How much of Susan Rice’s job is about Israel?


At the United Nations, where Israel has become the favorite target of condemnatory resolutions, committees and debates, the United States remains Israel’s most steadfast and dependable ally.

So when I sat down last week with Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, there was one question on my mind: How much of your job is spent on Israel?

"This week?" she said. "A hundred percent." She laughed, saying she was only being a little bit facetious.

Then she turned serious.

"It’s a significant part of my job. It’s not the majority of my time, because I am the U.S. permanent representative," Rice said. "But it is never the smallest piece. It is always there."

One week it might be the Goldstone report on the Gaza War, another week it might be the report on the Turkish flotilla to Gaza or Israel’s Operation Cast Lead or the Durban review conference, she said.

"It’s a lot."

That’s fodder for detractors who accuse the United States of doing Israel’s bidding, or worse. But Rice says it’s nothing of the kind.

"We’re doing what we think is right," she told me.

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