Who really selected Mary Robinson for the Presidential Medal of Freedom?

President Barack Obama's decision to bestow the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Mary Robinson, who headed a United Nation Commission that condoned suicide bombing against Israelis and who also was in charge of the Durban Conference Against Racism that became an anti-Semitic hate-fest reminiscent of Nazi Germany (and that the Unites States and Israel boycotted, to Robinson's consternation), has elicited some measure of controversy.

Jennifer Rubin at Commentary has been doing outstanding work detailing the history of Robinson; columnist Melanie Phillips has also responded while Eric Fingerhut of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency has tried to minimize the controversy (as is the wont of the JTA whenever a Democrat seems to take actions that would strike many Jews as offensive). This treatment by Fingerhut is especially striking because leading Jewish Democrats have been highly critical of Robinson in the recent past: these figures include Richard Holbrooke who currently serves in the Obama administration and the late Congressman Tom Lantos, who was revered among Jews in  America for his moral rectitude and the respect his views commanded as the only Holocaust survivor to have served in the American Congress).

Speculation has arisen regarding the choosing of Robinson and her vetting. Jennifer Rubin asked the White House to explain the process and she was stonewalled (so much for transparency and openness) . Tevi Troy speculates that Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod might be the responsible parties.

I have another candidate in mind (a hat tip to Richard Baehr for the thought): Samantha Power.

Power was the closest foreign policy adviser to Barack Obama during the campaign; they have enjoyed a close friendship for years (they text each other at all hours and are basketball buddies); Power married Obama's close friend from the University of Chicago Cass Sunstein, who serves as the Regulatory Czar in the adminsitration; Power, like Robinson, was born in Ireland; Power is an internationalist who place great faith in the United Nations and transnational groups -- such as the EU -- as does Robinson, who boosted her career, once she left Irish politics, making a name for herself in international forums; Power even wrote a book that glorified the career of  the late UN diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello; both Power and Robinson have made clear they are adversaries of Israel and supporters of the Palestinians.

I just found out that Sergio de Mello (Power's hero) had replaced Mary Robinson as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Power is an indefatigable researcher. I strongly suspect she must have come into personal contact with Robinson in writing her book on de Mello.

Obama appointed Power to serve on the National Security Council. She serves as the senior director for multilateral affairs at the NSC. Undoubtedly, given the circles both Power and Robinson float in, their paths have crossed many times. I have a hard time thinking that either Axelrod or Emanuel would come up with the idea of awarding the Medal of Freedom to Robinson. Emanuel would know then name and would know it would be a red flag to the Jewish community; Axelrod has focused his life on winning campaigns in America. He probably never would have even heard of Robinson.

Nor do I think Obama would necessarily have come across Robinson -- he, after all, was a state Senator just a few years ago and when he became US senator was too busy running for the Presidency to familiarize himself with people like Robinson; he was more focused on domestic affairs and winning the Presidency.

I think the idea for nominating Robinson came from the woman who thinks very much like her and probably desires to emulate her: Samantha Power.

Where is Alan Dershowitz, who defended Barack Obama from charges that he was less than supportive of the American-Israel relationship and had taken steps to damage that friendship? Dershowtiz defended Israel's actions against terrorism, including steps that nation took to defend itself from the suicide bombing that Robinson supported.
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