U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said she wants to “change the culture” of the U.N., declaring that the days of “Israel bashing” at the U.N. are over.
“Changing the culture of the U.N. is very important and the way you change the culture of the U.N. is the United States tells them what we’re not going to put up with. We start to change the culture to what we should be talking about and then we actually act on what we say. I wear heels. It’s not for a fashion statement. It’s because if I see something wrong, we’re going to kick them every single time,” Haley said at the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual conference in Washington on Monday evening.
“So how are we kicking? We’re kicking by number one putting everyone on notice, saying, ‘if you have our back, we’re going to have the backs of our friends, but our friends need to have our back too. If you challenge us be prepared for what you’re challenging us for because we will respond.’ The next thing we did is we said the days of Israel bashing are over,” she added.
Haley said there are “a lot of threats” to peace and security right now.
“But you’re not going to take our number one democratic friend in the Middle East and beat up on them and I think what you’re seeing is they’re all backing up a little bit. The Israel bashing is not as loud. They didn’t know exactly what I meant outside of giving the speech so we showed them. So when they decided to try and put a Palestinian in one of the highest positions that had ever been given at the U.N. we said no and we had him booted out,” she said. “That doesn’t mean he wasn’t a nice man; that doesn’t mean he wasn’t good to America. What it means is until the Palestinian authority comes to the table and until the U.N. responds the way they’re supposed to, there are no freebies for the Palestinian Authority anymore.”
Haley also referred to Rima Khalaf, a Jordanian diplomat, resigning from her U.N. post after publishing a report authored by a former United Nations human rights investigator, Richard Falk.
“So then they tested us again when this ridiculous report, the Falk Report, came out. I don’t know who the guy is or what he’s about, but he has got serious problems. He goes and compares Israel to an apartheid state so the first thing we do is we call the secretary general and we say ‘this is ridiculous, you have to pull it.’ The secretary general immediately pulled the report and then the director has now resigned. So for anyone that says you can’t get anything done at the U.N., they need to know there’s a new sheriff in town,” she said.
Haley was specifically asked how the U.S. should hold Iran accountable for the threats it poses.
“It’s concerning and the reason it’s concerning is because when the Iran deal took place, all it did was empower Iran and it empowered Russia and it emboldened Iran to feel like they could get away with more. You can put sanctions on a country – to take sanctions away, it’s very hard to go back and put sanctions back on,” Haley said.
“So what we have said is we’re going to watch them like a hawk and we’re going to make sure that every single thing they do is watched, processed, and dealt with, but my concern is you are seeing a lot of love for the Iran deal in the security council and that’s unfortunate and why that was ever allowed to go, why that was ever passed is beyond me. It’s terrible,” she added.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called the Iran nuclear deal an “unmitigated disaster” that Republicans in Congress were right to oppose.
“We provided billions of dollars in sanctions relief, sent more than a billion dollars in cold-hard cash, and opened up Tehran to the global markets,” he said at the AIPAC conference. “Meanwhile, Iran has stepped up its support for terrorism, increased its human rights abuses, and ramped up its ballistic missile program—all while keeping its sights on a nuclear weapon.”
Ryan said the U.S. should “rigorously enforce” the nuclear deal and hold the Iranians accountable whenever they violate it.
“But that’s not enough. A fatal flaw of this agreement is that, even if Iran cooperates, it provides them with a patient pathway to a nuclear weapons capability. In about 7 years, key restrictions on centrifuge advancement and ballistic missile development begin to sunset and in 9 to 14 years restrictions on uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing mostly disappear. This is unacceptable,” he said. “So we must tighten the screws on Iranian compliance and continue to hit the regime with punishing non-nuclear sanctions for its range of illicit activities.”
Haley told the conference that something like U.N. resolution 2334, which dealt with “Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory occupied since 1967.”
“Basically, what it comes down to is I’m not there to play and what I wanted to make sure of was that the United States started leading again – leading isn’t saying and doing things when it’s comfortable. Leading is saying and doing things when it’s not comfortable, so the goal was have the backs of our allies – never again do what we saw happen with resolution 2334 and make anyone question our support,” Haley said.
“When resolution 2334 happened and the U.S. abstained, the entire country felt a kick in the gut. We had just done something that showed the United States at its weakest point ever – never do we not have the backs of our friends. We don’t have a greater friend than Israel and to see that happen was not only embarrassing, it was hurtful and so what I can tell you is everyone at the United Nations is scared to talk to me about resolution 2334 and I wanted them to know that, look, that happened, but it will never happen again. So to answer the question on what can we do at the U.N., we do a lot. The power of your voice is an amazing thing,” she added.
Ryan referred to the U.S.-Israel relationship as a “strategic partnership” rather than a one-way street.
“These past eight years have been tough. Our friendship has been tested. No single political spat or public disagreement can sever our historic alliance with Israel, but it can erode trust and I think the actions of this past administration damaged this trust but now, it’s time to turn the page,” Ryan said at the conference.
“We have a new president—a president who I’ve gotten to know quite well and let me assure you right here and now: President Trump’s commitment to Israel is sacrosanct. Congress’s commitment to Israel is sacrosanct. We don’t take Israel for granted. We know that this special relationship is central to our national security and we believe that words must always be backed up with real, concrete actions,” he added.
Nicholas Ballasy is a political correspondent and analyst based in Washington, D.C. known for conducting on-camera interviews with an array of national political figures and celebrity activists about the most pressing issues facing the country. His work has been cited by CNN, Fox News, The Drudge Report, NBC News, MSNBC, ABC News, Access Hollywood, Inside Edition, the Washington Post and others.