Rice: Defending Israel takes much of her U.N. time

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Susan Rice said a major part of her work as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is defending Israel’s legitimacy.

“It’s a huge part of my work to the United Nations,” Rice said Sunday evening, launching this year’s Consultation on Conscience, an event in Washington for Reform movement social activists organized by the Religious Action Center.

She likened the volume of work to her efforts to coordinate Syria’s isolation and contain violence and abuses in Sudan.

Rice said she often works in “lockstep” with the Israeli delegation.

“We will not rest in the crucial work of defending Israel’s security and legitimacy every day at the United Nations,” she said.

Rice said Israel’s success at the United Nations often is not reported — for instance in joining the boards of the U.N. Development Program and UNICEF, and in advancing development initiatives.

She also discussed the U.S. role in brokering the birth of South Sudan and in monitoring continuing abuses in Sudan, and in attempting to rally other nations to isolate the Assad regime in Syria as a means of stemming the carnage in that country.

The Consultation on Conscience features workshops on social action and meetings with government figures.

In addition to Rice, this year’s attendees heard from Gene Sperling,director of the National Economic Council. They will meet Tuesday with top Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Congress.

Featured topics this year include combating genocide, immigration reform, rights of workers and gay rights.

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