Power meets US Jewish leaders ahead of UNGA

Samantha Power discusses US goals with Jewish community leaders before Succot, strengthens relationship with Jews.

Samantha Power points 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Samantha Power points 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YORK – With the General Assembly around the corner, US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power held a meeting on September 17, a day before the start of Succot, with a roomful of Jewish community leaders “to discuss US goals at [the] UNGA.”
Power’s relationship with the Jewish community was questioned and scrutinized upon her nomination to the ambassadorship last spring. Remarks she had made in the past about “special- interest groups” having “too much power” in Washington and allegations that she supported the idea of a US-led military enforcement of a Palestinian state caused three major pro-Israel and right-wing lobbies in the US – The Middle East Forum, the Zionist Organization of America and the Republican Jewish Community – to denounce her nomination.
Since assuming office at the beginning of August, Power has maintained a distant relationship with the press, choosing mostly not to speak to reporters at press stakeouts outside the Security Council and Permanent Five meetings. To date, neither she nor the US mission have issued any official statement on the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks or directly addressed the ongoing conflict.
Nonetheless, the Jewish community’s collective attitude toward Power has softened since the beginning of her tenure. If last week’s meeting is any indication, Power appears at least to be listening to the concerns of the Jewish community prior to what is sure to be a contentious, Middle Eastfocused general debate.
The weeklong UNGA provides the setting for numerous high-level meetings between diplomats and lobbyists.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin are expected to make appearances in New York. The American Jewish Committee has announced its intention to take more than 70 private meetings with world leaders during the week.
None of the participants at the meeting with Power responded to a request for comment.
“The UN opening in September is a unique opportunity to have timely conversations with presidents, prime ministers, and foreign ministers about pressing issues of mutual concern,” stated AJC executive director David Harris. “These meetings are a core element of our year-round global advocacy, and the opening of the UN General Assembly session is a highlight in our diplomatic activity because so many leaders are in New York in a compressed period of time.”