New voice at the UN

New voice at the UN

Nikki Haley, the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has spoken out forcefully on behalf of Israel in recent days, offering a refreshingly honest perspective rarely heard at Turtle Bay. 

After attending her first monthly Security Council meeting on Middle East issues last week, Haley told the press she found it “a bit strange” in that, though pledged to deal with peace and security concerns, the council did not focus on the danger posed by Hezbollah rockets aimed at Israel, Iran’s support for terrorism, strategy to defeat ISIS, or countering Syrian President Assad’s ongoing assault on his citizens. Instead, she said, the council concentrated on criticizing Israel.

Haley asserted the United States will no longer “turn a blind eye” to blatant prejudice against “the one true democracy in the Mideast” and is “determined to stand up to the UN’s anti-Israel bias.”

She also stated the U.S. commitment to the two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians.

Haley’s clear and much-welcomed message of support for Israel is in sync with a sense of the president’s positive feelings as well. As for his policies, they are more difficult to discern. He was vague about the two-state/one-state approach regarding the peace process during the visit of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and he appeared to back away, at least for now, on his pledges to support settlement building and moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Some Trump supporters in our community seemed sufficiently pleased with his views on Israel to look the other way when he resisted speaking out publicly and forcefully against anti-Semitism in the wake of a dramatic increase in anti-Jewish incidents. We are uncomfortable with such a calculation; our communal positions should be based on principle, not politics.

We welcome the president’s brief but direct statement on Tuesday, following another wave of phoned-in threats to a number of JCCs, that anti-Semitism is “horrible” and “painful” and that “hate and prejudice and evil” must be rooted out. We hope he will continue to speak out against bigotry and racism so that all minorities feel protected and secure. 

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