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UN Ambassador addresses BDS, hails Pearl Foundation

by Tom Tugend

February 24, 2014 | 5:44 pm

Samantha Power, permanent representative of the United States to the U.N., in New York on Feb. 22. Photo by Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

Samantha Power, permanent representative of the United States to the U.N., in New York on Feb. 22. Photo by Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

The United States firmly opposes any boycotts of Israeli institutions and products “as disruptive of the peace process,” Ambassador Samantha Power, the permanent U.S. representative to the United Nations, declared Sunday evening, Feb. 23, at UCLA.

Power also spoke out against the longtime exclusion of Israel from U.N. regional groupings while delivering the 12th annual Daniel Pearl Memorial Lecture, honoring the life and legacy of the Wall Street Journal reporter decapitated by Islamic extremists in Pakistan in 2002.

She went on to hail the Jewish state’s admission earlier this month to the U.N.’s JUSCANZ group of 15 democratic countries, including Japan, United States, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Norway and New Zealand.

Her generally non-controversial talk drew some unexpected media attention when she tweeted afterwards that “Daniel Pearl’s story is a reminder that individual accountability and reconciliation are required to break cycles of violence.”

The tweet drew an instant puzzled or indignant response, with some asking whether Power believed that Pearl himself was responsible for his own death.

Early Monday morning, Power posted a correction, which explained that her reference was to the global outreach of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, established by the slain journalist’s parents, Ruth and Judea Pearl.

Power added, “As I said last night, the men who murdered Daniel Pearl did so because he was an American and, most of all, because he was a Jew.”

The diplomat was introduced to the audience of some 600 listeners by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Although the Irish-born Power came to her U.N. job with a reputation as a feisty journalist, author and academic, as President Obama’s chief representative to the international body she delivered her remarks on current world problems with considerable circumspection. 

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