I posed a series of questions to the White House about the selection of Mary Robinson for the Medal of Freedom award, including whether they consulted with Jewish organizations or considered the views of Israel or of their special envoy Richard Holbrooke, who in the past has criticized Robinson for “politicizing the UN.” They will not, at least now, explain their deliberation process. White House spokesman Tommy Vietor did have this to say: “Mary Robinson has dedicated her career to human rights and working to improve an imperfect world. As with any public figure, we don’t necessarily agree with every statement she has ever made, but it’s clear that she has been an agent of change and a fighter for good.”
In discussion over the past two days with Jewish organizations, I have yet to find one who was consulted on this matter. I think it is safe to say that had the White House checked, they would have been greeted with a storm of protest.