What Does Nikki Haley Have to Say About Israel?

13 quotes from the U.S. ambassador and AIPAC darling about the UN Security Council's 'obsession' with Israel, international 'bullying' of the Jewish state, and the similarities between Indian and Israeli cultures

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting with U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley in Jerusalem, June 2017.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting with U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley in Jerusalem, June 2017.Credit: GPO / Amos Ben Gershom
Adrian Hennigan
Adrian Hennigan

While U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations have invariably offered their backing to Israel at the UN, Nikki Haley has seemingly made the Israeli cause a personal hobbyhorse.

Since becoming the U.S.’ permanent UN representative in January 2017, Haley has frequently criticized the "scapegoating" of Israel at the world body. So it should come as no surprise that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is meeting with Haley in New York on Thursday – one more friendly, right-wing American ally before he returns to face his domestic woes in Jerusalem. 

Writing about Haley's acclaimed debut AIPAC speech in March 2017, Haaretz columnist Chemi Shalev said it wasn’t hard to "understand the secrets of her charm, at least for the Jews. Haley isn’t your standard white Republican male, but the daughter of Indian immigrants who tasted discrimination and abuse during her childhood. She is a true conservative, perhaps, but one who has weaned herself off the rigid ideology she embraced when she started out in politics.”

The 46-year-old ambassador's status as AIPAC’s darling was confirmed this week when she began her speech Monday by noting, “When I come to AIPAC, I am with friends. And at the UN, we don’t usually have very many friends.”

When Haley was chosen as U.S. President Donald Trump’s UN pick in November 2016, Haaretz ran an article asking where she stood on Israel. It highlighted her backing of an anti-BDS law while she was governor of South Carolina and her criticism of the Iran nuclear deal, but beyond that she was an unknown quantity.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley speaking at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, March 5, 2018.Credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP

Here are 13 quotes from Haley – born to Sikh-Indian immigrants in Bamberg, South Carolina, in 1972 – about the Jewish state (and good luck trying to find any negative comments about Israel from her)...

On her connection to Israel

“I have seen so many similarities between the Israeli culture and the Indian culture. We’re very close-knit. We love our families. We have a strong work ethic. We believe in professionalism and philanthropy and giving back. It’s very true. So that’s all the good things. We’re aggressive. We’re stubborn. And we don’t back down from a fight.”
AIPAC Policy Conference, March 2017

Singing Israel’s praises

“Israel has been forced to live under constant security threats like virtually no other country in the world. It should not have to live that way. And yet, Israel has overcome those burdens. It is a thriving country, with a vibrant economy that contributes much to the world in the name of technology, science, and the arts.”
UN Security Council session, February 2018

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley at a session of the UN Security Council, February 20, 2018. President Donald Trump's special adviser, Jared Kushner, and Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt sit behind her.Credit: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

On the UN’s approach to Israel

“I went to Israel [in June 2017] to see firsthand the country the United Nations spends half its time on. Unfortunately, I’m not kidding – it’s ridiculous. It seems like the rough breakdown at the UN is half the time on Israel and half the time on the other 192 countries.”
Israeli-American Council, November 2017

On Israel’s approach to the UN

“I’ve often wondered why, in the face of such hostility, Israel has chosen to remain a member of this body. And then I remember that Israel has chosen to remain in this institution because it’s important to stand up for yourself. Israel must stand up for its own survival as a nation; but it also stands up for the ideals of freedom and human dignity that the United Nations is supposed to be about.”
Ahead of Security Council session on U.S.’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, December 2017

On the Security Council’s approach to Israel

“The Security Council is supposed to discuss how to maintain international peace and security. But at our meeting on the Middle East, the discussion was not about Hezbollah’s illegal build-up of rockets in Lebanon. It was not about the money and weapons Iran provides to terrorists. It was not about how we defeat ISIS. It was not about how we hold [Syrian President] Bashar Assad accountable for the slaughter of hundreds and thousands of civilians. No, instead, the meeting focused on criticizing Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East.”
Press conference after attending first Security Council meeting, February 2017

On bullying and bias against Israel at the UN

“Nowhere has the UN’s failure been more consistent and more outrageous than in its bias against our close ally Israel.”
Senate Confirmation Hearing, January 2017

“The days of Israel bashing are over.”
AIPAC Policy Conference, March 2017

“If there’s anything I have no patience for, it’s bullies – and the UN was being such a bully to Israel because they could.”
Speaking to Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, June 2017

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley during a visit to the Guatemalan Naval Special Forces base in Puerto San Jose, Guatemala, March 1, 2018.Credit: Stringer/Reuters

“We will not tolerate a situation that a world body of 198 countries can spend half their time attacking one country: Israel. What used to be a monthly Israel-bashing session now at least has more balance. But we’re never gonna put up with bullying.”
AIPAC Policy Conference, March 2018

On the Western Wall and Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

“I don’t know what the policy of the [U.S.] administration is, but I believe the Western Wall is part of Israel and I think that that is how we’ve always seen it and that’s how we should pursue it – we’ve always thought the Western Wall was part of Israel.”
Interview on Christian Broadcasting Network, May 2017

“The capital should be Jerusalem and the embassy should be moved to Jerusalem, because [Israel’s] government is in Jerusalem. So much of what goes on is in Jerusalem. We have to see that for what it is.”
Same interview on CBN, May 2017

On Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' attack on Israel

“[Abbas] called for suspending recognition of Israel. He invoked an ugly and fictional past, reaching back to the 17th century, to paint Israel as a colonialist project engineered by European powers. A speech that indulges in outrageous and discredited conspiracy theories is not the speech of a person with the courage and the will to seek peace.”
Speaking at Security Council, January 2018

On the Iran nuclear deal

“We would make international agreements that were celebrated in Israel and protested in Iran, not the other way around.”
During Republican response to President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address, January 2016

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