NEW YORK – US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley received a standing ovation at the General Assembly Hall on Wednesday as she vowed to fight alongside Israel against the BDS movement.The Israeli Mission hosted its second annual summit against the boycott movement at the UN headquarters on Wednesday, titled “Ambassadors against BDS.” The first such event was held in May last year with some 1,500 people in attendance, making it the largest anti-BDS gathering to date.“Know that the United States has Israel’s back, and know that you now have a fighter and a friend in the UN to help you,” Haley told the audience of more than 2,000 pro-Israel activists, students and representatives of Jewish organizations.“We should boycott North Korea, we should sanction Iran, we should divest from Syria, not Israel,” she said. “It makes absolutely no sense and it has no connection to any reasonable definition of justice.”Haley, who in her former position as governor of South Carolina was the first in the US to sign anti-BDS legislation, said she felt “privileged” to do so in 2015.“In our state we said we will not use taxpayers’ funds to do business with any company that discriminates on the basis of race, color, religion, gender or national origin,” said Haley, who was introduced to the podium as “a born leader.” “And make no mistake, that is exactly what the BDS movement does.”“What a tragic irony that today I am once again engaged in a fight against those who seek to harm Israel, but this time as the US ambassador to the United Nations,” she said.Israel’s permanent representative to the international body, Danny Danon, thanked Haley for recognizing the dangers of BDS and also being the first US governor to sign legislation against the movement.
He added that while some try to label BDS activists’ actions as political debate, the movement is “pure antisemitism.”“By associating these vile acts with legitimate political movements, we run the risk of legitimizing the illegitimate,” Danon said. “Those who topple Jewish tombstones in the dark of night and those who seek to delegitimize the Jewish state are not members of any political group.”Danon said despite many victories against those delegitimizing Israel, such as the recent resignation of UN undersecretary- general Rima Khalaf, “we cannot rely on our accomplishments of the past.“We cannot rest for even a moment,” he said. “The BDS movement is still active and still strong. The real danger of BDS is not in their numbers, it is in their ability to cower us into silence.“Silence is weakness, silence is defeat,” Danon said. “We are all here to say we cannot, we will not, be silent.”The event was organized in a partnership by Israel’s Mission to the UN, the World Jewish Congress and other pro-Israel organizations, including the American Center for Law & Justice, Zionist Organization of America, Israel Bonds, Stand- WithUs, CAMERA, B’nai B’rith International, the Israeli-American Council, the Maccabee Task Force, Hillel International, Students Supporting Israel, Hasbara Fellowships, the Jewish Agency, the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the American Zionist Movement.
Nikki Haley discusses US commitment to two-state solution on Feb. 16, 2017 (credit: REUTERS)