The so-called Jenin massacre, quickly revealed to be nothing more than a Palestinian propaganda hoax, was an abject lesson regarding the reflexive anti-Semitism practiced by the “blame Israel first” crowd, including substantial numbers of mainstream journalists. Ms. Power’s framing of the question is curious. Her concern with “war crimes” seems to indicate an assumption that even though Israel was innocent of massacre, it was Israel, not the Palestinians who were guilty of war crimes. It is difficult to imagine another scenario in which the order of the headlines would be so important to her.
In 2007, Ms. Power, who was Professor of Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, gave an interview concerning the Iraq War during which she criticized Israel yet again, claiming America’s relationship with the Jewish State “has often led foreign policy decision-makers to defer reflexively to Israeli security assessments, and to replicate Israeli tactics[.]” If that sounds familiar, it’s because it echoes the popular anti-Semitic notion that the U.S. is utterly beholden to Israel and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
The appointment of Ms. Power to the Atrocities Prevention Board represents another big step in the political comeback of the woman who was forced to resign from Mr. Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign when she referred to Hillary Clinton as a “monster” capable of “stooping to anything” in an interview with the Scottsman. In 2009, she was appointed to her current director position, and her influence apparently grew when she became the president’s chief advisor with respect to Libya.
One can argue about the pros and cons regarding regime change in Libya, but the initial rationale behind it was exactly the kind of “humanitarian intervention” embraced by Ms. Power. Unfortunately, like much of this administration’s foreign policy, naivete became a viable substitute for reality. We did not so much “prevent genocide,” as precipitate the very same kind of regime change that has enabled the rise of Islamist hard-liners throughout the region, none of which accrues to the national security interests of the United States.
Furthermore, the rationale near and dear to Ms. Power’s heart, aka “responsibility to protect,” given teeth by United Nations Resolution 1973, passed on March 17, 2011, grants the international community the responsibility to “help protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity.” In an essay supporting the creation of the Atrocities Prevention Board, Ms. power notes that Mr. Obama was the “first president to establish a position at the White House responsible for policy on war crimes and mass atrocity.” The administration would like Americans to believe that yet another czar — one whose understanding of “genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity” may be colored by the kind of moral equivalence Ms. Power has expressed — is a good thing.
“Any intervention is going to come under fierce criticism,” Power concluded in 2002. “But we have to think about lesser evils, especially when the human stakes are just becoming ever more pronounced.”
Lesser evils? As defined by whom? It behooves Americans in general, and Jewish Americans in particular, to find out — before the 2012 election.
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