Former US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley spoke out against the Joe Biden administration on Thursday in response to its decision to re-establish ties with the UN Human Rights Council. She also expressed concern for the renewal of US funding towards the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
Writing for the Algemeiner, Haley wrote that: “Rejoining the Human Rights Council and renewing funding for UNRWA will make neither organization better. It will only give heart to our enemies and cause pain for our allies, all while wasting American money."
The UNHRC was formed to support the progression of human rights and provide aid to refugees. However, according to Haley, it does nothing of the sort, but give dictators an opportunity to hide their guilt beneath its membership and target a democratic Israel above all other actual perpetrators.
In Haley's words, the UN "routinely passes more resolutions against Israel than against North Korea, Iran, and Syria combined."
"Last year, communist China, communist Cuba, and Vladimir Putin’s Russia were all given seats, even though they oppress their people in horrific ways," she went on to say.
The council additionally approved five pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel resolutions in 2020. Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan responded by saying “countries that supported Israel today have understood that this package of resolutions does nothing to forward peace, but serves instead to entrench the Palestinian’s rejectionist position and deepen the conflict."
In 2018, former US president Donald Trump gave up his seat in the UNHRC, severing all ties and refusing to publicly engage with the council, because of its anti-Israel standpoint and bias.
Yet merely three years later, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken explained that the US would take back its place in the human rights council, only this time as an observer instead of a member.
“We recognize that the Human Rights Council is a flawed body – in need of reform to its agenda, membership, and focus, including its disproportionate focus on Israel,” Blinken admitted.
However, the Biden administration hopes its presence in the council will encourage some positive change.
Haley was firm in her objection to Biden's approach. "These actions speak to Biden’s naïve approach to engaging with the UN. He’s prioritizing feel-good actions over results and reforms. In an organization in which unfree countries outnumber free ones, it’s a great way to accomplish little and lose much."
It's not just the UNHRC that worried Haley. A continuation of the funding towards the UNRWA is a waste of American taxpayer's money, she explained, as the agency does not really support Palestinian refugees.
The UNRWA has been known to hand out education material to Palestinian youth, glorifying jihadists, as well as grammar books containing sentences such as,“jihad is one of the doors to paradise," "the Palestinians are lions in fighting the enemies," and "the motherland is worthy of any kind of sacrifice."
While the UNRWA said that these books were "mistakenly" handed out, Haley asserted, "that’s not refugee relief, it’s pro-terrorist propaganda. Teaching children to hate Israel and its people makes Middle East peace harder to achieve."
Haley is not alone in her concerns regarding the Biden administration's decision to reassociate the United States with these two human rights bodies.
Former US ambassador to Israel David Friedman tweeted: “Well here’s a terrible policy: rejoining the UNHRC.”
He continued, “who is leading the UN’s commission on human rights? China, which places its undesirables in concentration camps; Russia that jails its dissidents; and Cuba! Who is the permanent target? Israel. Donald Trump and Nikki Haley got it exactly right by withdrawing!”
Blinken defended Biden's decision by saying that the UN, “shines a spotlight on countries with the worst human rights records and can serve as an important forum for those fighting injustice and tyranny.”
Whether or not the US will manage to institute such a change in the UNHRC or the UNRWA remains to be seen, but Haley's message rings loud in her warning to the Biden administration of their precarious decision.
"If China, Russia, and Cuba started an organization that celebrated their tyranny in the name of human rights, would the United States want to join? If an organization that claimed to help refugees actually hurt them, while spreading antisemitism, would the United States want to fund it?" Haley wants to know. Tovah Lazaroff, Zachary Keyser and JPS contributed to this report.