Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley accepts prestigious Theodor Herzl award

"Israel is not going away," she told the audience at the award ceremony in Manhattan.

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, WJC President Ronald S. Lauder, and former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley (photo credit: NOA GRAYEVSKY)
Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, WJC President Ronald S. Lauder, and former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley
(photo credit: NOA GRAYEVSKY)
"Israel is not going away," declared former US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley in Manhattan Wednesday night, as she accepted the World Jewish Congress' Theodor Herzl Award.
The award is presented to individuals who work to promote Herzl’s ideals for a safer, more tolerant world for the Jewish people. Previous recipients include the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former US Secretary of State General Colin L. Powell, former Israeli President Shimon Peres, Elie and Marion Wiesel, and, posthumously, Ronald Reagan and Axel Springer.
A staunch supporter of the Jewish state during her time in the UN, in her acceptance speech Haley recounted how, as a freshman at the United Nations, it became clear to her that bullying Israel had become an ingrained habit within the institution.
"Outdated customs" such as the "monthly Israel-bashing session" at the Security Council had fostered an illusion among other members that Israel could simply be pushed off the world stage.
“The UN’s bias against Israel has long undermined peace, by encouraging an illusion that Israel will go away. Israel is not going away. When the world recognizes that, then peace becomes possible,” Haley said.
Haley stood strong in the face of mounting opposition by learning to rely on core values, she told the audience at the award reception.
“The most important thing is to not be afraid to rely on your core values, even when they go against outdated customs… [which] have gone unquestioned for years," she said. "One of those core values is standing up for your friends.
“Some people accused us of favoritism toward Israel,” Haley added, “But what we did was really not about favoritism. In all that we did at the UN, our approach to Israel was tied together by one major idea.
"The idea is the simple concept that Israel must be treated like any other normal country.
"And that demand is actually a demand for peace.”
In presenting the award to Ambassador Haley, WJC President Lauder emphasized Ambassador Haley's unwavering support for the State of Israel, and her work leading the fight against the double standards and biases held against Israel by the international community.
But, he warned, her willingness to be a "strong and clear voice of truth" did not come without a price.
"You will not be able to rest because we expect even greater things from you," he said. "Like Herzl, you have championed a cause that has, and continues to have, more than its share of enemies. But it places you on the right side of history. And if there is anyone in this room that has the fire, the courage, and the faith to take on this test, it is you, Nikki Haley.”
A former South Carolina governor, 47-year-old Haley has been tipped as a potential future Republican presidential candidate.