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Winds of Change at the UN

May 8, 2017
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A New US Administration

“As you know, I had an exceptionally warm meeting with President Trump last month. I want to thank the President for his strong support for Israel…The administration is showing its commitment to Israel by turning those words into policies. You see that reflected, you see that expressed in Ambassador Haley’s standing up for what’s right for Israel and the truth at the United Nations…”

Security council meeting
(Photo: UN/Eskinder Debebe)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,addressing AIPAC Policy Conference

“You know, 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. And 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.”

So to answer the question on what can we do at the UN, we can do a lot. The power of your voice is an amazing thing. So one, changing the culture of the UN is very important. And the way you change the culture of the UN is 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.

Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the UN (Photo: Mark Garten)

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. So how are we kicking? We’re kicking by, number one, putting everybody on notice, saying that 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.

Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the UN, addressing the AIPAC Policy Conference

“Ambassador Haley and the Trump administration have changed the rules of the game at the UN, and the results have reverberated throughout the organization. We intend to implement real and palpable change together with our friends at the American Mission.”

Danny Danon, Israeli Ambassador to the UN speaking to JNS.org

At the UN Human Rights Council

Danny Danon, Israeli Ambassador to the UN (Photo: Rick Bajornas)

Ten years ago, the UNHRC put in place Agenda Item 7, a permanent agenda item, which mandates that Israeli human rights abuses against the Palestinians be debated at every meeting. No other nation is singled out in this way as all other human rights issues are discussed under Agenda Item 4.

“Today we are putting the Human Rights Council on notice. If things do not change, in the future we will adopt a policy of voting against all resolutions concerning Israel’s conduct in the occupied Syrian and Palestinian territories…According to the [Middle East] Quartet’s report last year, there were 250 terrorist attacks, leading to the deaths of at least 30 Israelis. Yet neither ‘terrorism’ nor ‘incitement’ were a focus of this week’s council discussions and resolutions. This is not acceptable.”

“Nowhere is the disproportionate focus on Israel starker and more absurd than in the case of today’s resolution on the occupation of Syria’s Golan. Syria’s regime butchers and murders its people on a daily basis. But it is not Syria that is a permanent standing item on the council’s agenda; it is Israel.”

UK Ambassador Julian Braithwaite addressing the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC)

“The United States also remains deeply troubled by the Council’s consistent unfair and unbalanced focus on one democratic country, Israel. No other nation is the focus of an entire agenda item. How is that a sensible priority? The obsession with Israel… is the largest threat to the Council’s credibility. It limits the good we can accomplish by making a mockery of this Council. The United States will oppose any effort to delegitimize or isolate Israel—not just in the HRC, but wherever it occurs.”  

Erin Barclay, US deputy assistant secretary of state, addressing the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC)

UN Report Accusing Israel of Apartheid Withdrawn

The UN report titled, “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid,” was published by the UNESCWA (UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia), a UN body based in Beirut and comprised of 18 Arab countries. The report concluded that “available evidence establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid as legally defined in instruments of international law.”

“The United States is outraged by the report. The United Nations secretariat was right to distance itself from this report, but it must go further and withdraw the report altogether. That such anti-Israel propaganda would come from a body whose membership nearly universally does not recognize Israel is unsurprising.”

Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the UN

Rima Khalaf, former UN Under-Secretary General (Photo: Evan Schneider)

“The attempt to smear and falsely label the only true democracy in the Middle East by creating a false analogy is despicable and constitutes a blatant lie. It comes as no surprise that an organization headed by an individual who has called for boycotts against Israel, and compared our democracy to the most terrible regimes of the twentieth century would publish such a report. We call on the Secretary-General to disassociate the UN from this biased and deceitful report.”

Danny Danon, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations

“…the report as it stands does not reflect the views of the secretary-general [Antonio Guterres]”   Stephane Dujarric, UN Spokesman

“The secretary-general issued his orders to me yesterday morning to withdraw the report. I asked him to review his position, but he insisted. Therefore, I submitted to him my resignation from the UN.”    

Rima Khalaf, former UN Under-Secretary General and ESCWA Executive Secretary


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