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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What giving the medal of freedom to Mary Robinson says about Barack Obama

Wednesday is the day that President Obama plans to bring disgrace upon the United States by presenting the medal of freedom to anti-Jewish, anti-Israel and anti-American 'human rights activist' Mary Robinson. Giving the medal to Robinson has aroused so much fury that the fact that the medal is also being presented to South African bishop Desmond Tutu - who would also fit each of the adjectives above - has gone almost unnoticed.

There were a slew of articles on Tuesday about Robinson and I'd like to highlight them and send you off to read them on your own to understand why this vile woman is completely undeserving of the United States' highest civilian honor.

This is from former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton:
Durban is not the only reason Ms. Robinson should not receive the Medal of Freedom. Over the years she has actively opposed “the security or national interests of the United States,” one of the categories of eligibility for the Medal. Those in the administration who recommended her either ignored her anti-Israel history, or missed it entirely, as they either ignored or overlooked her hostility toward America’s role in promoting international peace and security. Or perhaps they share Ms. Robinson’s views.

One example, particularly significant today given the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, is Ms. Robinson’s strong opinions about the use of force. During the Clinton administration’s (and NATO’s) air campaign against Serbia because of its assault on Kosovo, for instance, she opined that “civilian casualties are human rights victims.” But her real objection was not to civilian casualties but to the bombing itself, saying “NATO remains the sole judge of what is or is not acceptable to bomb,” which she did not mean as a compliment.

In fact, Ms. Robinson wanted U.N. control over NATO’s actions: “It surely must be right for the Security Council . . . to have a say in whether a prolonged bombing campaign in which the bombers choose their target at will is consistent with the principle of legality under the Charter of the United Nations.” One wonders if this is also Mr. Obama’s view, given the enormous consequences for U.S. national security.

This February, asked whether former President George W. Bush should be prosecuted for war crimes, Ms. Robinson answered that it was “premature,” until a “process” such as an “independent inquiry” was established: “[T]hen the decision can be taken as to whether anybody will be held accountable.” In particular, she objected to the Bush administration’s “war paradigm” for dealing with terrorism, saying we actually “need to reinforce the criminal justice system.” Asked about Mr. Obama’s statements on “moving forward,” Ms. Robinson responded that “one of the ways of looking forward is to have the courage to say we must inquire.”

Ms. Robinson’s award shows Mr. Obama’s detachment from longstanding, mainstream, American public opinion on foreign policy. The administration’s tin ear to the furor over Ms. Robinson underlines how deep that detachment really is.
Jennifer Rubin comments on Bolton's article:
And that really is the bottom line. It is not that Obama and his team “missed” her involvement at Durban or overlooked her record more generally at the UN. It is that they did not find it all that troubling, or perhaps they even considered it admirable. They did give her a prize for it after all. It is not that her views are anathema to them—just to mainstream opinion in the U.S. The Robinson award is important because it tells us whom we are dealing with—in the White House. We already know about Robinson and the UN. The lesson to be learned is that Robinson is the role model, the ideal international citizen, whom the Obama team admires. It is chilling. But that is the reality of what the America public, the West, and Israel must confront for the foreseeable future.
Exactly. Although I would argue that we already knew about Obama's role models from Jeremiah Wright, Rashid Khalidi and Bill Ayers.

A letter against Robinson's award is being circulated for signature in the House by two Republicans: Ileana Ross-Lehtinen and Thaddeus McCotter. Here's part of that letter:
Her conduct as High Commissioner politicized both the office and the human rights issue itself, undermining both. However, instead of demonstrating regret for her conduct, Robinson has reaffirmed it. She denied the conference’s failure, claiming that “Durban achieved its objective. It yielded an extraordinarily important document for those who suffer discrimination and marginalization and racism.” She also derided her critics in terms bordering on bigotry, claiming “bullying by certain elements of the Jewish community.”

Mr. President, you did the right thing by staying away from a biased Durban Review Conference (Durban II) that reaffirmed Durban I’s declaration, noting that “if you adopted all the language from 2001, that’s just not something we could sign up for… our participation would have involved putting our imprimatur on something that we just don’t believe.” Likewise, awarding this nation’s highest civilian honor to Mary Robinson risks putting our imprimatur on a biased record that contravenes our nation’s deepest values. Therefore, in keeping with your decision on Durban II, we respectfully request that you not grant Ms. Robinson this distinction.
UN Watch's Hillel Neuer, who spoke out forcefully at many of the preparatory meetings for Durban II, has publicly released a letter that he sent to Robinson.
Mrs. Robinson, let’s be honest: no one has bullied you, and you are not being vilified by false accusations. Instead, facts were presented and issues raised concerning your 1997-2002 tenure as U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights—by mainstream Jewish organizations as well as by members of Congress on both sides of the aisle—which question the integrity of your actions on the Middle East, most famously during the lead-up to that dark moment in history known as the Durban conference.

Hurling ad hominem epithets won’t make these facts go away. Nor will misrepresenting your critics’ arguments and then purporting to refute them, which is what both you and your defenders have been doing.


Leadership means taking responsibility. During the march to Durban you could have confronted the purveyors of anti-Israel hatred from the start. Instead, you chose to egg them on, only to have it explode in your face—by which time your protestations were simply too little and too late. You may not have been the chief culprit of the Durban debacle, but you will always be its preeminent symbol.
Read the whole thing. The full text of Neuer's letter is here.

Finally, to return to President Obama, Rick Richman draws a parallel between Obama's Cairo speech and his selection of Robinson to receive the medal of freedom.
In “The Durban Debacle: An Insider’s View of the UN World Conference Against Racism,” Tom Lantos (then the ranking member of the House International Relations Committee and founder of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus) recorded his experience as a U.S. delegate at Durban. The critical moment at Durban came after the Organization of the Islamic Conference presented a “compromise” document that included slurs and distortions against Israel that would require the U.S. to leave the conference:
After this document appeared, I met twice with Mrs. Robinson over the next 12 hours-the second time at her request-and urged her publicly to denounce it in order to salvage the conference. . . .

Mrs. Robinson’s intervention with the assembled delegates later in the same day left our delegation deeply shocked and saddened. In her remarks, she advocated precisely the opposite course to the one Secretary Powell and I had urged her to take. Namely, she refused to reject the twisted notion that the wrong done to the Jews in the Holocaust was equivalent to the pain suffered by the Palestinians in the Middle East. Instead, she discussed “the historical wounds of anti-Semitism and of the Holocaust on the one hand, and … the accumulated wounds of displacement and military occupation on the other.” [Emphasis added]

Thus, instead of condemning the attempt to usurp the conference, she legitimized it. . . . Robinson was prepared to delve into the arcana of a single territorial conflict at the exclusion of all others and at the expense of the conference’s greater goals. . . .

It was clear to me that Mrs. Robinson’s intervention during the Geneva talks represented the coup d’ grace on efforts to save the conference from disaster.
Robinson’s endorsement of the equivalence of Palestinian “displacement and military occupation” to the Holocaust was echoed eight years later—in almost precisely the same terms—by Obama’s “on the other hand” description of Palestinian “dislocation” and “occupation” after his own reference to the Holocaust.
I don't know about the rest of you, but I no longer buy the "she wasn't properly vetted" excuse anymore. Mary Robinson was selected for this award by Barack Obama because she shares his worldview. This award is a disgrace to the American people.

When will this long national nightmare of the Obama Presidency be over?


At 10:46 PM, Blogger SC&A said...


At 2:05 AM, Blogger the_raptor said...

"Although I would argue that we already knew about Obama's role models from Jeremiah Wright, Rashid Khalidi and Bill Ayers."

Ah, but Obama always argued that these were old & unimportant connections, and the MSM bought it. Giving Mary Robinson the Medal of Freedom is news, and speaks volumes about how the Obama administration feels right now.

At 7:17 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Mary Robinson is truly the gift that keeps on giving.



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