Samantha Power, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, promised on Monday that she would fight and “not give up” to get Israel a seat on the UN Security Council.
Speaking to the AJC (American Jewish Committee) Board of Governors, Power said that the U.S. “strongly supports Israel’s candidacy” for a seat on the Security Council.
“We have pushed relentlessly for the full inclusion of Israel across the UN system,” Power said, according to a statement provided by AJC.
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 the UN Human Rights Council's (UNHRC) Western European and Others Group (WEOG).
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, the statement said.
“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,” she added.
“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 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.”
After her nomination as UN envoy was announced by President Barack Obama, Power was criticized for past statements against Israel, including a 2002 interview in which she said that "external intervention" may be necessary to prevent "genocide" and "major human rights abuses" in the "Palestine/Israeli situation".
During that interview, Power responded to a hypothetical question and said that if given the opportunity she would advise the president to sacrifice billions of dollars of aid to the Jewish state, allocating the funds instead to “the new state of Palestine.”
She later appeared to have done a complete 180, slamming the UN’s "unacceptable bias" against Israel and pledging to lobby hard to get Israel a seat on the Security Council.
Israeli envoy Prosor announced in October that Israel plans to run for a rotating seat on the UN Security Council for the first time ever for 2019-2020, vying against Germany and Belgium.
Winning a Security Council seat requires a two-thirds majority in the 193-nation General Assembly, and UN diplomats predicted that it will not be easy for the Israel to win.