Nikki Haley, the United States Ambassador to the UN, on Monday afternoon spoke at the 2017 AIPAC policy conference in Washington, DC, and stressed that “there’s a new sheriff in town” at the United Nations.
“I was confused” when she saw that Israel was the focus of discussions on the Middle East at the UN, admitted Haley, adding she expected the discussions to focus on issues such as Syria, the Islamic State (ISIS) and Hezbollah, not on Israel.
“I didn’t expect an Israel bashing session. I knew they said it was bad, but until you hear it and see it, you can’t comprehend how ridiculous it is,” she added.
The Ambassador criticized the nuclear deal signed between Iran and six world powers.
“When the Iran deal took place, all it did was empower Iran and Russia and it emboldened Iran. We’re going to watch Iran like a hawk. We’re going to make sure that everything they do is watched, processed and dealt with,” promised Haley. “Why [the Iran deal] was ever allowed to go through, why it was ever passed, is beyond me. It’s terrible.”
She stressed that she’s not at the UN “to play. What I wanted to make sure is that the United States starts leading. Leading is not saying things when it’s comfortable. It’s saying and doing things when it’s not comfortable.”
The goal “is to have the backs of our allies”, said Haley, and ensure that something like the anti-Israel Resolution 2334, which criticized Israeli “settlements”, never happens again.
“When Resolution 2334 happened, and the U.S. abstained, the entire country felt a kick in the gut. Never before have we not had the backs of our friends. We don’t have a better friend than Israel. To see that happen was hurtful…today, everyone at the UN is scared to talk to me about Resolution 2334. I wanted them to understand that it happened, but it will never happen again.”
“The days of Israel bashing [at the UN] are over,” Haley declared. “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 number one democratic friend in the Middle East and beat up on it.”
She cited two recent incidents at the UN in which the United States had Israel’s back and was able to get the UN to change its position.
“When they decided to try to put a Palestinian in one of the highest positions they had ever been given at the UN, we said no, and we had him booted out,” she said, referring to the UN’s decision to appoint former PA leader Salam Fayyad as its envoy to Libya.
“Until the Palestinian Authority does what it’s supposed to, there are no freebies for the Palestinian Authority anymore,” stressed Haley.
“Then they tested us again and this ridiculous report comparing Israel to an apartheid state comes out,” she continued, in reference to the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) report which accused Israel of imposing “apartheid” on Palestinian Arabs.
The first thing the American mission did in response to the report was call Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres and demand he pull the report, noted Haley. Gutteres indeed pulled the report and subsequently the head of ESCWA, Rima Khalaf, resigned.
“So for anybody who says that you can't get anything done at the UN, they need to understand that there's a new sheriff in town,” declared Haley.
She thanked the public, who welcomed her with warm applause, for their support, but stressed, “All I did was tell the truth.”