“There’s a new sheriff in town,” said US Ambassador to UN Nikki Haley at the AIPAC convention last week.
Haley’s quarter-of-an-hour talk at the convention was a rather unbelievably bellicose, chauvinist, bigoted and racist run. If you look at the words, you could easily think it was Trump. But with the external finesse, with the supposedly witty quips, Haley managed to pack her horror show inside a cloak that looked pretty. And for Zionists, cloaking racism and chauvinism inside an attractive cloak is very important. It needs to look good, not coarse. It needs to sell. So Haley managed to radiate a charm that got the AIPAC crowd cheering and giving countless standing ovations. As the host said in the end (confirmed by crowd cheers), these people could easily have listened to her for hours, days, weeks…
Haley also won the hearts of the AIPAC Jews by relating her background, with its supposed goods and bads, to ‘Israeli culture’ (and by that she obviously means ‘Jews’). Noting that she was a daughter of Indian parents, she noted
“so many similarities between Indian culture and Israeli culture. We’re very close knit, strong work ethic, we believe in professionalism and philanthropy, in giving back”…[ovations and warm smile from host]…”it’s very true”.
But that was too pink. You need to put in some ‘chutzpah’ to bond with Jews, certainly with those conservatives who support Israeli belligerence. So she inserted
“So that’s all the good things… We’re aggressive, we’re stubborn and we don’t back down from fight!”
They loved it. She managed to affirm the chutzpah in such a charming way. Now we can regard Israeli belligerence and Zionist state-terror as a mere ‘fight’. A mere chutzpah by extension.
But there was much more than just ‘culture’ in Haley’s talk. Her political stance was uncompromisingly hawkish.
She bemoaned the fact of the US abstention (rather than veto) on UN Security Council Resolution 2334 stating that Israeli settlements are a flagrant violation of international law, although it simply stated the obvious. She promised a “never again” on that, repeatedly, as if it was a Holocaust, promising that “the days of Israel bashing are over”. She vowed to defend Israel with her heels:
“I wear heels. It’s not for a fashion statement. It’s because if I see something wrong, we’re going to kick ’em every single time”.
On the Iran deal, she said:
“All it did was it empowered Iran and it empowered Russia. And it emboldened Iran to feel like it could get away with more. You’re seeing a lot of love for the Iran deal in the [UN] Security Council, and that’s unfortunate why that was even allowed to go through, why that was ever passed is beyond me. I mean it was terrible”.
Haley unfurled her racism when she literally boasted about her recent blocking of the appointment of former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (whom Gideon Levy marks as “the most moderate Palestinian on earth”) from being appointed as head of the UN political mission in Libya – simply because he is Palestinian:
“So when they [UN] tried to put a Palestinian at one of the highest positions given at the UN, we said ‘no’, and we had him booted out”.
Imagine that. She literally boycotted a Palestinian just because he’s Palestinian. And what language. How would Haley respond if an Israeli were blocked in such a way, on such a basis? It would no doubt be just awfully anti-Semitic. She tried to explain away her racism and bigotry in the following:
“That doesn’t mean he wasn’t a nice man, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t good to America. What it means is, until the Palestinian Authority comes to the table, until the UN responds the way they’re supposed to, there are no freebees for the Palestinian Authority anymore”. [ovations]
Of course when it comes to boycotting of Israel she has a completely different stance:
“I think we have to show how absurd it [BDS] is…. If you want to boycott North Korea, I get it. If you want to have a divestment and pull something away from Syria, do it…. But Israel??”
Haley’s face at this point, when saying ‘but Israel??’ (minute 15:23), is a mixture of bewilderment with a hint of disgust, as if saying ‘how could anyone possibly even conceive such a thing??’.
Her next boasting was about how she supposedly ‘booted out’ UN Under-Secretary General Rima Khalaf who was also head of the UN agency which had commissioned the recent report on Israeli Apartheid. Here Haley says:
“So then they [UN] tested us again. And a ridiculous report came out, the [Richard] Falk [and Virginia Tilley] report. I don’t know who the guy is or what he’s about, but he’s got serious problems…” [massive laughter in audience, including host]. “…goes and compares Israel to an Apartheid state. So the first thing we do is we call the Secretary General and say ‘this is absolutely ridiculous, you have to pull it’. The Secretary General immediately pulled the report and then, the director has now resigned!” [cheers from the crowd and a thumbs up from the host].
The implicit operative message of all this to Israel was: build on, and we’ll watch your back. We’ll kick anyone who opposes you.
As if running a script, the Israeli government approved a new Jewish settlement just a couple of days later. This was a move that was not made for over 20 years. In these recent decades, Israel was mostly expanding its ‘settlement blocs’. The recent move, promised almost a year ago, uses the pretext of the recent Amona Jewish settlement evacuation as a kind of ‘relocation’. The Amona evacuation sanctioned by the Supreme Court was considered a setback for the settlement enterprise. But the dramatic setting of the evacuation of a few dozen families, carried with it fruits too: Israel passed its ‘theft-law’ which retroactively legalizes Jewish settlements on private Palestinian land, which previously were considered illegal even under Israel’s own creative legal standards (which themselves defy international law).
‘Expansion of settlements’ is like the famous ‘boiling a frog slowly’ metaphor. As long as the settlements just ‘expand’, the frogs of the international community can be expected to keep swimming around and not notice the impending doom. The moment Israel throws in a new settlement, they jump. So naturally, with the new declaration of the settlement, the German, British and French frogs jumped. In coordinated condemnatory statements, Germany said that it “will not recognize any change in the 1967 lines, which has not been agreed between the parties”, UK said that “these announcements are contrary to international law and seriously undermine the prospects of two states for two peoples” and France even used the C word – Colonization:
France recalls that colonization is illegal under international law, in particular UNSCR 2334.
But Israeli leaders appear to be laughing their socks off. Because they’re not playing ball with Europe, only with USA. While flouting international law and giving European nations the finger, Israel puts on a theater of “restraint” towards the USA. After President Trump recently expressed ‘concern’ about Israeli settlements, Netanyahu responded with ‘good will’ by notioning a policy of ostensible ‘restraint’ last week: “This is a very friendly administration and we need to take his requests into consideration,” he said at the cabinet meeting. ‘Restraint’, that is, after the establishment of the new settlement…
But a short overview of the ‘restraint’ points agreed upon at the cabinet meeting reveals that these are just words:
1. Israel will continue construction, when permissible, within previously developed areas.
2. Where this is not permissible, Israel will allow construction in areas adjacent to those already developed.
3. Where neither of these criteria are met, due to legal, security or topographical constraints, Israel will allow construction on the closest land possible to developed areas.
4. Israel will not allow the creation of any new illegal outposts.
Point 3 shows mostly that this is just more ‘frog boiling’. Israel is ostensibly pacifying ‘concerns’, and creating an alibi for itself with its continued settlement project.
The European leaders are bound to quiet down again, as Israel adopts a supposedly “moderate, reasonable policy”, as one of the Israeli cabinet ministers said.
And Nikki Haley just promised that there will be no more Israel bashing at the UN. So the Europeans would have to head a campaign against Israel without USA’s backing, with all the Holocaust guilt that would involve. In other words, we shouldn’t expect any changes from world leaders. The Europeans can jump, but Sheriff Haley will kick ‘em with her high heels.