Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley announced on 14 February that she plans to campaign to be the Republican candidate for the 2024 US presidential election. Her campaign was launched formally in her home state. Given her history of support for Israel, her bid for the White House will clearly see her as Israel’s preferred option.
Haley’s diplomatic career began when she was picked by former US President Donald Trump to represent the US at the UN. It was there that she was vocal in advocating the inhumane Israeli occupation of Palestine and justifying Israel’s aggression against the Palestinians and their rights.
“It’s a new day for Israel at the United Nations,” Haley told the World Jewish Congress Plenary Assembly in New York in 2017, just weeks after her appointment. “As long as I am America’s representative at the UN, I am going to stand for human rights and I am going to stand for the truth.” She explained boldly her own definition of human rights and truth as she told the 600 delegates from more than 90 countries, “That means I am going to stand for Israel. The days of Israel bashing are over.”
Two months later, she was welcomed warmly in Israel, where she told Israeli officials that all that she was doing at the UN was defending the truth. “And if there’s anything I have no patience for is bullies, and the UN was being such a bully to Israel because it can be.”
She was thanked by the then — as he is again — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Thank you for all your help and standing up for Israel, standing up for the truth, which is standing up for America… People appreciate truth.”
Former Israeli President Reuven Rivlin told her that she is a “dear friend” of Israel. “With your support, we see the beginning of a new era. Israel is no longer alone at the UN. Israel is no longer the UN’s punch bag.”
In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) on 16 May 2017, Haley urged her boss Trump to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. “The capital should be Jerusalem and the embassy should be moved to Jerusalem, because [Israel’s] government is in Jerusalem. So much of what goes on is in Jerusalem. We have to see that for what it is.”
In December that year, she turned her words into action when she vetoed a vote at the UN Security Council which aimed to make null and void Trump’s decision to relocate the embassy. Prior to this, she was very critical of Barak Obama’s administration for not vetoing UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which condemned Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories as illegal. “Given the chance to vote again,” she told the council, “I can say with complete confidence, we would vote no and exercise our veto power.”
During the UN meeting on the US relocation of its embassy, Haley intimidated member states and threatened to take harsh measures against them if they voted against the relocation of the embassy. She threatened to cut aid, for example, and defund key programmes.
On Palestine Nakba Day, 15 May 2018, Israeli occupation forces killed at least 63 Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip and wounded hundreds more, even as dignitaries gathered in Jerusalem for the opening of the US Embassy in the occupied city. This was criticised by many international bodies, including the UN during a meeting held to discuss the issue. Haley blasted the UN meeting as “one-sided” and stormed out of the room when the Palestinian representative addressed the UN member states. She said that Israel has the right to defend itself in any way that it wants.
During her time at the UN, she mobilised efforts to stop US funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Her efforts bore fruit, and she also succeeded in blocking former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad from being chosen as UN envoy to Libya. She also led the US withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council over claims that it was targeting Israel.
As governor of South Carolina, in 2015 she was the first of her counterparts across the US to agree to legislation criminalising the peaceful Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. House Representative Alan Clemmons, who pioneered the legislation, commended Governor Haley for signing the bill so swiftly, reported the Jerusalem Post.
It seems that Haley’s support for the Israeli occupation and bigotry is definitely anti-Palestinian, and is unlimited in its scope. After she announced her ambitions to be in the White House, former Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, tweeted: “Nikki is a true friend of Israel. I have no doubt that she will always stand by our side. Likewise, Israel will always be the closest ally of the US. Good luck Nikki!” That confirms more than anything that Nikki Haley will be Israel’s candidate of choice for the US presidency.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.