Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mary Robinson to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland who would later become the UN High Commissioner on Refugees, will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House today despite strong criticism from Jewish groups.

Robinson played a central role as the Chairwoman at the notorious Durban Conference in 2001 which became a cesspool of vitriolic anti-Semitism prompting the U.S. and Israel to walk out of the meeting. Yet Robinson is proud of her role as the hostess inside this international house of hatred. In today's New York Daily News, Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center wrote that Robinson "allowed the conference to be hijacked by extremist groups."

Earlier this month, Tevi Troy suggested on The Corner that Robinson had not been properly vetted by the Obama Administration.

If this is the case then the Obama Administration is both ignorant and incompetent. Robinson is not only a public figure but an international one at that. Yet I find it hard to believe that no one at the White House was aware of Robinson's role at Durban given that the Obama Administration was faced with the decision earlier this year whether or not to attend Durban II in Geneva. To their credit they did not attend.

But I cannot help but think the Obama Administration made a point of honoring Robinson as a way to stick it to Israel. Let's face it. Obama is not on the best of terms with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. American-Israeli relations got a whole lot worse once George W. Bush left office. Bestowing this honor upon Robinson won't win Obama friends in Israel.

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