Nikki Haley, the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, (right) was greeted as a rock star at this year’s AIPAC Washington Conference.
The former governor of South Carolina wowed the crowd of 19,000, in an on-stage interview in which she bragged that she blocked the appointment of former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to a high UN position, solely because he is a Palestinian.
She followed up by bragging that she had persuaded the UN secretary general to withdraw a report which described Israeli policies as apartheid.
The longest and loudest AIPAC crowd roar came when she “brought the house down“ by proclaiming “the days of Israel-bashing at the United Nations are over.”
She declared her intention to end Israel-bashing by metaphorically combining her footwear with her display of strength: “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. . . .Anyone that says you can’t get anything done at the U.N., they need to know there’s a new sheriff in town.”
Ha’aretz reported: “Haley embraced the fierce Republican hostility towards the United Nations and [she] is wielding defense of Israel as the sword with which she will slay the organization”.
Speaking in her southern folksy style, Haley, unwittingly perhaps, exposed an attitude which carries more than just a whiff of condescending racism toward Palestinians.
“So when they decided to try and put a Palestinian in one of the highest positions that had ever been given at the U.N., we said no and we had him booted out. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t a nice man. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t good to America. What it means is, until the Palestinian Authority comes to the table, until the U.N. responds the way they’re supposed to, there are no freebees for the Palestinian Authority anymore.”
Haley, the daughter of immigrant parents from India, grew up in South Carolina. Was there no inner voice from her childhood to tell her just how racist she sounded when she said, until the Palestinians come to the table and do what we tell them to do, there will be “no more freebees” anymore?
My childhood was in Georgia, next door to Haley’s South Carolina. Racist culture remains deeply embedded in both Georgia and South Carolina. In a society which has a history of racism, one way to exercise racial superiority is to demean and dismiss anyone who proposes the end of racist structures.
Haley’s second racially-rancid comment came when she dismissed the “ridiculous” Falk Report, as she incorrectly dubs it, by demeaning one of its co-authors, Princeton Professor Richard A. Falk.
So then they tested us again. And a ridiculous report, the Falk Report, came out. I don’t know who the guy is or what he’s about, but he’s got serious problems. Goes and compares Israel to an apartheid state. So the first thing we do is we call the secretary general and say, this is absolutely ridiculous. You have to pull it. The secretary general immediately pulled the report. And then the director has now resigned.
“They”, from Haley’s perspective, are against us. They “test us” with reports that are “ridiculous”. This is classic colonial racist thinking where “they and us” live in two different realms.
Haley dismisses the “guy” who was behind the apartheid study as someone who has “serious problems”. She has been at her UN post long enough to learn that Richard A. Falk is not just some guy who engages in “Israel-bashing”.
Falk, as Haley should have known, is a UN veteran who was asked by Rima Khalaf, Executive Director of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), (right) to co-author an apartheid study with Professor Virginia Tilley, a professor of political science at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Falk had both the experience and the training that made him the right person to share preparation of the report with Professor Tilley.
On March 26, 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed Falk to a six-year term as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.” Falk replaced South African professor John Dugard who left his post in June 2008 after seven years. Falk’s appointment expired in May 2014. (Wikipedia)
Haley should have been better prepared for her first AIPAC appearance. Her record shows signs of sensitivity in racial matters. She was appropriately lauded for her role in persuading the South Carolina legislature to agree that the Confederate flag was no longer an appropriate banner to wave over the state capitol.
She also has skills as a political orator. She is now gaining experience for future higher office. Some have even touted her as a Republican opponent against Trump in 2020.
If she desires such a future, and plans to continue courting American Jews, she should be aware that the mighty AIPAC is showing signs of wear. By 2020, opposition to Israel among American Jews could escalate to levels that would dramatically shift the U.S. political landscape.
This opposition this year surfaced on the streets of Washington while Haley was being interviewed on AIPAC’s main stage.
Hundreds of young Jewish American activists marched outside of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington.
The activists, who oppose AIPAC’s support for the policies of the current Israeli government on the settlements, carried signs and chanted calls to end the occupation. Some chained themselves to the entrance of the conference center, blocking it.
IfNotNow, a group of young, left-wing American Jews organized the event, which was billed as a “Reclaim, Resist, and Reimagine” rally. Almost 700 people said they would attend on the event’s Facebook page.
Protesters posted photographs and videos on Twitter using the hashtags #ResistAIPAC and #JewishResistance.
If Nikki Haley wants to reach that growing number of resisting American Jews in her future campaigns, she will need an internal shift away from booting Palestinians out of jobs just because they are Palestinians.
She will also need to understand UN history and the valuable role played by Americans like Richard Falk, before she bashes that world body .
She will also need to recognize that her job as UN ambassador is to serve the best interests of her nation and its values, not the interests and illegal apartheid values of a foreign state.
To read Haley’s interview, click here for the full text.
Her full 17-minute interview with Dan Señor is below:
The picture of Nikki Haley at AIPAC in Washington this week is an AP Photo by Jose Luis Magana.