Nikki Haley tells AIPAC: At the UN now, ‘there’s a new sheriff in town’

US envoy to UN vows to prevent any repeat of anti-settlement resolution; Paul Ryan rails against Iran, BDS movement

WASHINGTON — US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told AIPAC on Monday evening that she would not allow a repeat of an anti-settlement passing at the UN Security Council, as one did in December when the US, under the leadership of the Obama administration, chose not to utilize its veto power. Resolution 2334 called on Israel to halt all settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, labeling them “illegal.”

“The days of Israel bashing are over” at the UN, Haley vowed, to tumultuous applause.

She spoke of having prevented the appointment of a Palestinian official, former Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad, to a senior UN position, and noted that he may well be a nice man. But “until the Palestinians come to the table” to negotiate peace with Israel, “there are no freebies for the Palestinian Authority any more.”

Haley also referenced the recent withdrawal of a UN group’s report that accused Israel of running an “apartheid” regime over the Palestinians. Her success in having that report withdrawn, she said, showed that “for anyone that says you can’t get anything done at the UN, they need to know there’s a new sheriff in town.”

Haley’s appearance was by far the most rapturously received of any speaker thus far at AIPAC’s annual policy conference, which began on Sunday morning.

On the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, Haley said that all she did was “tell the truth,” in reference to anti-BDS legislation she helped pass when she was governor of South Carolina.

The fight against the BDS movement, she said, “we’re going to continue that and take that to the UN; they need to understand that this is not what we need to be focused on.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan took the stage after Haley on Monday afternoon, railing against Iranian “hegemony” in the region and the BDS movement, which he called an “incarnation of anti-Semitism.”

Ryan said that the US-Israel relationship was strained under the Obama administration but that with Donald Trump as president, “it is time to turn the page.”

“The past eight years have been tough, our friendship has been tested,” Ryan said adding that the actions of the Obama administration “damaged the trust” between Israel and the US.

“But we have a new president,” said Ryan to wild applause,” and “Trump’s commitment to Israel is sacrosanct.”

“Words will be backed up with concrete actions,” Ryan promised.

House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks at the 2017 AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, March 27, 2017. (Screenshot)
House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks at the 2017 AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, March 27, 2017. (Screenshot)

The speaker heavily criticized the US-led nuclear deal reached between Iran and six world powers in 2015, in which Tehran promised to roll back its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

“We must not forget the failures of the past if we want to do better. This deal has been an unmitigated disaster,” he said, adding that it was “long past time we enforce the deal and hold them accountable when they violate it.”

“A fatal flaw in accord is (that) even if Iran cooperates, it provides them a patient path to nuke capability,” said Ryan.

The US must “explore options to fix the fatal flaws in the agreement,” he said, vowing that “all options can and must remain on the table.”

Ryan called Iran a threat to the US, Israel and the Western world, and said that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps should be designated a foreign terror organization by the US.

On the BDS movement, Ryan said it was “nothing short of an incarnation of anti-Semitism,” and that the organization’s goal was to demonize and isolate Israel.

“We saw it at the UN, an organization obsessed with demonizing Israel,” he said, adding that to the UN the US now says: “The Trump administration will not tolerate your anti-Israel bias.”

“The US stands with Israel, now, tomorrow and always,” Ryan concluded.

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