By standing aside at the end of its term and allowing the United Nations to indulge its obsessive anti-Israel compulsion unobstructed, the Obama administration hoped it had set the tone for future American administrations. The move had a far-reaching effect, but surely not in the way the Obama White House hoped. United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley has demonstrated in her short time at Turtle Bay the moral competence and courage her predecessor lacked. Haley’s laudable mission is to tell the truth about America’s enemies and its adversaries. Her refusal to tolerate this institution’s fanatical preoccupation with Israel is among her most noble efforts in a nascent diplomatic career.
The disgust Ambassador Haley felt when she left her first monthly Security Council meeting on Middle East issues in February was evident in her voice. Haley presumably expected the Security Council would focus on issues that had something to do with the myriad threats to global peace. She was apparently surprised to learn that the Council regards Israel as the greatest threat to stability not just in the Middle East but globally.
“I am here to say the United States will not turn a blind eye to this anymore,” Haley said. “I am here to underscore to the ironclad support of the United States for Israel. I am here to emphasize that the United States is determined to stand up to the U.N.’s anti-Israel bias.”
In her speech, she attacked the Obama administration’s misguided decision to abstain from a resolution condemning Israeli settlement expansion (80 percent of which has occurred in blocs on the West Bank that would be ceded to Israel in any conceivable peace deal). She further noted that the U.N. has privileged Palestinian issues over the threats posed by North Korea’s nuclear program, the chemical war and civilian slaughter in Syria, and Iran’s support for terror and militias that are active across the Middle East. “The prejudiced approach to Israeli-Palestinian issues does the peace process no favors, and it bears no relationship to the reality of the world around us,” Haley continued. “The double standards are breathtaking.”
Old habits die hard, and the United Nations did not take the hint. So the Trump administration issued another shot across the institution’s bow when, in February, the administration entertained the prospect of withdrawing from the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. The fact that the council is itself infested with human rights abusers and is myopically focused on Israel justifies America’s departure. Not only would such a move be ethical, but it might also help the UN to come to terms with its crippling fixation. The Human Rights Council was the successor to the UN’s Human Rights Commission, which sacrificed all of its authority by becoming a hypocritical cesspit of anti-Israel sentiment before its dissolution in 2006.
“What is the goal of the Human Rights Council when they allow Cuba and China to serve on those?” Haley pondered. “They are basically protecting their own interests, while they’re going after other countries to make sure they give them a hard time. And so, do we want to be a part of that?”
Perhaps the most promising display of righteousness occurred this week when Ambassador Haley condemned the repulsive report issued by the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). The report, issued by a group based in Beirut comprising 18 Arab nations—including the non-existent “state of Palestine”—accused Israel of imposing apartheid on the Arabs in Judea and Samaria. Among the report’s authors was former special UN rapporteur Richard Falk, whose anti-Israel prejudice is matched by few. Falk has praised terrorist organizations like Hamas, likening them to the French resistance, excused the targeting of Israeli Jews in attacks, and claimed that U.S. officials have given rise to “conspiratorial explanations” for the 9/11 attacks. The report is so obviously detached from reality that even the United Nations Secretary-General’s office refused to endorse its findings.
“The United States is outraged by the report,” read a statement from Haley. “The United Nations Secretariat was right to distance itself from this report, but it must go further and withdraw the report altogether.”
She added: “That anti-Israel propaganda would come from a body whose membership nearly universally does not recognize Israel is unsurprising.” It is a sad commentary on the recent history of the United Nations that displays of basic morality are in such short supply. That’s in part why Haley’s defenses of Israel from a depraved institution like the United Nations are so refreshing.
Haley’s ascension to the post of UN ambassador represents a repudiation of the Obama administration’s approach to creating “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel, but not a solitary one. Barack Obama’s efforts to remake the Middle East and rehabilitate Iran had the unintended effect of drawing Israel closer to its Sunni Arab-dominated neighbors. The Trump administration’s renewed commitment to Israel ensures that the Jewish State is less isolate than ever, and never has the Palestinian question been less relevant to the matter of Middle East peace. Ambassador Haley and the Trump administration deserve praise for helping to strengthen the Middle East’s only democracy, but they couldn’t have done it without Barack Obama.