The Presidential Medal of Freedom is given to those who have served to nurture the “security or national interests of the United States“. Given this prerequisite, it is curious that President Brock Obama chose to give the Medal to Ms. Mary Robinson.
Mary Robinson was the first female president of Ireland, basically a ceremonial position. After that post she was appointed by UN Security General , Kofi Annan, as High Commissioner for Human Rights, a position she held from 1997 to 2002.
Ms. Robinson is fairly infamous for her role as Secretary General in organizing the 2001 World Conference Against Racism held in Durban, South Africa. Instead of focusing on racism, it turned into an anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, and implicitly anti-American showcase. Pictured here is one handout conference attendees received.
Then Secretary of State Colin Powell called the conference “a throwback to the days of Zionism equals racism” and correctly withdrew the American delegation from the conference. Ms. Robinson has since described the Durbin Conference’s outcome as “remarkably good”.
President Obama’s decision to award the Medal of Freedom to Ms. Robinson deserves debate in the United States. Either Obama was unaware of Ms. Robinson’s background or he agrees with her positions. I think it’s the latter.
This action by President Obama is but one mistake for which it would not be fair to judge his positions by. However, taken together with other current and past actions and relationships, a picture is created that is serious concern to many Americans.