AIPAC Policy Conference

Haley: Days of bullying Israel at U.N. are ending


Excerpts from Ambassador Nikki Haley’s address to AIPAC on Monday night:

In the real world, Israel is a strong country with a vibrant economy and a first-class military. On the battlefield, Israel does not get bullied. The Iranians and Syrians can vouch for that.

But the U.N. is a different story. At the U.N. and throughout the U.N. agencies, Israel does get bullied. It gets bullied because the countries that don’t like Israel are used to being able to get away with it. …

As many of you know, one of the U.N. agencies with the worst track record of Israel bias is UNESCO. Among many other ridiculous things, UNESCO has the outrageous distinction of attempting to change ancient history. UNESCO recently declared one of Judaism’s holiest sites, the Tomb of the Patriarchs, as a Palestinian heritage site in need of protection from Israel. That was enough. Ten months into this administration, the United States withdrew from UNESCO.

There are lots of other things that we do, big and small, week after week, to fight back against the U.N.’s Israel bullying.

Every month at the Security Council we have a session devoted to the Middle East, and every month this session becomes an Israel-bashing session. This has gone on month after month for decades. … I came out of the first session and publicly said if we want to talk about security in the Middle East, we should talk about Iran or Syria or Hezbollah, Hamas, ISIS, the famine in Yemen. There are probably 10 major problems facing the Middle East and Israel doesn’t have anything to do with any of them. Just about every month since then in the Middle East session I have spoken about something other than Israel [and] what used to be a monthly Israel-bashing session, now at least has more balance. …

Before I arrived at the U.N., like most Americans, I knew what the capital of Israel was. To be more clear, I knew that Jerusalem was, is, and will always be the capital of Israel. … This was not something that was created by the location of an embassy. This is not something that was created by an American decision. America did not make Jerusalem Israel’s capital. What President Trump did, to his great credit, was recognize a reality that American presidents had denied for too long. … Sometime in the future, the day will come when the whole world recognizes that fact. In the meantime, I hope to be there and join our great Ambassador David Friedman on the day when we open our brand-new American embassy in Jerusalem. …

Some people accuse us of favoritism towards Israel. First of all, there’s nothing wrong with showing favoritism toward an ally. That’s what being an ally is all about.

But this is really not about favoritism. In all that we’re doing, whether it’s the embassy decision or UNESCO, or what we’re doing with UNWRA — don’t even get me started on that one — our approach on Israel is tied together by one major idea, the idea that runs through all of it is the simple concept that Israel must be treated like any other normal country.

We will continue to demand that Israel not be treated like some sort of temporary, provisional entity.

It cannot be the case that only one country in the world doesn’t get to choose its capital city. It cannot be the case that the U.N. Human Rights Council has a standing agenda item for only one country. It cannot be the case that only one set of refugees throughout the world is counted in a way that causes the number to grow forever. It cannot be the case that in an organization with 193 countries, the United Nations spends half of its time attacking only one country. We will not accept it any longer.

And you know what? That demand is actually a demand for peace. The U.N.’s bias against Israel has long undermined peace by encouraging an illusion that Israel will just simply go away. Israel’s not going away. When the world recognizes that, then peace becomes possible.

It becomes possible because all sides will be dealing with realities, not fantasies, and when we deal with realities, then reasonable negotiated compromises can prevail over absolutist demands.