Obama's Power politics

Martin Kramer takes on Samantha Power, the important Barack Obama foreign policy advisor, someone with a history of hostility toward Israel. It is a long and worthwhile read.

Samantha Power has been on a book tour throughout America. She has been attempting to defuse criticism over a series of remarks about Israel that she has made over a series of years. One of the more controversial has been her call for America to impose a settlement on the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians and to insert American forces into the region to enforce this "peace". She has made attempts to explain away this type of advocacy, weak attempts eviscerated at Powerline  and Commentary. Among her claims is that she didn't know what she meant when she said that (Even I don't understand it. This makes no sense to me. The quote seems so weird to me) -- for once, she seems to be at a loss for words. Not so fast, Ms. Power. After all, it was only a few years ago when you spoke.
Noted Middle East expert Martin Kramer weights in with some more evidence that Samantha Power knew exactly what she was saying when she advocated the imposition of such an agreement and such a force. He looked back at his own archives and discovered that Power headed the Carr Center at Harvard where such a doctrine was the prevailing "wisdom" and was shared by her close colleague at the Center, anti-Israel advocate Michael Ignatieff. Ignatieff wrote, Kramer reports, an op-ed in the London Guardian which advocated precisely such a force and called for America to impose such a settlement:
The time for endless negotiation between the parties is past: it is time to say that all but those settlements right on the 1967 green line must go; that the right of return is incompatible with peace and security in the region and the right must be extinguished with a cash settlement; that the UN, with funding from Europe, will establish a transitional administration to help the Palestinian state back on its feet and then prepare the ground for new elections before exiting; and, most of all, the US must then commit its own troops, and those of willing allies, not to police a ceasefire, but to enforce the solution that provides security for both populations.
This ideology was part and parcel of the ideology at the Carr Center-which Power headed. To feign ignorance about the nature and source of the idea is disingenuous to the point of absurdity. If her memory does not extend back a few years regarding such a dramatic proposal -and emanated from her close colleague at the  small  Carr Center at Harvard- then Senator Obama might be advised to seek a different foreign policy adviser
By the way, Michael Ignatieff's was and is a celebrity in the foreign policy and government arena. Surely, Power cannot claim to have no memory of him and his role at the Carr Center. He is also a well-known anti-Israel critic. His view that Israel committed "war crimes" in Lebanon echo Power's views that lambasted the New York Times for not depicting Israel's actions in Jenin as "war crimes". *

American Thinker commented on Ignatieff's bias against Israel back in August, 2007:

Michael Ignatieff ignited a firestorm of criticism when he engaged in some anti-Israel bashing when he ran to become the leader of Canada's Liberal Party (a campaign he lost), describing Israel actions when it fought Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon as "war crimes" and has blamed Israel for Islamic wrath against the United States. .

Ignatieff wrote an article for the English paper the Guardian (itself, notably anti-American and anti-Israel) that, in Martin Kramer's words, "includes, in one form or another, every trendy calumny against Israel". Kramer:

There is the infamous South African analogy: Palestinian self-rule was really "a Bantustan, one of those pseudo-states created in the dying years of apartheid to keep the African population under control." The Palestinian Authority had "failed because Israel never allowed it to become a state." Reading through this piece, you would never know that there were Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at Camp David--because they're never mentioned. Perhaps Ignatieff didn't want to get into the debate over what happened or didn't happen in those talks, in which an Israeli leader proposed the creation of a Palestinian state on virtually all the lands occupied in 1967. But that would only have complicated things for Ignatieff's inevitably Solomonic verdict: "Both sides have an equal share of blame."

As for the Palestinian half of the blame, Ignatieff quickly shifts some of that to Israel's shoulders, too. Israel kept the Palestinian Authority too weak. "Had Israel realized that its own security depended on assisting in the establishment of a viable and, if necessary, ruthless Palestinian Authority it might now be secure." In particular, Israel did not allow the PA "enough military and police capability." Not enough? Did Ignatieff have a clue about what was going on in the PA? The PA (even according to David Hirst in the Guardian) had forty to fifty thousand persons in its security services--ten to twenty thousand more than the number agreed upon in Oslo II. As one observer put it, "the PA has become the most heavily policed territory in the world, with an officer-to-resident ratio of 1:50; the U.S. ratio for police officers and sheriff's deputies, in contrast, is 1:400." So what, in Ignatieff's view, would have been "enough military and police capability"? (And why military?)

In fact, the problem was never one of capability. It was one of will. The PA decided to wage war with the weapons it had been given to keep peace. Some think that had there been fewer "security services" and guns, there might not have been an intifada at all.

But the absolute low point of this article is Ignatieff's invocation of the "sacrifice of the young people on both sides in a mutually reinforcing death cult." It's an insufferable case of false symmetry, especially coming as it did in the midst of the worst suicide bombings. Even if you believe Israelis and Palestinians are locked in a "cycle of violence," you're showing yourself ignorant if you compare the suicidal "death cult" rampant among Palestinians to the stoic resolve of Israelis.
* Power made these comments,by the way, at a George Soros-funded conference. Soros is a fierce critic of Israel who has funded a wide variety of groups that have engaged in anti-Israel activism, has sought to silence or counter the so-called Israel Lobby, and is a key supporter of Senator Obama-for whom Samantha Power is a key foreign policy adviser.
Martin Kramer takes on Samantha Power, the important Barack Obama foreign policy advisor, someone with a history of hostility toward Israel. It is a long and worthwhile read.

Samantha Power has been on a book tour throughout America. She has been attempting to defuse criticism over a series of remarks about Israel that she has made over a series of years. One of the more controversial has been her call for America to impose a settlement on the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians and to insert American forces into the region to enforce this "peace". She has made attempts to explain away this type of advocacy, weak attempts eviscerated at Powerline  and Commentary. Among her claims is that she didn't know what she meant when she said that (Even I don't understand it. This makes no sense to me. The quote seems so weird to me) -- for once, she seems to be at a loss for words. Not so fast, Ms. Power. After all, it was only a few years ago when you spoke.
Noted Middle East expert Martin Kramer weights in with some more evidence that Samantha Power knew exactly what she was saying when she advocated the imposition of such an agreement and such a force. He looked back at his own archives and discovered that Power headed the Carr Center at Harvard where such a doctrine was the prevailing "wisdom" and was shared by her close colleague at the Center, anti-Israel advocate Michael Ignatieff. Ignatieff wrote, Kramer reports, an op-ed in the London Guardian which advocated precisely such a force and called for America to impose such a settlement:
The time for endless negotiation between the parties is past: it is time to say that all but those settlements right on the 1967 green line must go; that the right of return is incompatible with peace and security in the region and the right must be extinguished with a cash settlement; that the UN, with funding from Europe, will establish a transitional administration to help the Palestinian state back on its feet and then prepare the ground for new elections before exiting; and, most of all, the US must then commit its own troops, and those of willing allies, not to police a ceasefire, but to enforce the solution that provides security for both populations.
This ideology was part and parcel of the ideology at the Carr Center-which Power headed. To feign ignorance about the nature and source of the idea is disingenuous to the point of absurdity. If her memory does not extend back a few years regarding such a dramatic proposal -and emanated from her close colleague at the  small  Carr Center at Harvard- then Senator Obama might be advised to seek a different foreign policy adviser
By the way, Michael Ignatieff's was and is a celebrity in the foreign policy and government arena. Surely, Power cannot claim to have no memory of him and his role at the Carr Center. He is also a well-known anti-Israel critic. His view that Israel committed "war crimes" in Lebanon echo Power's views that lambasted the New York Times for not depicting Israel's actions in Jenin as "war crimes". *

American Thinker commented on Ignatieff's bias against Israel back in August, 2007:

Michael Ignatieff ignited a firestorm of criticism when he engaged in some anti-Israel bashing when he ran to become the leader of Canada's Liberal Party (a campaign he lost), describing Israel actions when it fought Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon as "war crimes" and has blamed Israel for Islamic wrath against the United States. .

Ignatieff wrote an article for the English paper the Guardian (itself, notably anti-American and anti-Israel) that, in Martin Kramer's words, "includes, in one form or another, every trendy calumny against Israel". Kramer:

There is the infamous South African analogy: Palestinian self-rule was really "a Bantustan, one of those pseudo-states created in the dying years of apartheid to keep the African population under control." The Palestinian Authority had "failed because Israel never allowed it to become a state." Reading through this piece, you would never know that there were Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at Camp David--because they're never mentioned. Perhaps Ignatieff didn't want to get into the debate over what happened or didn't happen in those talks, in which an Israeli leader proposed the creation of a Palestinian state on virtually all the lands occupied in 1967. But that would only have complicated things for Ignatieff's inevitably Solomonic verdict: "Both sides have an equal share of blame."

As for the Palestinian half of the blame, Ignatieff quickly shifts some of that to Israel's shoulders, too. Israel kept the Palestinian Authority too weak. "Had Israel realized that its own security depended on assisting in the establishment of a viable and, if necessary, ruthless Palestinian Authority it might now be secure." In particular, Israel did not allow the PA "enough military and police capability." Not enough? Did Ignatieff have a clue about what was going on in the PA? The PA (even according to David Hirst in the Guardian) had forty to fifty thousand persons in its security services--ten to twenty thousand more than the number agreed upon in Oslo II. As one observer put it, "the PA has become the most heavily policed territory in the world, with an officer-to-resident ratio of 1:50; the U.S. ratio for police officers and sheriff's deputies, in contrast, is 1:400." So what, in Ignatieff's view, would have been "enough military and police capability"? (And why military?)

In fact, the problem was never one of capability. It was one of will. The PA decided to wage war with the weapons it had been given to keep peace. Some think that had there been fewer "security services" and guns, there might not have been an intifada at all.

But the absolute low point of this article is Ignatieff's invocation of the "sacrifice of the young people on both sides in a mutually reinforcing death cult." It's an insufferable case of false symmetry, especially coming as it did in the midst of the worst suicide bombings. Even if you believe Israelis and Palestinians are locked in a "cycle of violence," you're showing yourself ignorant if you compare the suicidal "death cult" rampant among Palestinians to the stoic resolve of Israelis.
* Power made these comments,by the way, at a George Soros-funded conference. Soros is a fierce critic of Israel who has funded a wide variety of groups that have engaged in anti-Israel activism, has sought to silence or counter the so-called Israel Lobby, and is a key supporter of Senator Obama-for whom Samantha Power is a key foreign policy adviser.