In a televised press conference last week, while she sat next to the president, US Ambassador the United Nations Nikki Haley announced her resignation.
It’s hard to see her go.
Few American ambassadors have so distinguished themselves as champions of freedom. Both along the East River and across the world, Haley earned herself a formidable reputation as a tough and resolute defender of her country and its allies. She made immense progress in curbing UN bureaucracy, combating anti-Israel bias, and standing up to the international body’s amorality in excusing brutal strongmen.
“We spoke out resolutely against dictatorships in Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and yes, Russia,” she said in her brief parting address. It’s all true. If Haley’s arrival to the UN meant anything, it was this: The party’s over.
She led the charge to enforce sanctions against the brutal despotic regimes of North Korea and South Sudan despite repeated attempts by Russia and China to protect them. She blasted Iran for its perilous ballistic missile program and brazen support for terrorist elements. And perhaps most significantly, she was a vital component of the administration’s courageous decision to remove our nation from the disastrous nuclear agreement signed with Iran that essentially sent them down a wide-open highway to Destination: Atomic Bomb.
Most meaningful to me, Nikki Haley stood up for Israel and largely neutralized the UN’s perverse bias against its only Jewish member-state. Her dedication to America’s staunch allies in general, and the State of Israel in particular, was apparent from the start. Just moments after her very first Security Council meeting on the Middle East, she lambasted the UN for its incomprehensible obsessions with Israel at a time when Hezbollah was building mass arsenals in Lebanon, and ISIS and the Assad regime were laying waste to Syria, leaving hundreds of thousands dead in their wake.
And of course, none can forget the courage in defending our president’s bold decision to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem, even as 128 countries used their platform at the UN to again attack Israel and show their disapproval and contempt for thousands of years of Jewish connection, hope and longing.
Amid blistering opposition, Haley pushed forth with her signature class and unmistakable dignity. It’s no wonder that 63% of Americans approved of her performance, an astonishing number considering today’s hyper-partisan climate.
Speaking for nearly 30 minutes to express his gratitude and appreciation for the parting ambassador, our president said it best: “We will miss you.”
With Haley’s sudden resignation, however, we are left with a tough, yet crucial question of who can possibly live up to her stellar record.
The thought of Ivanka Trump taking over the American seat at the UN was heard in the corridors of Washington. She, like Haley, is a remarkably strong and capable woman of both refinement and bearing. She would in all probability do an exceptional job, especially given that the pivotal prerequisites of the job are to represent America with strength and determination and to have the president’s ear. Few have qualities quite like those of Ivanka. President Trump, however, said that if he nominated her he’d be accused of nepotism. So that option is off the table.
That brings me to the person I believe would best serve the United States as its ambassador to the United Nations.
My advice? There is none better than the assistant to the president and special representative for international negotiations – in which role he serves under Jared Kushner – as the President’s chief Middle East negotiator Jason Greenblatt.
JASON IS a friend of mine. That my opinion of his character is gleaned not only from the headlines but from real experience. Jason is a truly principled, God-fearing man with a genuine humility, a deep moral center and an outstanding command of international diplomacy. In his role interfacing between the Gulf states, the Palestinians, Israel and the United States, he has earned the respect of all parties involved and has the strong and fervent backing of the American pro-Israel community, both Jewish and Evangelical Christian.
Most importantly, he is dedicated in heart, body and soul to the American values of freedom, democracy and the defense of liberty.
In Ethics of our Fathers, perhaps the greatest treasury of Jewish wisdom, the leading sage Rabbi Shimon is recorded as saying, “There are three crowns: the crown of Torah, the crown of priesthood and the crown of sovereignty.” He then explains, “The crown of a good name surmounts them all.”
Which brings me back to back to Jason. Beyond having a good heart, a warm and engaging disposition, and a razor-sharp intellect, Jason is held in the highest regard by all who know him, whether in a personal or diplomatic context. As one of the top diplomats in the center the most flammable region on earth, that’s nothing to sneeze at.
Consider this: The relationship between the United States and the Palestinian Authority has never been worse. America is hardly to blame. In light of the PA’s refusal to stop paying terrorists with American aid money, or its opposition to even entering peace talks, Palestinian leaders have no one but themselves to blame for the crumbling relationship. The Palestinians haven’t done much to hide their contempt for this administration. They’ve called the Trump policies “provocative,” “illegitimate” and “illegal.” PA President Mahmoud Abbas took things even further, calling US Ambassador to the Israel David Friedman and Nikki Haley “insult[s] to an administration that respects itself – if it wants to respect itself.” Interestingly – if not shockingly – they’ve shown nothing but respect for Jason Greenblatt, even as he’s pushed the same agenda and policies as his contemporaries.
There is a reason: Jason is a masterful listener and comports himself with humility and graciousness at all times. In comparison to Haley’s tough-as-nails approach, some might see this as weakness. Precisely the opposite is true. Jason is capable of being deeply respectful, even toward political and ideological antagonists, precisely because he is so strongly anchored in his immovable moral convictions.
Ultimately, after the considerable progress made under Haley, this might be exactly what we need: an ambassador who can consolidate Haley’s considerable progress and who can now build a consensus of allies to rally around the Trump administration’s insistence that the UN must reform.
Having someone like Jason, who served as Trump’s chief legal officer for two decades and who has the president’s respect – and ear – is pivotal.
Nikki Haley’s unprecedented gains were something of a flash offensive. In less than two years, she helped President Trump push an incredibly ambitious agenda that included reining in North Korea, crippling the Iran deal, and making good on a promise to the American Jewish community of standing up for Israel at the UN, a promise that for decades had been ignored by the United States.
Perhaps in the wake of America’s sweeping diplomatic offensive at the UN, we ought not to seek to merely replicate the warriors who brought us these successes and instead introduce someone whose immovable personal convictions were entrench them.
Jason is a man who can consolidate those gains by bringing the nations of the world to accept the promising changes enacted by this administration. The United States needs to construct a unified alliance to help reign in the rogue states which Haley finally took on. To do so, they’ll need someone who speaks not only from moral indignation, but from an deep and experienced sense of consensus-building, rallying America’s allies to continue to advance American values at an international forum that has done anything but respect them. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, ‘America’s Rabbi,’ whom The Washington Post calls ‘the most famous Rabbi in America,’ is the international bestselling author of 30 books, including his most recent, The Israel Warrior. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.
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