The chair of President Obama’s new Atrocities Prevention Board once called for the United States to force troops into Israeli-controlled territory in order to end abuses she said were being committed by both sides in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
National Security Council Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights Samantha Power, who chaired the first meeting of the board Monday following an appearance by President Obama at the Holocaust Museum, said in a 2002 interview that ”external intervention” in the form of a “mammoth protection force” was necessary to separate the Israelis and the Palestinians. She acknowledged that forcing our way in was undemocratic but insisted it was necessary.
Unfortunately, imposition of a solution on unwilling parties is dreadful. I mean, It’s a terrible thing to do, it’s fundamentally undemocratic.
The new leader of Obama’s anti-genocide effort failed to refute a suggestion by the interviewer in 2002 that the Israelis themselves might commit genocide. The interviewer asked,
Let me give you a thought experiment here, and it is the following: without addressing the Palestine – Israel problem, let’s say you were an advisor to the President of the United States, how would in response to current events would you advise to put a structure in place to monitor that situation, lest if one party or another be looking like they might be moving toward genocide?
Instead of getting up and walking out on this “thought experiment,” Power responded by appearing to imply a moral equivalence between the Israelis and the Palestinians, who were than waging an Intifada against the Jewish state.
She spoke of “major human rights abuses” occurring in the conflict and quoted New York Times Columnist Tom Friedman’s use of the term “Sharafat” two describe then-leaders Yassir Arafat and Ariel Sharon, both of whom she said had been “dreadfully irresponsible” and were “destined to destroy the lives of their own people.”
Here is a segment of the interview.
((In 2002 Samantha Power made the above statement, calling for a U.S. military invasion of Israel.In January 2009 President Obama appointed Samantha Power to the National Security Council, as director for multilateral affairs.A transcript of the above interview is below.))
Power, you’ll notice, spoke sarcastically of the influence of U.S. Jews, saying with a chuckle her proposal to force troops upon Israel “might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import.”
She also suggested the United States was wasting its money supporting the Israeli Defense Forces, which safeguards Israel against another genocide, sneering at the “billions of dollars” we spend “servicing Israel’s military.”
Power backs the goals of the “Responsibility to Protect” movement, or “RtoP,” which advocates international military intervention in countries where the most egregious human rights abuses are occurring. She was reportedly a key force behind President Obama’s decision to intervene in Libya.
INTERVIEWER: “Let me give you a thought experiment here, and it is the following: without addressing the Palestine — Israel problem, let’s say you were an advisor to the President of the United States, how would you respond to current events there? Would you advise him to put a structure in place to monitor that situation, at least if one party or another [starts] looking like they might be moving toward genocide?”
POWER: “What we don’t need is some kind of early warning mechanism there, what we need is a willingness to put something on the line in helping the situation. Putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import; it may more crucially mean sacrificing — or investing, I think, more than sacrificing — billions of dollars, not in servicing Israel’s military, but actually investing in the new state of Palestine, in investing the billions of dollars it would probably take, also, to support what will have to be a mammoth protection force, not of the old Rwanda kind, but a meaningful military presence. Because it seems to me at this stage (and this is true of actual genocides as well, and not just major human rights abuses, which were seen there), you have to go in as if you’re serious, you have to put something on the line.
Unfortunately, imposition of a solution on unwilling parties is dreadful. It’s a terrible thing to do, it’s fundamentally undemocratic. But, sadly, we don’t just have a democracy here either, we have a liberal democracy. There are certain sets of principles that guide our policy, or that are meant to, anyway. It’s essential that some set of principles becomes the benchmark, rather than a deference to [leaders] who are fundamentally politically destined to destroy the lives of their own people. And by that I mean what Tom Freidman has called “Sharafat.” I do think in that sense, both political leaders have been dreadfully irresponsible. And, unfortunately, it does require external intervention.”
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