U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley stated that she is aiming to change the culture at the U.N., and she has started by defending the international community’s favorite punching bag — Israel. At an event with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) yesterday, Haley described the U.N.’s animus toward Israel as “ridiculous” and confirmed that “the days of Israel-bashing are over,” drawing loud applause:
If you challenge us, be prepared for what you’re challenging us for, because we will respond. The next thing we did was we said, “The days of Israel-bashing are over.” We have a lot of things to talk about. There are a lot of threats to peace and security. But you’re not going to take our No. 1 democratic friend in the Middle East and beat up on them. And I think what you’re seeing is they’re all backing up a little bit. The Israel-bashing is not as loud. They didn’t know exactly what I meant outside of giving the speech, so we showed them.
She went on to explain how she got the U.N. to refrain from placing a former prime minister of the Palestinian Authority into a top-level position: “What it means is, until the Palestinian Authority comes to the table, until the U.N. responds the way they’re supposed to, there are no freebies for the Palestinian Authority anymore.”
She also demanded that the U.N. withdraw a report from the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia that labeled Israel an apartheid state — and withdraw it they did:
So then they tested us again. And a ridiculous report, the Falk Report, came out. I don’t know who the guy is or what he’s about, but he’s got serious problems. Goes and compares Israel to an apartheid state. So the first thing we do is we call the secretary general and say, “This is absolutely ridiculous. You have to pull it.” The secretary general immediately pulled the report. And then the director has now resigned.
Last thing. So for anyone that says you can’t get anything done at the U.N., they need to know there’s a new sheriff in town.
She also expressed a commitment to reverse the Obama-era trend of playing softball with Iran and Russia in the Middle East:
The reason it’s concerning is because when the Iran deal took place, all it did was empower Iran, and it empowered Russia. And it emboldened Iran to feel like they could get away with more. You can put sanctions on a country. To take sanctions away, it’s very hard to go back and put sanctions back on.
So what we have said is we’re going to watch them like a hawk. We’re going to make sure that every single thing they do is watched, processed, and dealt with.
While she cannot reverse it now, Haley did criticize the Obama administration’s abstention allowing Resolution 2334 to pass. The resolution condemned Israeli settlements, even in Jerusalem, and she declared that its adoption “showed the United States at its weakest point ever” in the U.N. She described a renewed American leadership that does not shy away from taking a stand: “Leading is saying and doing things when it’s not comfortable.”
It’s no wonder that David Horovitz of the Times of Israel declared her the “undisputed star” of the conference. This reassertion of U.S. leadership in the U.N. is a welcome change from the Obama administration.