It’s always exciting to see strong women in power standing up for right. U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s speech defending Israel today at the U.N. General Assembly was bold, strong and right. As Haley said, America’s decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem does not exclude a two-state solution to the ongoing Middle East conflict. America’s embassy move was supported by former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Ct.) the first Jewish candidate on a major American political party presidential ticket, who this morning shared Haley’s sentiment that the move says nothing about the final boundaries of the city of Jerusalem (e.g. whether the city could be included in Palestinian territory).
As Haley also pointed out, the embassy move is the will of the American people via The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 passed by Congress in 1995. It was passed to fund the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999, overwhelmingly embraced in the U.S. Senate (93–5) and House (374–37). But under waivers signed by Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama, this law hasn’t been enforced.
As Saagar Enjeti from The Daily Caller points out, “The move to Jerusalem of the US embassy was Bill Clinton made Jerusalem a campaign issue in 1992, attacking then-former President George H.W. Bush for having allegedly ‘repeatedly challenged Israel’s sovereignty over a united Jerusalem’ and vowing to move the embassy during his administration.”
And even The New York Times reported, “The morning after claiming the Democratic nomination, Senator Barack Obama spoke to skeptical members of a pro-Israel lobby and made a pledge that some of them found pleasantly surprising: ‘Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.’”
But President Trump rather than paying mere lip service like his predecessors, Trump stepped up. He also signed the waiver in June 2017 before announcing America recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6, 2017. Trump often doesn’t waver, and here that means he didn’t waiver, either.
It would be too easy to accuse critics of the embassy move (along with those 128 U.N. parties voting today to rebuke America) as anti-Semitic, but that wouldn’t fair. Yet fairness doesn’t stop many liberals playing the identity politics game from quickly throwing that accusation around in other contexts.
Haley rightly pointed out that America shoulders a disproportionate cost of running the United Nations, perhaps hinting that the United States might pull back financial support if our strategic goals continue to be stymied by fellow U.N. members. It’s also disappointing that rather than supporting Israel, a beacon of democracy amongst a sea of despotic regimes, the United Nations rejected Israel’s right to sovereignty. Kudos to Haley for standing strong in the face of the “cool kids” taunts.