Haley: Abstention From UN Resolution Condemning Israel Was a ‘Terrible Mistake’
By Barbara Hollingsworth | January 19, 2017, 12:56 EST
(CNSNews.com) – South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, President-elect’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was sharply critical of outgoing Ambassador Samantha Power’s decision to abstain from voting on a Security Council resolution in December condemning Israeli settlements, calling it a “terrible mistake” and a “sad day for America.”
“As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th,” Trump tweeted after the Dec. 23, 2016 vote.
“U.N. Resolution 2334 was a terrible mistake, making a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority even harder to achieve,” Haley testified during her confirmation hearing Wednesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“Nowhere has the U.N.’s failure been more consistent and more outrageous than in its bias against our close ally, Israel,” she told committee members.
“In the General Assembly session just completed, the U.N. adopted 20 resolutions against Israel, and only six targeting the rest of the world’s countries combined,” she pointed out. “In the past ten years, the Human Rights Council has passed 62 resolutions condemning the reasonable actions Israel takes to defend its security.
“Meanwhile, the world’s worst human rights abusers in Syria, Iran and North Korea received far fewer condemnations. This cannot continue.
“It is in this context that the events of Dec. 23rd were so damaging. Last month’s passage of U.N. Resolution 2334 was a terrible mistake, making a peace agreement with the Israelis and the Palestinians even harder to achieve. The mistake was compounded by the location in which it took place in light of the U.N.’s long history of anti-Israel bias.
“I was the first governor in America to sign legislation combatting anti-Israel Boycott, Divest and Sanctions for the BDS movement. I will not go to New York and abstain when the U.N. seeks to create an international environment that encourages boycotts of Israel.
“In fact, I pledge to do this: I will never abstain when the United Nations takes any action that comes in direct conflict with the interests and values of the United States,” Haley vowed.
The two-term governor also said that she supports moving the Israeli capital from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Promising to take “an outsider’s look” at the U.N., Haley, who appeared poised and confident throughout the three-hour hearing, told the committee that she is “prepared to speak up on anything that goes against American values. And American values are something we should talk loudly about, all the time, to all countries.”
“At the U.N. as elsewhere, the United States is the indispensable voice of freedom. It is time that we once again find that voice,” she stated.
The U.S. currently provides 22 percent of the U.N.’s budget, Haley noted. Although she does not believe in “slash and burn” policies that would withhold funding if the U.S. doesn’t get its way, she said she is willing to take a hard look at the U.N.’s organizations and activities and ask: “What good is being achieved by this disproportionate contribution? Are we getting what we pay for?”
In some cases, Haley noted, “the U.N. does more harm than good.” For example, U.N. peacekeeping forces have been accused of sexual abuse and spreading disease in areas they are supposed to be protecting.
Trump told her he wants “a stronger voice and a higher profile” at the U.N., she told committee members.
“I have no problem calling people out,” she said.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) told Haley she was “disturbed” by Trump’s tweet that the U.N. was “just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time,” and asked her about the “potential real negative consequences” from the president-elect’s previous comments and tweets about the U.N. and the NATO Alliance.
Haley, who was an outspoken critic of Trump during his presidential campaign, responded that “my job at the National Security Council will be to show him we can make progress at the U.N.”
“I love to fix things,” Haley told the committee.
The first female governor of South Carolina says she does not support lifting the Obama administration’s sanctions against Russia, adding that “I don’t think we can trust them.”
The U.S. “should stand up to any country that attempts to interfere with our system,” she said.
Asked by Democrats if she shares the view that climate change is a security threat to the U.S., she replied: “It’s one of the threats, yes, not the most important one, but it’s on the table.”
Haley, the daughter of Indian immigrants who attended the hearing, was introduced by South Carolina’s two Republican senators, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Tim Scott, who both praised her for her leadership during last year’s historic flooding in South Carolina and her handling of the controversy surrounding the removal of the Confederate flag over the statehouse nine days after a mass shooting at a black church in Charleston.
“Bringing people together under the worst conditions is something she specializes in,” Scott said.
“I was most impressed to see Gov. Haley’s passion for U.S. values and her statements on how she sees the role of the U.N. are very encouraging.” said Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-MD), indicating that Senate Democrats will not try to derail her nomination.