AIPAC has now released a statement on Mary Robinson:
AIPAC is deeply disappointed by the Obama administration’s choice to award a Presidential Medal of Freedom to Mary Robinson. AIPAC respectfully calls on the administration to firmly, fully and publicly repudiate her views on Israel and her long public record of hostility and one-sided bias against the Jewish state.
Robinson is widely known for the high-profile role she played in leading the deeply flawed U.N. Human Rights Commission and for presiding over the U.N.’s Durban Conference on Racism, which the Untied States boycotted for its unprecedented hostility to Israel and its final outcome document that equated Zionism with racism.
In a BBC interview following the passage of the “Zionism = Racism” Durban text, Robinson described the outcome as “remarkably good, including on the issues of the Middle East.”
As one of America’s greatest statesman, the late Tom Lantos – a former Congressman, Holocaust survivor, global champion of human rights and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee – observed, “Much of the responsibility for the debacle [at Durban] rests on the shoulders of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson.”
In his extensive report about the Durban Conference, and about the years of effort on the part of Congress and both Clinton and Bush administrations to support the Conference and its goal of promoting human rights and ending racism and intolerance, Congressman Lantos continues:
Mrs. Robinson’s conduct “left our delegation deeply shocked and saddened. In her remarks, she advocated precisely the opposite course to the one Secretary Powell and I had urged her to take. Namely, she refused to reject the twisted notion that the wrong done to the Jews in the Holocaust was equivalent to the pain suffered by the Palestinians in the Middle East. . . . Instead of condemning the attempt to usurp the conference, she legitimized it.”
In addition to Robinson’s dishonorable role in the Durban debacle, her tenure on the UNHRC was deeply flawed, and her conduct marred by extreme, one-sided anti-Israel sentiment. Among the many outrages was a 2002 vote by the commission under her leadership that sought to condone Palestinian suicide bombings and terrorism as a legitimate means to establish Palestinian statehood. Explaining his nation’s vote against the measure, the German ambassador to the commission noted, “The text contains formulations that might be interpreted as an endorsement of violence [and] no condemnation whatsoever of terrorism.”
There is simply no excuse for the administration’s decision to reward Robinson with the nation’s highest honor. AIPAC and others have now put the ball back in Obama’s court: apologize or dig in? And what possible explanation do they have for their outrageous decision?
UPDATE: Michael Goldfarb explains just how extraordinary it is for AIPAC to go public on an issue such as this.