M.J. Rosenberg writes: The month of March 2002 was a terrible time in both Israel and the West Bank. Some 100 Israelis were killed by Palestinian suicide bombers. In response, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon launched a military operation in the West Bank allegedly killing some 500 Palestinians. Children made up a significant number of the victims on both sides. The prospects for an end to violence, let alone peace, appeared lower than at any time previously.
It was against that background that Harvard professor, Samantha Power, now President Obama’s nominee to serve as U.N. ambassador, spoke of the need for U.S. intervention.
She told an interviewer that she did not believe that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon or Palestinian President Yasir Arafat would ever stop the killing on their own and that “external intervention is required.” She specifically called on the United States to “put something on the line,” by which she meant the “imposition of a solution on unwilling parties.” Admitting that the idea of imposing a settlement was “fundamentally undemocratic,” she said it was preferable to “deference” to leaders who seem “politically destined to destroy the lives of their own people.”
This was not surprising coming from Power. She is the leading advocate of what is known as “liberal interventionism.” She has said that as a child she was shaken by the world’s indifference to the Holocaust. Her feelings were deepened by her experiences as a journalist in Bosnia. Ever since, most notably in the case of Libya, Power has recommended “going in” to stop the killing of innocents. Right or wrong, it’s who she is.
Unfortunately for Power, the reality of U.S. politics dictates that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict be exempted from rules or theories one applies elsewhere. That is why some of the most aggressively anti-war, pro-human rights progressives in Congress, the media and the blogosphere simply go silent, at best, on the subject of the Israeli occupation or, at worst, openly support military actions like Israel’s wars in Gaza. They know that the Israel lobby will make life very difficult for those who insist on applying the same moral yardstick to Israel as to other nations.
Power alluded to that fact of life in the same interview in which she called for intervention. Right after calling on the United States to impose a peace settlement, she added that “might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import.”
It did. Six years later when Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama listed Power as one of his foreign policy advisors, members of the lobby crowd went ballistic. [Continue reading…]