UNITED NATIONS –- US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Wednesday slammed the BDS movement, saying efforts to boycott Israel make “no sense” and have nothing to do with “any reasonable definition of justice.”
Haley was the keynote speaker at the second annual “Ambassadors Against BDS” in the Security Council.
Since taking her post at the world body, she has quickly become a favorite of the pro-Israel community.
She’d already wowed the attendees at this week’s AIPAC policy conference, and the 2,000 people attending the UN event were surely hoping for more of the same.
Indeed, as Haley entered the hall, diplomats, students, and organizers snapped photos of her in a manner worthy of the paparazzi. Her remarks to the UN that “the days of Israel bashing are over” were fresh on people’s minds.
“If friendship and tone can translate into action, that will be the thing,” said Shahar Azani, StandWithUs’s executive director for the Northeast region.
And she did not disappoint.
“The effort to delegitimize the state of Israel being waged on college campuses and the anti-Israel obsession at the UN are one in the same. They both seek to deny Israel’s right to exist,” Haley said.
“They are both efforts to intimidate her friends and embolden her enemies. They are both extensions of an ancient hatred,” she said.
“And how tragic is it that of all countries in the world to condemn for human rights violations, these voices choose to single out Israel. We should boycott North Korea. We should sanction Iran. We should divest from Syria. Not Israel. It makes absolutely no sense. And it has no connection to any reasonable definition of justice.”
“You can let them [those in support of BDS] know that the United States has Israel’s back,” Haley said.
Haley’s comments came at a time when there has been a perceptible shift in attitude toward Israel, and more overt support for Israel from the US.
“There is a new approach and it’s being heard in the halls of the UN. Indeed, we have seen a lot of legislation since the first conference; 17 states have enacted anti-BDS legislation and we are seeing more groups fighting back against BDS,” Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told The Times of Israel.
He noted that Haley’s efforts precede her work at the UN.
Haley was lauded for being the first US governor to enact legislation against BDS, and also for being one of the first states to offer ‘I Stand With Israel’ license plates for sale.
“Thank you Ambassador Haley for recognizing the dangers of BDS and for being the first US governor to sign legislation against BDS. And thank you Ambassador Haley for the strong stance taken by the US for condemning all forms of anti-Semitism,” Danon said.
In his own summation of the event, Danon added, “We are here today with a simple message for those who seek to harm the Jewish state and the Jewish people. We will keep fighting until we eliminate BDS completely, from the campuses to the UN, and we will keep fighting until anti-Semitism is finally defeated,” Danon added.
Recent months have also seen other efforts to counter BDS in the US. In the US Congress for example, Republican Senator Rob Portman and Democratic Senator Ben Cardin in the Senate as well as Democratic Representative Juan Vargas and Republican Representative Peter Roskam in the House introduced the Israel Anti-Boycott Act.
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Monday urged Congress to swiftly pass the bill. In a joint statement, Chairman Stephen M. Greenberg and Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein said the legislation is necessary to fight the UN Human Rights Council’s persistent assault on Israel’s legitimacy.
“This bipartisan legislation is urgently needed to reinforce our country’s commitment to ensuring that Israel is treated fairly and attacks on Israel at the UN and by the BDS movement will not succeed. By prohibiting boycotts or requests for boycotts imposed by international governmental organizations against Israel, the Israel Anti-Boycott Act will add a significant tool to similar bans already imposed by legislation adopted with bipartisan majorities in Congress,” the statement said.