In confirmation hearings at the Senate on Wednesday, president-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for U.N. ambassador denounced the Obama administration’s “mistreatment” of Israel at the Security Council. At the same time, however, she indicated no major departure from standing U.S. policy, affirming the two-state solution, opposing defunding the U.N., and even conceding that “settlements” could harm prospects for peace.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that “I will not go to New York and abstain when the U.N. seeks to create an international environment that encourages boycotts of Israel,” referring to provision in Resolution 2334 that calls for states “to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the state of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.” Israeli officials have expressed concern it is tantamount to a call for boycott.
“I would never have abstained,” Haley added. “I think that that was the moment where we should’ve told the world how we stand with Israel.”
Haley also said she “absolutely” backs the plan to move the U.S. embassy to Yerushalayim, because that’s what Israel and congressional Republicans want.
However, on other Israel-related issues, Haley kept within the international consensus. Defunding the United Nations is not on her agenda, despite renewed calls for it among Republican leaders.
“I do not believe we need to pull money from the U.N. I do not believe in slash and burn,” she said.
She conceded, though, that “any honest assessment also finds an institution that is often at odds with American national interests and American taxpayers,” and cited the notoriously anti-Israel U.N. Human Rights Council.
Haley stated her support for the two-state solution, a staple of American Mideast diplomacy for decades.
Regarding the issue of Israeli building over the Green Line, Haley told the senators the U.S. can maintain opposition to settlement activity while at the same time opposing anti-Israel action at the U.N.
“I do understand how they think that [settlements] can hinder peace,” she said, “but at the same, I will always stand with Israel.”