Foreign Policy -Â There’s a chance – just a chance – that Samantha Power might not today be on the verge of becoming America’s ambassador to the U.N. if she hadn’t played nice with Michael Jackson’s rabbi. No, seriously.
More than two years ago, influential rabbi-to-the-stars Shmuley Boteach sharply criticized Power for “troubling statements” she had made nearly a decade earlier that “maligned the American pro-Israel lobby.” Worse, in the Rabbi’s eyes, Power implied that billions of dollars in U.S. military aid to Israel might be better spent on investments in the “state of Palestine.” Power had been sharply criticized by conservative supporters of Israel before. But Boteach was different. He was seen as not strictly political (even though he later ran as a Republican for a New Jersey Congressional seat). And he had a rather large soapbox, thanks to his best-selling books and his daily radio show.
So Power decided to nip her Shmuley problem in the bud.Â Days after the column appeared, Power placed a midnight call to the Rabbi and invited him to the White House to hear her side of the story. “She said, ‘if I’ve lost you then I must have lost many in the Jewish community,’” Boteach recalled in a phone interview withÂ Foreign Policy. In their White House meeting, Power “regretted” that her comments may have made Israel look bad but that she felt that her remarks had also been distorted by her critics.