U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power Addresses AJC Board

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, Feb. 10, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Ambassador Samantha Power told the AJC Board of Governors today that the United States "strongly supports Israel's candidacy" for a seat on the UN Security Council. "We have pushed relentlessly for the full inclusion of Israel across the UN system," Power said.

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Acknowledging the rampant hostility towards Israel within the UN, where a large number of member states are not democratic, and all 193 members cast votes to elect the Security Council rotating members, Power declared: "I will never give up."

Israel became eligible to seek a Security Council seat after it was admitted to one of the world body's five regional groups, an effort in which Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN at the time, played a leading role.

Building upon the WEOG success, the U.S. has advocated for Israeli membership in another regional group, JUSCANZ, which is comprised of 15 democratic countries, including Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the U.S.

"Israel has higher voting coincidence with JUSCANZ members than even the U.S. on human rights issues," said Power. Israel became a member of JUSCANZ in Geneva several years ago, and, with U.S. assistance, is currently seeking the same status in New York.

Joining regional groups is an important example of the "continuing effort to chip away at systemic discrimination against Israel at the UN," said Power. "Our country's commitment to the security of Israel is unwavering, and the same is true of our efforts at the UN to eliminate bias against the Jewish state."

Power also cited as examples of Israel's valuable role in global affairs its quick response to the massive Haiti earthquake and the recent General Assembly action on entrepreneurship, initiated by Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor. Power also mentioned her support for Israeli diplomats to assume more leadership positions at the UN, as they are currently underrepresented because of political realities in the world body.

"I'd love to see more examples" of Israeli initiatives adopted at the UN, said Power, who spoke about her efforts to "showcase what Israel has to offer."

On the peace process, Power declared that the U.S. is aggressively opposing unilateral challenges by the Palestinians and their backers at the UN that seek "the kind of status that can only be forged through a peace process."

During the nearly hour-long conversation with AJC Executive Director David Harris, who recounted AJC's long history of involvement with the UN, dating back to the founding conference in 1945, Power touched on several other priority issues on the U.S. agenda at the UN, including Iran's nuclear program, the ongoing civil war in Syria, human rights -- including LGBT rights – protection, and genocide prevention.

SOURCE American Jewish Committee

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