Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) has become the second Jewish Democratic member of the House (after Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) to criticize President Obama’s choice of Mary Robinson to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the higheset civilian honor in the United States.
"I respectfully request that the President of the United States reassess the awarding of this prestigious medal to a woman with such a blatant record of inappropriate and inexplicable bias against America’s most reliable ally — and the region’s only democracy — the State of Israel," said Berkley in a statement.
The full statement is below:
(August 5, 2009 — Washington, D.C.) Congresswoman Shelley Berkley today expressed her concern regarding past comments and biased actions directed at the State of Israel by Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Mary Robinson.
"The biased views expressed by Mary Robinson against the nation of Israel remain deeply troubling and her tarnished record of actions on this issue cannot be erased with the awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This includes her role in the U.N.’s infamous Durban Conference, the scene of highly-charged anti-Jewish attacks against Israel and its supporters. Mary Robinson’s one-sided criticism of Israel and her actions while serving as a U.N. commissioner deserve to be condemned and I add my voice to those already expressing concern about her shameful record when it comes to this issue. I respectfully request that the President of the United States reassess the awarding of this prestigious medal to a woman with such a blatant record of inappropriate and inexplicable bias against America’s most reliable ally — and the region’s only democracy — the State of Israel," said Berkley.
UPDATE: Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) also have come out against the award to Robinson. After the jump, Ros-Lehtinen’s statement:[[READMORE]]
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, commented today on the decision to award a Medal of Freedom to Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“Mary Robinson was the poster-child for the anti-Israel bias that pervades the United Nations system.
“During her tenure as High Commissioner, she never missed an opportunity to single out Israel for condemnation, while often excusing violent Palestinian extremism.
“Just recently, Robinson bordered on bigotry when she blamed opposition to this award on ‘bullying by certain elements of the Jewish community.’
“Under her leadership – or lack thereof – Durban I was hijacked by the world’s most intolerant regimes and transformed from an anti-racism conference into an anti-Israel, anti-Semitic, anti-American hate-fest.
“The U.S. did the right thing by walking out – and by staying away from a biased Durban Review Conference that reaffirmed Durban I’s declaration.
“The U.S. can do the right thing again by denying Robinson this undeserved honor. The cause of freedom is too important to be linked with Mary Robinson.”
Note: Ros-Lehtinen is the author of the Durban Taxpayer Refund Act (H.R. 3231), which would refund U.S. taxpayer dollars spent by the United Nations on this past April’s Durban Review Conference – the sequel to the Durban I Conference, which Robinson presided over – and prevent U.S. funds from being used for future hate-filled forums. This legislation enjoys the support of over 35 cosponsors.