As a supporter of Israel, I would be thrilled to see Susan Rice become Secretary of State.
This became clear to me long before the recent controversy surrounding her appearances regarding Benghazi on network talk shows. If people’s fitness for high office were to be determined by the efficacy of their presentations on talk shows, Oprah would have become president long ago.
Last March, during a closed lunch at AIPAC, Rice delivered an extraordinarily moving speech to 400 rabbis and cantors of all denominations. Read about it here and see a transcript here (and click for audio and transcript of her subsequent Q and A with the Rabbinical Assembly). Among the many gems she spouted, Rice said of the UN:
“What Israel faces is relentless, it’s obsessive, it’s ugly, it’s bad for the United Nations, it’s bad for peace — and it has got to stop….Not a day goes by — not one — when my colleagues and I do not work hard to defend Israel’s security and legitimacy at the United Nations.”
Rice concluded her presentation by stating, “Human conflict and human suffering can only be overcome by human courage,” a courage she has amply demonstrated. At that point, everyone rose in applause and we began singing a verse from Psalms that she had quoted (in perfect Hebrew, I must add), “Hinay Mah Tov Uma Na’im, Shevet Achim Gam Yachad,” “How pleasant it is when siblings can dwell together in peace.” For me it was the most life-affirming moment of the entire conference. Many of my colleagues were in tears.
Rice also said that although the UN remains problematic, things are improving. Did you know that Israel is joining the executive board of UNICEF for the coming year? For those of us raised on a steady diet of “UNICEF is anti-Israel” narrative, this news is downright miraculous, though the ADL points out that the narrative has long been overstated.
With people like Rice doing the grunt work of diplomacy every day, there can be no doubt that America has Israel’s back.
Those across the aisle (Hello? Mr. McCain?) who profess to be friends of Israel should take a close look at how she has stood up for the Jewish state in the most tempestuous of diplomatic arenas. The election is over. John Bolton is not coming through the door. They should be encouraging this choice, not condemning it.
Four hundred rabbis who voted with their feet – by standing on them in boisterous tribute – would overwhelmingly agree.