Where Does Nikki Haley, Trump's Pick for UN Envoy, Stand on Israel?

Though she has limited foreign policy experience, Haley is a vocal opponent of the Iran deal and the BDS movement.

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South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley speaks at a 2016 National Lawyers Convention sponsored by the Federalist Society in Washington, DC on November 18, 2016.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley speaks at a 2016 National Lawyers Convention sponsored by the Federalist Society in Washington, DC on November 18, 2016. Credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP

From pioneering anti-BDS legislation to skewering Obama's Iran deal, Nikki Haley, the South Carolina governor said to have accepted Donald Trump's nomination for United Nations ambassador, seems to have a lot in common politically with Israel's right-wing leaders.

Under her leadership, South Carolina became one of the first two states to enact legislation outlawing the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel (the other was Illinois).

The South Carolina measure which Haley signed into law last year doesn't specify Israel by name but more generally prevents public entities from contracting with businesses engaging in the “boycott of a person or an entity based in or doing business with a jurisdiction with whom South Carolina can enjoy open trade.”

Law Number H3583 further bars "the state or a political subdivision of the state from accepting a proposal from or procuring goods or services from a business which engages in a boycott of a person or an entity based on race, color, religion, gender or national origin.”

In January, Haley championed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's objections to the 2014 Iran deal in the Republican Party's official response to President Barack Obama's last State of the Union.

While not mentioning Israel by name, Haley said that were the GOP to control the White House, “we would make international agreements that were celebrated in Israel and protested in Iran, not the other way around."

Haley, a daughter of Indian immigrants and a voice for ethnic tolerance, is the first minority and first woman named to Trump's cabinet. The post of UN ambassador was elevated to cabinet status by the Eisenhower administration, but had not been an official cabinet post in either George W. Bush or H. W. Bush administrations.

Haley was a little-known state representative when she ran for governor in 2010, becoming the first woman in South Carolina to hold that post. Her appointment comes despite her opposition to Trump's candidacy through much of the campaign, with Haley backing his contender Marco Rubio.

American media reports were quick to point out her lack of direct foreign policy experience, though Haley has had her share of diplomatic dealings as governor. In 2015 she was praised nationally for leading an effort to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina state capitol after the killings of nine black churchgoers in Charleston.

During the Republican primary campaign she condemned Trump for not disavowing the support of white supremacist group Ku Klux Klan and one of its former leaders, David Duke. In her rebuttal to Obama's State of the Union address, Haley called for tolerance on immigration and civility in politics in what some saw as a rebuke of Trump.

"During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices," she said. "We must resist that temptation."

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