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Top Obama adviser Samantha Power on Israel, Ebola and social media

Ambassador Samantha Power spoke with Fusion’s Jorge Ramos during RiseUp on Nov. 19. During the conversation — which touched on conflicts in the Middle East — she was interrupted by a small group of anti-war protesters.

The ambassador spoke about the importance of international accountability and learning from past mistakes. She called the war in Syria “one of the most monstrous conflicts we have ever seen,” and denounced Russia’s repeated incursions into Ukraine, which she said were “well documented” and “outrageous.”

“We cannot live in a universe where this type of aggression is tolerated,” she said. She added, however, that “President Obama doesn’t think that there is a military solution to this crisis.”

Power spoke about the uprisings in the Middle East over the last several years, and the role of technology. The Arab Spring and other global protest movements show social media is “emboldening and empowering for people,” Power said. “With social media there are ways of interacting that sort of shield you from exposure, but allow you to see a panoply of people who share your view.”

She also spoke of a recent visit to Sierra Leone and the impact of the Ebola virus on communities in West African countries. Citing the “tremendous stigma” associated with the disease, she told the story of an African woman who faced discrimination even after she had been cured. “She didn’t get welcomed back into her community, she was completely shunned, almost as lepers were once shunned,” Power said.

Ramos ended the tense conversation with a provocative question: “Do you consider yourself a rebel?”

The ambassador, aware of the protesters still standing behind her, didn’t take the bait. “First, I have no time to go meta on myself,” she said. “I consider myself a diplomat, which means not answering that question.”

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