Diplomacy

Ten of Ambassador Nikki Haley’s Finest Moments

Ambassador Nikki Haley, who announced Tuesday that she would be leaving her post as United States Ambassador to the United Nations at the end of the year, made her mark by vigorously defending Israel in the often-hostile world body. But Haley didn’t just defend the Jewish state, she also pointed out the dangers to the Middle East and the world presented by Iran and called tyrants to account.

During her confirmation hearing in January 2017, Haley asserted that American leadership was “essential” in international affairs. However, she acknowledged that despite U.S. leadership, the UN is “an institution that is often at odds with American national interests and American taxpayers.”

She called the UN’s anti-Israel bias “outrageous,” and showed that the bias wasn’t just a perception, but quantifiable. In the just-concluded General Assembly session, Haley noted, “the UN adopted twenty resolutions against Israel and only six targeting the rest of the world’s countries combined.”

Haley called the U.S. abstention allowing passage of the anti-Israel UN Security Council Resolution 2334 “damaging,” and promised, “I will never abstain when the United Nations takes any action that comes in direct conflict with the interests and values of the United States.”

In the nearly two years that Haley, a former governor of South Carolina, served at the UN, she had many shining moments as she made good on that promise.

1) February 2017 – The U.S. “will not turn a blind eye” to anti-Israel bias at the UN anymore

Haley described the experience of attending her first Security Council meeting to discuss the Middle East:

The Security Council is supposed to discuss how to maintain international peace and security. But at our meeting on the Middle East, the discussion was not about Hizballah’s illegal build-up of rockets in Lebanon. It was not about the money and weapons Iran provides to terrorists. It was not about how we defeat ISIS. It was not about how we hold Bashar al-Assad accountable for the slaughter of hundreds and thousands of civilians. No, instead, the meeting focused on criticizing Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East. I am new around here, but I understand that’s how the Council has operated, month after month, for decades.

But, she said, on her watch, the U.S. is “determined to stand up to the UN’s anti-Israel bias.”

2) March 2017 – “There’s a new sheriff in town”

In a conversation with Dan Senor at the 2017 AIPAC Policy Conference, Haley made a big hit by declaring “there’s a new sheriff in town,” and at the UN “the days of Israel-bashing are over.”

Haley said that there would be no more “freebies” for the Palestinians until they negotiated in good faith with Israel. She also noted that she had made a start by prevailing on newly elected UN Secretary-General António Guterres to withdraw a report critical of Israel that had been authored by anti-Israel activist, Richard Falk.

3) March 2017 – Anti-Israel boycotts have “no connection to any reasonable definition of justice.”

Haley delivered the keynote address at an event at the UN called ‘Ambassadors Against BDS,’ which was organized by the Israeli mission to the UN, the World Jewish Congress, and numerous Jewish organizations, and called out the hypocrisy underscoring the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign.

“And how tragic is it that of all countries in the world to condemn for human rights violations, these voices choose to single out Israel,” Haley said. “We should boycott North Korea. We should sanction Iran. We should divest from Syria. Not Israel. It makes absolutely no sense. And it has no connection to any reasonable definition of justice.”

4) April 2017 – “Every month for ten years they’ve been Israel-bashing”

In an interview with Fox News, Haley said that her biggest surprise on assuming her post as ambassador to the UN was the degree and persistence of anti-Israel activity in the organization. Of the Security Council, which had monthly meetings on the problems affecting the Middle East, Haley observed, “They’re not talking about Syria, they’re not talking about Iran.” Instead, the ambassador said, “Every single month for ten years they’ve been Israel-bashing.”

“And that was something I just couldn’t believe that they put the time and energy into doing when we have so many threats around the world,” she added.

5) April 2017 – Iran is the “chief culprit” behind conflict in the Middle East

At the Security Council’s monthly meeting on the Middle East, Haley, who was then serving as the Security Council’s president, shifted the focus of the meeting.

“If we are speaking honestly about conflict in the Middle East, we need to start with the chief culprit: Iran and its partner militia, Hezbollah,” Haley said. “Iran and Hezbollah conspire together to destabilize the Middle East.”

Moreover, she pointed out that Iran was flagrantly violating numerous Security Council Resolutions, “Iran’s ballistic missile tests defy Security Council resolutions and further undermine the stability in the region. We call on all states to fully implement Resolution 2231, which bans the transfer of weapons to and from Iran, as well as the arms embargoes against the Houthis in Resolution 2216 and for Lebanon in Resolution 1701.”

Her stated goal was to transform the Security Council’s regular “Israel-bashing sessions,” which “don’t do anyone in the region any favors,” to constructive meetings focused on addressing Iranian belligerence.

6) August 2017 – UNIFIL commander may be “the only person in south Lebanon who is blind to what Hezbollah is doing”

During informal remarks, Haley blasted UNIFIL commander Maj. Gen. Michael Beary for his refusal to acknowledge that Hezbollah was amassing a significant arsenal under his watch.

Beary, to her, displayed “an embarrassing lack of understanding of what’s going on.” She added: “He seems to be the only person in south Lebanon who is blind to what Hezbollah is doing.” She also noted that his view of the situation “shows that we need to have changes” in the operation.

7) January 2018 – PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech “is not the speech of a person with the courage and the will to seek peace”

Referring to a “hate-filled” speech given by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in which he declared the Oslo Accords dead, Haley told the UN Security Council in January of this year, “A speech that indulges in outrageous and discredited conspiracy theories is not the speech of a person with the courage and the will to seek peace.”

In contrast to the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, Abbas’s speech to the Palestinian Liberation Organization Central Committee eleven days earlier, “declared the landmark Oslo Peace Accords dead. He rejected any American role in peace talks. He insulted the American President. He called for suspending recognition of Israel. He invoked an ugly and fictional past, reaching back to the 17th century to paint Israel as a colonialist project engineered by European powers,” Haley remarked.

“A speech that indulges in outrageous and discredited conspiracy theories is not the speech of a person with the courage and the will to seek peace,” Haley observed. And while she said that the U.S. “remains fully prepared and eager to pursue peace,” which would require compromise, “hate-filled speeches and end-runs around negotiations take us nowhere.”

8) February 2018 – Incursion of Iranian drone into Israeli airspace is “a wake-up call” to the world

Haley told the UN Security Council that the violation of Israeli airspace by an Iranian drone is “a wake-up call for all of us.” She added that the incursion showed that “Iran and Hezbollah are making plans to stay in Syria.”

Haley called the incursion of the drone from Syria, “an egregious and unprompted escalation.” She continued, “Iran was once again doing what it does – risking conflict and testing the will of its neighbors and opponents to resist its aggression.”

9) February 2018 – Haley tells Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat “I will not shut up”

After her speech criticizing Abbas for his lack of courage in seeking peace with Israel, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat called the ambassador “impudent,” and said that Haley should “shut up.”

Haley responded in the Security Council by promising that she “will not shut up,” adding that “I will respectfully speak some hard truths.”

Those truths, according to Haley, were that the Palestinians must “choose between two paths,” one of “absolutist demands, hateful rhetoric, and incitement to violence” and the second that of negotiation and a willingness to make peace. The first path, she observed, “will get the Palestinian people exactly nowhere.”

10) May 2018 – Condemning Hamas rocket attacks is a “No-brainer”

Haley blasted the U.N. Security Council for failing to agree on a statement condemning Hamas for its rocket attacks on Israel, calling such a condemnation a “no-brainer.” She added, “Apparently, some Council members did not think Hamas launching rockets qualified as terrorism. The United States begs to differ.”

Haley had convened an emergency meeting of the Security Council following a barrage of more than 100 rockets and mortars fired from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip into Israel.

The recent news that UNESCO approved two resolutions declaring that the Tomb of Rachel and that the Cave of the Patriarchs, both ancient Jewish sites, constitute “an integral part of the Occupied Palestinian territory,” show that Haley’s work fighting the anti-Israel bias at the UN is not done.

[Photo: DoD News / Flickr ]