WASHINGTON -- Facing a Senate hearing Monday on her nomination to be US ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power vowed to provide a full-throated defense of Israel at the international body, calling for an end to the "unacceptable bias and attacks" often leveled toward the Jewish state.

Power said she would work to eliminate such bias, which she believes is the product of "disproportionate" attention given to Israel.

She also called Iran's chairing of the UN Conference on Disarmament an "absurdity," and echoed her predecessor, Susan Rice, in calling Security Council failures to address the situation in Syria "a disgrace that history will judge harshly."

Power, 42, a former White House national security staffer and journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize for her study of US failures to prevent genocide, is seen as an advocate of an activist foreign policy.

Power is expected to easily win Senate approval to the UN post.

She has been criticized by some conservatives for seeming to suggest in a 2002 interview with an academic that the US Army might be needed to police the Middle East conflict if either Israel or the Palestinians move toward genocide.

Separately, Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida introduced legislation shortly before the hearing that would reduce US funding to the United Nations unless there are major changes at the world body.

Among other things, Rubio's bill would withhold US contributions to any UN entity that grants full membership to the Palestinian Authority in the absence of a negotiated peace settlement with Israel.

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