Nikki shows Trump how to address anti-Semitism

I call your attention to Jennifer Rubin’s column praising Nikki Haley for showing the correct way to address anti-Semitism, a lesson her boss would do well to learn.

Of course, you might say Nikki evidently had help from people who know more about the Mideast and global antipathy toward Israel than she does, to which I’ll say, I certainly hope so. And bless her for having the wisdom to listen to them. And when she spoke them, the words became hers.

Here’s the pertinent part of the column, which quotes freely from Ambassador Haley’s remarks:

Her remarks are worth watching or reading in full, but this was especially effective:

The Security Council is supposed to discuss how to maintain international peace and security. But at our meeting on the Middle East, the discussion was not about Hizballah’s illegal build-up of rockets in Lebanon. It was not about the money and weapons Iran provides to terrorists. It was not about how we defeat ISIS. It was not about how we hold Bashar al-Assad accountable for the slaughter of hundreds and thousands of civilians. No, instead, the meeting focused on criticizing Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East. I am new around here, but I understand that’s how the Council has operated, month after month, for decades. …

Incredibly, the UN Department of Political Affairs has an entire division devoted to Palestinian affairs. Imagine that. There is no division devoted to illegal missile launches from North Korea. There is no division devoted to the world’s number one state-sponsor of terror, Iran. The prejudiced approach to Israeli-Palestinian issues does the peace process no favors. And it bears no relationship to the reality of the world around us.

She further observed, “The double standards are breathtaking. Just a few days ago, the United States sought unsuccessfully to have the Security Council condemn a terrorist attack to Israel, where the terrorist opened fire on people waiting for a bus and then stabbed others. … The statement was blocked. And that’s downright shameful.”

She added, “Israel exists in a region where others call for its complete destruction and in a world where anti-Semitism is on the rise. These are threats that we should discuss at the United Nations as we continue working toward a comprehensive agreement that would end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” (Emphasis added.)

Nikki at UN

12 thoughts on “Nikki shows Trump how to address anti-Semitism

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    I’m bracing myself for the comments from friends who patiently explain to me that one must consider the plight of the Palestinians, and how they NEVER get a hearing, how only Israel’s point of view ever gets acknowledged, and anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism, and so forth….

    … which is the reverse of the actual state of affairs at the U.N.

    And I’ll listen respectfully, and try to answer the same way.

    But at the moment, fired up by Nikki’s speech (which reminds me of Harrison Ford’s speech at the start of “Air Force One,” which will REALLY have some of my friends rolling their eyes), I’m thinking of something else. And forgive me, but it’s another pop-culture reference…

    Did you ever see the film adaptation of John le Carre’s The Little Drummer Girl? Great adaptation of an excellent novel. Read the novel, or see the book, and you’d be filled with empathy for everybody involved in the Mideast tragedy — except those who turn to terrorism. At least, that’s how I was affected. Sadly, it’s a bit hard to find… Netflix, for instance, not only doesn’t stream it, but doesn’t have it on DVD, either.

    Anyway, I’m thinking of this one scene in the movie… Diane Keaton plays an actress who is fully and sincerely (to the extent she actually THINKS about it, which being a typical actress, she doesn’t do so terribly deeply) dedicated to the usual lefty causes. Her flirting with embracing Palestinian terrorism attracts the attention of the Mossad, to the point that the recruit her to work for them. But she remains conflicted, which her case officer welcomes — he wants her passion for the Palestinian cause to shine.

    Her mission is to infiltrate a Palestinian terrorist cell. She does so, and before she’s sent on a mission, she spends time being trained and indoctrinated in Lebanon.

    At one point, questioned about her having been seen with a guy who works for Mossad, she dismisses him as “some greasy little Jew,” or something like that.

    Her handler sternly admonishes her: “Do not speak of Jews like that. We are not anti-Semitic; we are anti-Zionist!”

    She sneers, “Tell me another…” Which was a risky way to play it, but it works. She is accepted…

  2. Doug Ross

    This is an example of one area where you and I will always disagree – on the importance of “experience” in politics. Haley is a great example of someone who used her skills wisely to quickly become adept at the job of Governor. She went from a nobody to a credible leader in a very short period of time. Sure, she made mistakes – but how many times did she make the same mistake twice? Now she’s moved onto a larger stage and likely will use those same skills to eventually position herself for a VP slot down the road.

    As for the content of the message, I liked it. It’s time someone called out the U.N. for what it is – not a peace keeping organization but a political organization which has the impossible task of placating members who are too diverse to expect anything but platitudes.

  3. Phillip

    Despite the flaws of the UN, Doug, the good that it does manage to do in some various places in the world is something the world would be worse off without. I recommend going to the UN website to learn more about the 16 peacekeeping operations going on in the world in places like the Ivory Coast. The really biggest global challenges are difficult to solve via the UN, but that should not cancel out the good that it manages to do when it can get a majority of nations to agree. Then, too, there was the UN role in the Kyoto Protocols, which addresses a problem ultimately a far, far greater to the world than ISIS, Iran, or Bashar Al-Assad.

    As for Haley’s comments, I think they make a lot of sense and the moral logic of her argument is hard to escape. One could even make the point that the double standard she speaks about actually reinforces the hard-right/Netanyahu-ist wing in Israeli politics, making it more hardline about issues like the settlements, etc., or that the UN double standard has done the Palestinian cause no favors in the long run, either.

    The only quibble I would have with her statement is this repeated mantra that “Israel is the one true democracy in the region” which is true enough, and repeated by many. The idea seems to be that being a democracy makes a country somehow incapable of doing anything wrong, somehow makes it OK for a nation to violate international law. Goodness knows the US is a perfect refutation of that view.

    Just as long as it’s understood: criticism of Israeli state policy (or the policies of one particular political party within Israel) is not the same thing as anti-Semitism.

    Also, check out the UN website to see more about the Department of Political Affairs.

    There is a lot more that the Department does than just Palestinian issues. They are dealing with issues around the globe, working in every continent. Haley’s statement is a little misleading in that regard. For example, they are grappling with the Yemen conflict, which DOES (possibly) involve the Iranians. So again, not quite the complete picture from Amb. Bamberg.

    1. bud

      In other words let’s not let the perfect be the enemy of the better. No one would argue that the UN is perfect but over the 70 years it has existed it has certainly been a valuable international forum that has made a difference.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      We’re on the same wavelength, Phillip. I like this in particular: “One could even make the point that the double standard she speaks about actually reinforces the hard-right/Netanyahu-ist wing in Israeli politics.”

      I’m pleased that she could have just spouted a lot of Steve Bannonesque nonsense, and did not. As you say, she stayed within the realm of sound moral logic. Which tells me that in the fragmented disarray of this administration, she’s choosing to listen to the right people.

      And yeah, people misuse the word “democracy” in a lot of contexts. I think what they mean is liberal democracy, but Nikki might have trouble making herself say the word. 🙂

      As we saw in the early 90s after the Soviet Union fell — in the Balkans, for instance — there is such a thing as ILLiberal democracy. Give people the vote, and sometimes they’ll vote for really bad stuff. You need a democracy (or preferably, a republic) that is constrained by something like our Bill of Rights. Something to temper mob rule.

      I’m going to skip right over “Goodness knows the US is a perfect refutation of that view.”

      Bottom line, for me, the U.N. has performed its essential function, which the League of Nations failed to perform: There hasn’t been a World War III. Things have been pretty tense, and we’ve had our proxy wars here and there, but the Big Countries with the Bomb haven’t engaged in total war since the organization was formed…

      1. bud

        I should point that your revered “republic” idea restrained a ‘mob’ that was far more savvy than the nonsensical electoral college. As for Israel, this democracy screed that is regurgitated endlessly by the right is no such thing. West Bank Palestinians have no vote. Perhaps just allowing Jews to vote is Israels version of the electoral college.

    3. Brad Warthen

      I like a thread in which I can agree with both Doug and Phillip. It’s a good day when that happens…

      1. Brad Warthen

        And for that matter — this post was about Nikki and Israel and the UN. It only touches on Trump because Jennifer Rubin contrasted Nikki’s great performance to Trump…

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