The nomination of Samantha Power to take up Susan Rice's seat as the U.S. ambassador the U.N. will surely raise hackles among some of the right-wing pro-Israel community. You see, Power is, according to a few right-wingers, an "anti-Israel intellectual." The former journalist and Harvard academic already faced attack after attack in 2008 during Barack Obama's first presidential campaign. Power was then a close Obama adviser (until she resigned for harsh criticisms of Obama's then-rival for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton), and the pro-Israel right was trying to paint the presidential candidate as an enemy of the Jewish state.
But what did Power do to incur the scorn? As her critics have it, she believes that "special interests" (read: pro-Israel lobby groups) can distort U.S. interests and strategy; said that inking Arab-Israeli peace deals is essential to peace in the Middle East (which seems obvious); wondering why alleged war crimes by Israel didn't make the headline of a 2003 New York Times article noting a rights group's dismissal of charges that Israel committed a massacre; and a quote from a 2003 interview where Power suggested the U.S. may need to impose a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The last attack is already gaining traction in the right-wing blogosphere and in the Israeli press. In the 2003 interview, Power said, "What we need there is actually a willingness to put something on the line in terms of actually helping the situation," she said. This might "might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import," she added, in a nod to the influential pro-Israel lobby. Power goes on to say that there are "major human rights abuses" in Israel and that a solution might need to be imposed on the parties. None of these perspectives seem totally unreasonable, but Power nonetheless repudiated her stated views in a 2008 interview, and then again in 2011 when she invited the right-leaning Rabbi Shmuley Boteach to her office.
Noah Pollak, then at Commentary, led the charge against Power. Even in these early days, Pollak displayed the sort of dishonesty he's more recently become famous for as the director of the Emergency Committee for Israel. At the time of the original attacks, Matt Duss found one such example of Pollak deliberately omitting context from a Power quote, and another Pollak post cherry-picked parts of a her interview with Salon.
Even an honest look at Power's record, though, will probably not satiate some pro-Israel hawks, while others will find her strong interventionism palatable. In 2008, as his then-Commentary colleague Pollak was launching attacks, Max Boot rushed to Power's defense. Today, he strongly backed her nomination in an interview with Foreign Policy, along with hawkish pro-Israel liberal, Alan Dershowitz.
Will re-hashing these 2008 attacks squash Power's nomination? Probably not. But will those segments of the pro-Israel right that attacked her in 2008 have at it again in 2013? Most definitely. And if the first salvos are any indication, they'll use the exact same playbook they did five years ago. Like Chuck Hagel's embattled nomination as Defense Secretary, Power will survive. But she'll take some shots and come out hesitant to say 'boo" about Israel.