Dina Powell Spoke at Gala that Honored Palestinian Extremist, Conspiracy Theorist

dina powell
AP/Evan Vucci

NEW YORK — Dina Habib Powell, the Trump administration’s Deputy National Security Advisor, was a featured speaker at a gala dinner given by a George Soros-financed group that honored a notoriously anti-Israel Palestinian legislator.

At the dinner, just prior to Powell’s speech, Palestinian extremist Hanan Ashrawi received an award and delivered a 12-minute anti-Israel diatribe in which she blasted U.S.-Israel relations and accused Israel of “apartheid” and stealing “Palestinian land.”

Ashrawi, a political leader of the violent First Palestinian Intifada and longtime member of the PLO Executive Committee, served as deputy to late PLO leader and arch terrorist Yasser Arafat. She is known for espousing anti-Israel conspiracy theories and for attempting to justify Palestinian “resistance” against the Jewish state.

Powell was one of seven personalities featured at the Middle East Institute’s 66th Annual Banquet, which took place November 13, 2012 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington DC. Ashrawi, who received the Institute’s Issam M. Fares Award for Excellence, was another speaker and honoree.

Powell spoke for about six minutes and presented an award for distinction in civic leadership to Naguib Sawiris, an Egyptian billionaire businessman and philanthropist.

At the time, Powell was president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation, the nonprofit subsidiary of Goldman Sachs. In that capacity, she was running the Foundation’s 10,000 Women program, which describes itself as “a global initiative that fosters economic growth by providing women entrepreneurs around the world with a business and management education, mentoring and networking, and access to capital.”

She noted that Sawiris’ “mom is involved in a program we have in Egypt called 10,000 Women, which at Goldman Sachs we are very proud of.”

10,000 Women partnered with the Clinton Global Initiative, particularly for its $30 million, five-year program in Africa. Powell’s foundation also directly funded the Clinton Foundation and partnered with Hillary Clinton’s State Department, as this reporter previously exposed.

Meanwhile, in her address at the banquet just before Powell’s talk, Ashrawi exclaimed that “the strategic alliance between the U.S. and Israel has tainted the pursuit of peace in our region for so long.”

She accused Israel of stealing “Palestinian land” and referred to Israel’s security barrier as an “apartheid wall built throughout Palestine and on Palestinian land.”

Ashrawi is misleading in her claims concerning the so-called wall. About 95% of Israel’s security barrier consists of a chain-link fence backed up by high-tech surveillance systems and not the concrete wall routinely shown by the news media. The concrete barriers are usually only located in areas where the barrier intersects with Israeli communities and roads, including areas of previous Palestinian shooting attacks.  The small concrete sections were erected to prevent further shootings and proved to be highly successful for that security task.

Ashrawi failed to mention that Israel began construction of the security barrier for emergency national security purposes in 2002 in direct response to the Second Palestinian Intifada, or terrorist war of shootings and suicide bombings targeting Israeli civilians. Upon the completion of a significant continuous section of the security fence in 2003, Israel saw a marked decrease in the number of suicide bombers able to penetrate Israeli cities.

In her speech to the Middle East Institute, Ashrawi further baselessly claimed that Israel has been using the so-called Israeli-Palestinian peace process “as a cover for Israeli impunity and unilateralism, where it has in a sense become its own worst enemy in that it is undermining its very objective and destroying the two-state solution as well as the prospects for peace.”

Far from destroying the two-state solution, Israel has offered the Palestinians a state on numerous occasions only for the Palestinians to bolt talks or even refuse to come to the bargaining table. Perhaps the most infamous example of Palestinian intransigence was on full display when Ashrawi herself participated in the Camp David peace talks in the summer of 2000. The Palestinians, led by Arafat, walked away from the talks and launched the deadly Second Palestinian Intifada in response.

More offers were made by Israel at Taba in 2001, the Annapolis Conference in 2007, talks in 2008 and an expansive proposal by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2014. In each of these cases, the PA refused generous Israeli offers of statehood and bolted negotiations.

Ashrawi is founder of the anti-Israel activist group Miftah. NGO Monitor, a watchdog on extremist nonprofits, notes that Mifta has accused Israel of committing “massacres,” “apartheid,” “summary executions” of Palestinian youth and “Judaizing” Jerusalem.  It has also accused Israel of “ethnic-cleansing of Palestinian-Israeli Arabs.”

In a 2001 speech to the World Conference Against Racism, Ashrawi referred to the creation of Israel as a “Nakba” or “catastrophe.”

At the height of the deadly Palestinian intifada campaign of suicide bombings and shootings, Ashrawi wrote the following in October 2001 of the carnage: “I see it as an expression of the will to resist, of the spirit of a people that will not succumb to coercion and subjugation. … Popular protests and acts of resistance — political, human resistance — are necessary to demonstrate the people’s will.”

The term “resistance” is usually used by the Palestinians as a euphemism for deadly terrorist attacks targeting Israelis.

Ashrawi participated in the political leadership of the First Palestinian Intifada, which started in 1987. She served on the Intifada Political Committee until 1993.

The Middle East Institute where Powell and Ashrawi spoke receives annual contributions from the Soros Fund Charitable Foundation. Other major donors include the Qatar Foundation International, and the governments of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

The Middle East Institute’s international advisory council includes former U.S. diplomat Thomas R. Pickering, who serves with Soros and the billionaire’s son Alexander on the board of the International Crisis Group, a nonprofit that says it is “committed to preventing and resolving deadly conflict.”

 Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.


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