White House defends Mary Robinson honour

The White House is standing by its decision to award a Presidential Medal of Freedom to former Irish president Mary Robinson.

Some Jewish groups say Ireland’s first female president is biased against Israel.

But White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Ms Robinson was being recognised with the highest US civilian honour because she was a prominent advocate for women’s rights in her country and around the world.

Mr Gibbs said she had made statements that President Barack Obama did not agree with, but that was likely to be the case with a number of the 16 people he planned to recognise for their lifetime achievements.

Mr Obama will award the medals at the White House on August 12.

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