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Nikki Haley Resets America’s Moral Compass at the UN

March 17 2017

From the very beginning of her tenure as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley has forcefully criticized that body’s obsession with condemning Israel and its lack of concern over the horrors in Syria, nuclear proliferation in North Korea, and other weighty issues. She has now decried the most recent attempt to slander the Jewish state, as Noah Rothman writes:

Perhaps the most promising display of righteousness occurred this week when Ambassador Haley condemned the repulsive report issued by the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia. The report, issued by a group based in Beirut comprising eighteen Arab nations—including the non-existent “state of Palestine”—accused Israel of imposing “apartheid” on the Arabs in Judea and Samaria. Among the report’s authors was the former special UN rapporteur Richard Falk, whose anti-Israel prejudice is matched by few. Falk has praised terrorist organizations like Hamas, likening them to the French resistance [during World War II], excused the targeting of Israeli Jews in attacks, and [trafficked in 9/11 conspiracy theories]. The report is so obviously detached from reality that even the United Nations secretary-general’s office refused to endorse its findings. . . .

Haley’s ascension to the post of UN ambassador represents a repudiation of the Obama administration’s approach of creating “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel—and not a solitary one. Barack Obama’s efforts to remake the Middle East and rehabilitate Iran had the unintended effect of drawing Israel closer to its Sunni Arab-dominated neighbors. The Trump administration’s renewed commitment to Israel ensures that the Jewish state is less isolated than ever.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Israel & Zionism, Nikki Haley, U.S. Foreign policy, United Nations

A New Book Tries, and Fails, to Understand the West Bank’s Jews

Aug. 22 2017

In City on a Hilltop, Sara Yael Hirschhorn seeks to explain Israel’s settler movement, rejecting the common misconception that its members are fanatics uniformly motivated by religious zeal and ferocious nationalism. Nonetheless, writes Evelyn Gordon, Hirschhorn fails to look past her own political assumptions:

[R]eaders emerge from [the book] with no clear understanding of what drives the settlement movement. This isn’t surprising, since Hirschhorn admits in her conclusion that she herself has no such understanding: “After discussions with dozens of Jewish-American immigrants in the occupied territories, I still struggled to understand how they saw themselves and their role within the Israeli settlement enterprise.”

Consequently, she’s produced an entire book about settlers that virtually ignores the twin beliefs at the heart of their enterprise: Israel has a right to be in the territories, whether based on religious and historical ties, international law, or both, and Israel has a need to be there, whether for religious and historical reasons, security ones, or both.

This glaring omission seems to stem largely from her inability to take such beliefs seriously. In one noteworthy example, she writes, “While their religio-historical claims to the Gush Etzion area are highly contentious, many settler activists over the past 50 years have asserted Biblical ties to the region.” But what exactly is contentious about that assertion? No serious person would deny that many significant events in the Bible took place in what is now called the West Bank. . . . One could argue that this doesn’t justify Jews living there today, but if you can’t acknowledge that this area is Judaism’s religious and historical heartland, and that many Jews consequently believe that giving it up would tear the heart out of the Jewish state, you can’t understand a major driver of the settlement movement.

Similarly, Hirschhorn pays scant attention to the security arguments for retaining the West Bank, and none at all to Israel’s strong claim to the area under international law. . . . The result is that while most of her settlers don’t come off as fanatics, they often do come off as simpletons—people who became “colonialist occupiers” for no apparent reason, without ever really thinking about it.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Israel & Zionism, Settlements, West Bank