The Washington Times took comments from Obama adviser Samantha Power out of context to claim that she "counseled a massive intervention in Israel to protect Palestinians" and smear her as "a decided enemy" of Israel. In fact, Power was asked what would be necessary to stop a move toward genocide by "one party or another" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; she said it may require investment in a new Palestinian state and a "meaningful military presence."
Wash. Times Takes Power's Quote Out Of Context To Claim She Is An "Enemy" Of Israel
Wash. Times: Power "Counseled A Massive Intervention In Israel To Protect Palestinians"; Is "A Decided Enemy Of The Jewish State." In a March 29 editorial, The Washington Times claimed: "Samantha Power, senior director of multilateral affairs on the National Security Council and one of the architects of the war in Libya, is a decided enemy of the Jewish state." The Times then quoted Power's comments from a 2002 interview:
In a 2002 interview, she counseled a massive intervention in Israel to protect Palestinians: "What will have to be a mammoth protection force ... 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 we're seeing there, but is that you, you have to go in as if you're serious." [The Washington Times, 3/29/11]
In Fact, Power Said "Meaningful Military Presence" May Be Needed To Stop A Move Toward Genocide By "One Party Or Another"
Question To Power: "Without Asking You To Address The Palestine-Israel Problem," What Would Need To Be Done If "One Party Or Another" Were "Moving Toward Genocide?" The comments cited byThe Washington Times come from an undated 2002 edition of Conversations With History, a program produced by the University of California-Berkeley Institute of International Studies. Power was answering the following question:
HARRY KREISLER (host): Let me give you a thought experiment here, without asking you to address the Palestine-Israel problem: Let's say you were an adviser to the president of the United States. How would, in response to current events, would you advise him to put a structure in place to monitor that situation, at least one party or another be looking like they might be moving toward genocide? [Conversations With History, UC-Berkeley Institute of International Studies via YouTube, accessed 3/24/11]
Power Responded By Saying Investment In A New Palestinian State And A "Meaningful Military Presence" May Be Needed. Power's response:
POWER: Well, I don't think that in any of the cases, a shortage of information is the problem, and I actually think in the Palestine-Israeli situation, there's an abundance of information, and what we don't need is some kind of early warning mechanism there. What we need is a willingness to actually put something on the line in sort of helping the situation. And 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 -- literally billions of dollars not in servicing Israelis', you know, military, but actually in investing in the new state of Palestine, in investing billions of dollars it would probably take also to support, I think, what will have to be a mammoth protection force. Not of the old, you know, Srebrenica kind or the 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, you know, major human rights abuses, which we're seeing there. But -- is that you have to go in as if you're serious, you have to put something on the line.
And unfortunately, imposition of a solution on unwilling parties is dreadful. I mean, it's a terrible thing to do; it's fundamentally undemocratic. But sadly, you know -- we don't just have a democracy here either. We have a liberal democracy. There are certain sets of principles that guide, you know, our policy, or that are meant to, anyway. And there, it's essential that some set of principles becomes the benchmark, rather than a deference to people who are fundamentally politically destined to destroy the lives of their own people, and by that I mean what Tom Friedman has called "Sharafat." I mean, I do think in that sense, there's -- that both political leaders have been dreadfully irresponsible, and unfortunately, it does require external intervention which, very much like the Rwanda scenario -- that thought experiment, of "if we had intervened early" -- any intervention is going to come under fierce criticism, but we have to think about lesser evils, especially when the human stakes are just becoming ever more pronounced. [Conversations With History, UC-Berkeley Institute of International Studies via YouTube, accessed 3/24/11]