Former White House official Samantha Power, President Obama’s nominee for ambassador to the United Nations, vowed to support Israel and work to get the country a “nonpermanent seat” on the UN Security Council during her Senate confirmation hearing, The Daily Beast reports.
“The United States has no greater friend in the world than the state of Israel,” Power told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday. “We share security interests, we share core values, and we have a special relationship with Israel.”
Power has taken heat for her 2002 comments on Israel, in which she said, hypothetically, that “external intervention” could be necessary to prevent genocide in the Israeli Palestinian conflict, the Washington Post reports. Many took Power’s remarks as anti-Israel, while others said they were misconstrued. Either way, on Thursday she seemed very pro-Israel, criticizing the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council for “repeatedly passing resolutions criticizing Israel and delegitimizing the Jewish state.”
Israeli officials have expressed support for Power’s nomination, Haaretz reports, not the backlash that the Obama administration initially anticipated.
[Michael] Oren said that Israel “will welcome whomever the president nominates and the Senate confirms as ambassador to the United Nations.” But he added: “Samantha Power and I have worked closely over the last four years on issues vital to Israel’s security. She thoroughly understands those issues and cares deeply about them.”
At her confirmation hearing, Power said she would push for action in Syria, criticizing the UN’s response to the violence by President Bashar Assad, calling it “a disgrace that history will judge harshly,” the Guardian reports.
If confirmed, Power will replace Susan Rice, who was selected as Obama’s National Security Adviser.