Gaza is a Concentration Camp – not comparable in any way to the German Concentration Camps which were mass-murder machines, but like such “refugee camps” in Lebanon and in Jordan, where the residents have not been allowed to leave BY THE ARAB GOVERNMENTS since 1948. THE residents have no rights at all, they are pawns in the game of the Arabs. There is nothing Israel would benefit more from than emigration of the residents back to the lands their families came from: Arabia, Egypt, Syria, etc. The majority of the INDIGENOUS Arabs living in Israel [mainly living in Judea and Samaria] are of Jewish descent who were forcefully converted to Islam, like ISIS is doing today to the Yadis etc. I won’t relate to the other items you mention, all of which can be grouped together under the simple title of “Repeating Arab Propaganda Without Checking on the Ground”.

    • Yehudah

      You are taking a snapshot of what Gaza is like now–you ignore what Yitzchak Rabin and Shimon Peres envisioned when they signed the Oslo Accords. There was free passage from Gaza to the West Bank. An airport was built in the Gaza Strip in Degania, and leaders of Muslim nations landed there and met with Yassir Arafat. Shimon Peres was promising us “a New Middle East”.
      The terror attacks on Israelis by Palestinians, involving suicide bombers, almost immediately after the signing of the Oslo Accords, destroyed all that. Ariel Sharon imposed the blockade that exists now, only due to Second Intifada, which resulted in the deaths of over 1000 Israelis. If the Gazans would put down their weapons, Israel would gladly lift the blockade. But Hamas vows that they will never put down their “holy” weapons–all directed to decimate Israel.

    • Ita

      Terry Gosden…..
      Very passionate words. Where is your proof. Gaza is hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt for
      medical services
      Fire fighting
      Hospital supplies
      And other necesities

      But Israel continues to

  • Pinchas Baram in Boston

    Shmueli has been played for a sucker before and his infatuation and now, disappointment, with samantha p. is the latest installment. he means well but he’s a poor judge of character.

    watch samantha speak against israel in weeks to come as the Iran deal is vigorously defended by obimbo & co.

  • susan

    Several years ago, when Glenn Beck was still at Fox News, he revealed just who Samantha Power is, along with her very radical husband, Cass Sunstein, also a high-up in the Obama administration.

    No one should be fooled by Power — Shmuely, you were charmed by her and probably others of her ilk because they mouthed words you/we wanted to hear. Look behind the façade and see who she always has been and know who she is today. And don’t be surprised or supremely confident about anything in this administration.

  • Leon pachter

    With due respect to Rabbi Boteach, and conceding that everything he said about the corrupt PA is the Gospel Truth , ambassador Power can only articulate what is dictated to her by the White House. It is the function of individuals in any Governmentsl structure to publicly support the Presidents agenda even if she disagrees with it
    Putting the onus of responsibility on her is just unfair
    I say this with the full understanding that the Palestinians have never publicly given even the slightest concession in negotiations with Israel all the while pocketing those concessions produced by Israel and often coerced by the USA as “goodwill and confidence building gestures.”
    As Abbas continues to laud terrorists as martyrs and overtly refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish State what sort of peace do the French think will ensue with the creation of a state that has no intention or will to be a state?

  • steven L

    It is not about Samantha Power.

  • Irene Rogers

    The world is going crazy . I feel they all waiting for an Armageddon
    and Israel is the victim. They should concentrate on Iran and the Isis.
    France Germany Russia China and Britten mind their own business. Israel should ignore them all and for sure the UN.

  • Rivka

    Boteach was wrong about Power from the beginning. The Obama administration would never have appointed her if she didn’t align with their position on Israel. To act like she has suddenly done an about-face may be good for Boteach’s PR, but it has nothing to do with reality.

  • nelson marans

    While, I along with other supporters of Israel, have questioned the attitude of our UN representatives, based on a number of statements that appeared to favor Arab positions, the ultimate decision as to how to vote on the French resolution is obviously that of President Obama. If she fails to veto the resolution it will be because of direct orders from our president.

  • art

    The US will try to extort more concessions from Israel. Keep in mind from day one Obama supported the Saudi plan, pre 67 borders, divided Jerusalem and the so called right of return. In short the castration of Israel. Obama was the first US president to declare settlements “illegal” and to use the label of Occupation. He also “warned” Israel about boycotts, UN resolutions and EU isolation, in effect giving the green light to these things. Obama hates Israel period. He will use the UN and EU to harm Israel

  • She works for Obama who reveres the sociopath Muhammad who personally decapitated 600 -900 unarmed Jews. Case closed.Sorry.

  • Powers works for Obama. There’s no way in hell she’s going to criticize the Iran deal.
    Hillary is doing the same. At this point trying to call her out & loudly castigating her in public after all her clarifications and back peddling on misguided theories, will naturally backfire and turn her against Israel & the American Jewish community. Boteach often gets it right but rarely hits every nail on the head. This is one such case.