WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama has selected as his nominee for US ambassador to the United Nations a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and academic who at one point in her career has advocated a US invasion of Israel.
Samantha Power, a former White House aide and Harvard professor, asserted in a 2002 interview in Berkley University that the US might in the future be forced to deploy a large military force in Israel in order to impose a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and establish a Palestinian state.
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Asked how she would advise the president to address the situation, she replied, "What we need is a willingness to put something on the line in helping the situation. It may mean investing billions of dollars, not in servicing Israel's military, but actually investing in the new state of Palestine, in investing the billions of dollars in what will have to be a mammoth protection force."
Alluding to the Jewish lobby, she said such an undertaking would "mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import."
Power discussing Mideast conflict in 2002
While she admitted her proposal was "undemocratic," Power added that "It seems to me that you have to go in as if you're serious, you have to put something on the line."
However, four years after the interview Power rejected claims that Israel is an apartheid state at a Harvard University forum.
Obama, Rice and Power (Photo: Reuters)
Power caused a stir during the tense contest between Obama and Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 2008 election. She was serving as an adviser to Obama at the time.
"She is a monster, too - that is off the record - she is stooping to anything," Power was quoted as telling The Scotsman, a British newspaper, referring to Clinton.
"But if you are poor and she is telling you some story about how Obama is going to take your job away, maybe it will be more effective. The amount of deceit she has put forward is really unattractive," Power was quoted as saying.
Obama, Clinton in Democrats primaries 2007
The remarks prompted her resignation from Obama's campaign team. Obama edged Clinton for the Democratic nomination, won election that November and named Clinton as his top diplomat, a post she held until earlier this year.
Republicans in the Senate, which must approve her nomination, are likely to give her a rough confirmation hearing.
If confirmed, Power's return to government service would be a comeback after having left the White House earlier this year as senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights on the national security staff.
While that job was relatively low profile, Power was widely reported to have argued for the US decision to intervene militarily in 2011 to support the rebels who eventually toppled long-time Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
No stranger to the power of words, her earlier work as a journalist sent her covering the Balkan wars of the 1990s and conflicts in other countries such as Rwanda, according to her biography on the White House website.
She later won the Pulitzer Prize for her book "A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide," a study of US policy responses to genocide during the 20th century.
Power is married to legal scholar Cass Sunstein, who until last year headed the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. He was a friend of Obama dating back to their days on the University of Chicago Law School faculty.
The current UN ambassador Susan Rice was also very critical of Israel in the past but as an envoy adhered closely to traditional US policy in regards to Israel. It is then estimated that Power, now older and more seasoned, will align herself with Washington's policies and act in favor of Israel in her capacity as UN ambassador.
Reuters contributed to this report
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