U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations NIkki Haley speaks to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference in Washington, US.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley accepted rapturous applause at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference in Washington on Monday, promising ironclad defense of the Jewish state from her new posting in New York.
She was followed by House Speaker Paul Ryan, who similarly offered guarantees of security funding from Congress and legislation that would target Iran for its regional activities.
Declaring a “new sheriff in town,” Haley, who formerly served as governor of South Carolina, said she is taken aback by the “bizarre” level of vitriol she has witnessed leveled against Israel in UN bodies.
“I knew they said it was bad, but until you hear it and you see it, you just can’t comprehend, “ she told the gathering of 18,000 attendees. “I’m not there to play, and what I wanted to make sure of is that the United States started leading again.”
Haley: "UN could benefit from fresh set of eyes"
Thus she fought against the appointment of a Palestinian figure, former Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad, as the UN’s special representative for Libya. She considered his ascension to the role as a reward from within the UN infrastructure of bad behavior.
She repudiated the UN for the publication of a report that characterized Israel as an “apartheid state,” pressuring its leadership to retract the document.
They did so, and its author resigned days later.
And she has repeatedly denounced her predecessor’s government for abstaining on a UN Security Council vote that condemned Israel for its settlement enterprise, warning other council members against proceeding with any follow-up resolutions.
“Everyone at the United Nations is scared to talk to me about 2334,” Haley said, referring to the UN resolution passed in December. “To see that happen was not only embarrassing – it was hurtful.
“They’re all backing up a little bit – the Israel bashing is not as loud,” she added.
Ryan praised Haley for her tough stance and took his own swipes at the UN for “obsessing” over the Jewish state. He accused the Obama administration of “damaging trust” with Israel and promised a new day under President Donald Trump – a line which earned him applause from the crowd.
The speaker seemed to endorse two critical pieces of legislation on AIPAC’s agenda. One bill would target Iran for its non-nuclear behavior – such as its ballistic missile work and its funding of proxy armies region-wide – as well as officially designate the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization.
A second initiative would target international nongovernmental organizations if they choose to boycott or divest from Israel in a indiscriminate manner.
He was particularly critical of the nuclear deal brokered between world powers and Iran in 2015, which he characterized as an “unmitigated disaster.”
The agreement provides Tehran with a “patient pathway to a nuclear weapons capability ” if they abide by its terms, Ryan warned.