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‘We don’t want to pick a side,’ Nikki Haley says. But you just did

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Following President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last week, the American UN Ambassador Nikki Haley was interviewed by Wolf Blitzer on CNN. Blitzer tried to get a clear statement from Haley concerning the territorial implications of the recent recognition: “Specifically, does the Trump administration now consider the old city of Jerusalem now part of Israel?”

Haley avoided the question by saying, “We don’t want to pick a side on this”, citing the need for the “two sides to come together“ for the sake of “Israeli children and Palestinian children.”

Thus, the “new sheriff in town”, as Haley has called herself, is playing agnostic, objective and even-handed – “we don’t want to pick a side”. Just imagine, if the even-handed sheriff would be so objective that she would also recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine – you know, just to be fair.

But the US does not even recognize Palestine (unlike over 70% of the UN nations), precisely because such a move would preempt negotiations…

The UN Security Council has “censured in the strongest terms” Israel’s unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem (Resolution 476, 1980) and deemed it “a violation of international law”, calling upon “those States that have established diplomatic missions at Jerusalem to withdraw such missions from the Holy City”.

Of course the US picked a side. It picked the illegal side. But for Haley, this is all just ‘touchy’ and ‘tricky’, nothing to be particularly upset about. In her talk to AIPAC in April, she explained that “the tricky part is where the Palestinians come in on this and where the Israelis come in on this. The Israelis don’t want to give on Jerusalem at all, and we have to see how strong the Palestinians stand on that. That’s your touchy part”.

But in May, Haley appeared less ‘sensitive’. She said, “We’ve always thought the Western Wall was part of Israel”, and also that the Israeli capital “should be Jerusalem and the embassy should be moved to Jerusalem”. She said that, following a debacle, wherein American diplomats stationed at the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem refused to hold talks with Israeli officials about arrangements for U.S. President Donald Trump’s planned visit to the Western Wall. The diplomats claimed that the site is in the West Bank, and therefore the Israeli government has no authority over it.

On CNN, Blitzer said he assumed that the US would move its embassy to West Jerusalem, and asked, “Does the US government now differentiate between West and East Jerusalem?”. Haley again avoided the question, by saying, “You know, you’re making an assumption on where it’s gonna go, and we just started that relocation process, so that’s not something we need to talk about”.

While it may be doubtful that the US would actually go as far as placing its embassy on occupied territory in East Jerusalem, the location does not really matter. The mere recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is an implicit recognition of its unilateral and illegal annexation of East Jerusalem. This is what that 1980 UN Security Council Resolution 476 is about. You cannot not accept the whole Israeli ‘package’ of the ‘united capital’, when you recognize it. That’s the Israeli bet on Jerusalem – an ‘all or nothing’ game.

For many decades, everyone refrained from entering the trap, even though US Congress voted to move the embassy there in 1995, and every President since has signed a national security waiver each 6 months averting the move. But now Trump has done what his predecessors have avoided. And he’s proud of it. He’s bragging about it in his tweet from two days ago: “I fulfilled my campaign promise – others didn’t”, he writes. The tweet features Clinton, Bush and Obama all speaking about Jerusalem as ‘the capital of Israel’, with Clinton and Obama saying how it “must remain undivided”, and Bush promising to move the embassy there as soon as he takes office.

So Trump has, sadly, a valid point. U.S. Presidents have regularly applied the ‘capital’ rhetoric on Jerusalem. They were spreading petrol, but didn’t light the match. But Trump, after a slight hesitation last June, has now lit the match.

If there is to be a reckoning here, it is not merely that Trump, and his Sheriff Haley, are suddenly behaving recklessly. They are acting on the basis of a US policy of pandering to Israel that has been going on for many decades, under the mask of ‘peace talks’ and a supposed ‘honest broker’, the US.

But those masks need to be considered fallen, once and for all. We are, no doubt, seeing the true face of the US, and it ain’t pretty.

In the UN emergency meeting on this issue, on Friday, Haley still had the audacity to claim that “the United States has credibility with both sides” – aye, after Saeb Erekat, a former senior Palestinian negotiator said that President Trump has “disqualified the United States of America to play any role in any peace process”, and after Palestinian President Abbas said that “The U.S. can no longer function as a diplomatic sponsor and [peace] mediator.”

How long will this game continue? Will Sheriff Haley really manage to hold the world under control, by admonishing the UN, which she said on Friday “has outrageously been of the world’s foremost centers of hostility towards Israel”? Will she manage to protect Israel by ‘kickin’ em’ with her heels, as she suggested in her April AIPAC speech?       

Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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15 Responses

  1. eljay on December 11, 2017, 12:36 pm

    … the “new sheriff in town”, as Haley has called herself, is playing agnostic, objective and even-handed – “we don’t want to pick a side”. …

    She’s following in Trump’s footsteps of impartiality:

    I’m very pro-Israel. … People are born with hatred, they’re taught hatred. And I have to say, it’s mostly on the one side, not on the other side. But they’re taught hatred. … ”

    “It serves no purpose to say that you have a good guy and a bad guy. … it doesn’t help if I start saying– I’m very pro-Israel. Very. More than anybody on the stage. But it doesn’t do any good to start demeaning the neighbors because I would love to do something with regard to negotiating peace peace, finally for Israel, and for their neighbors… As a negotiator, I cannot do that as well if I’m taking big, big sides. With that being said, I am totally pro-Israel.”

    “I am a great friend of Israel. I was the Grand Marshal of the Israeli Day Parade… I have so many friends. In fact one of them, one of my great friends — where is Jared, my son-in-law? Where is he? My son-in-law is Jewish, and he’s fantastic … So, there is nobody closer — and Bibi Netanyahu asked me to do a commercial for him, for his campaign. I did a commercial for him.”

    • CigarGod on December 12, 2017, 3:35 am

      It isn’t hard to imagine these quotes being heard coming from a drunk tank.

      • Emory Riddle on December 12, 2017, 8:22 am

        A Zionist puppet being interviewed by a “former” propagandist for AIPAC.

        Only in America.

      • Cazador on December 12, 2017, 10:00 am

        Emory Riddle,

        «A Zionist puppet being interviewed by a “former” propagandist for AIPAC. Only in America.»

        It really makes you wonder about America, doesn’t it?

        It would be very interresting to know what is the percentage of Americans who read, listen to and believe strictly the mainstream media «special» daily stories, called manipulations, lies, and more lies

        The problem is that those «special» stories are gradually driving the USA and therefore especially the countries (and their neighbours) not obedient to the USA into a major war, a war with no such precedent, a global nuclear war, the last one, the World War Three. Of course, the consequences are being ignored voluntarily or not by those same media, owned by the psychopath oligarchs whose wealth and power, and goal of being new world order leaders, are never satisfying enough. And I’m refering to rich sick people too dumb to realize that they will also die like the rest of us if they get their global nuclear war, whose destroying consequences will last for thousands of years on this sole previously living and inhabitable planet… Those new bosses will die in their super underground bunkers just like everybody else, mind you a few months or possibly years later.

  2. amigo on December 11, 2017, 1:44 pm

    I never thought any female sec of state could make Samantha (give me )Power ,look timid, but Haley makes her look like Tinker Bell.

    “We don,t want to pick a side”.

    Then why did you .

    Are these people do educated , they think we are all dumb asses .

    • Cazador on December 12, 2017, 10:10 am


      These people know that a majority of Americans are too busy, too careless, or something else to try to search and find out the US global policies’ real facts and their consequences on themselves. I suppose that if they knew them we would have a different geopolitical story to read and write about, possibly one of lesser consequences. Right now the USA looks like the Nazi régime trying to convince the whole of Germany to free itself by declaring war on all its neighbours and Europe

  3. US Citizen on December 11, 2017, 2:16 pm

    Haley is living in Israel’s pseudo-reality, where bullies complain of being bullied to the detriment of US values. Her arrival at the UN has ignited a US-Israeli hate fest, not only targeting UN member states, but international law, and everything that the United Nations has stood for over the decades.

    The US has supported Israel quite blindly at the UN throughout the years. Haley seems to adopt an entirely Israeli position with no regard whatsoever for her country’s allies, or the possible repercussions of dismissing the only international body that still serves as a platform for international engagement and conflict resolution.

    Haley seems to truly think of herself as the new sheriff in town, who will “kick ’em every single time,” before ridding the bullies with bullets and riding into the sunset, along with Netanyahu. However, with a huge leadership vacuum and no law to guide the international community in resolving a 70-year-old conflict, Haley’s cowboy tactics degrades US standing, leadership and even goes below the lowest standards of credibility practiced under previous administrations.

    • Cazador on December 12, 2017, 10:19 am

      US Citizen,

      «Haley seems to truly think of herself as the new sheriff in town, who will “kick ’em every single time,” before ridding the bullies with bullets and riding into the sunset, along with Netanyahu.»

      I wonder if she’ll go as far and stupidly as Madeleine Aldumb and declare that all those lives (babies in the case of Aldumb’s comment) destroyed «were worth the price»…

      It’s unbelievable what the USA, my Southern neighbour, can come out with in order to maintain its economy, power, global control, etc. to the highest level, and to the detriment of the majority of countries, especially those rich in oil reserves, rare earth, valuable metals, etc., and always with the same tactics: to get rid of a despot, a dictator, to free populations, to reinstate human rights, to reestablish peace…

  4. ritzl on December 11, 2017, 5:03 pm

    I am always in awe of the talent of people (Mr. Ofir) who can write a rational critique about people who are clearly insane.

    • CigarGod on December 12, 2017, 3:44 am

      Whew! Good. I am awake.
      I’m not having a nightmare after all.

      • Cazador on December 12, 2017, 10:26 am


        I’m sincerely hoping that your nightmare, the one I think you fear the most, will never happen.

      • ritzl on December 12, 2017, 10:37 am

        Hehe. But in the “life imitates Monty Python,” tragi-comic sense, you might only be dreaming that you’re awake… :)

        What passes for “serious” thought and/or people now (maybe ever?) would sure suggest something to that effect. But it just can’t be…can it?

        Peace CigarGod.

    • Cazador on December 12, 2017, 10:24 am


      I totally agree with you, and I’ll add that we need many, many more Mr. Ofir and the likes to inform people throughout the world, to come out with rational critiques that can’t be lied about, laughed at, destroyed.

  5. just on December 12, 2017, 5:42 pm

    Thanks, Jonathan.

    Haley said:

    “… “The sky’s still up there. It hasn’t fallen.”

    Nikki Haley echoed that message across three televised appearances on Sunday, four days after the president announced that the US recognizes Jerusalem as capital of Israel. …

    … Haley argued that the decision has realpolitik logic. She suggested Israeli settlements and Palestinian poverty do not weigh as heavily on the minds of Middle East allies, especially Saudi Arabia, as does Iran’s growing influence in the region.

    “We have a whole lot more in common with the Arab League than we have ever had before and mainly that’s because of our fight with Iran,” Haley told CNN’s State of the Union. “What they mostly care about and what is their top priority is Iran, and we are in lockstep with them.”

    Asked about fears that the decision, an explicit step in favor of Israel, might inflame extremists in the region, Haley said: “I have no concern.”…

    Haley argued that the president’s decision reflected his appreciation for facts on the ground. “You’ve got the parliament, the president, the prime minister, the supreme court [in Jerusalem], so why shouldn’t we have the embassy there?”

    She insisted, without offering details, that the decision would advance peace talks. “When you recognize the truth, when both parties recognize reality, peace comes,” she told CBS’s Face the Nation. “We are living in the reality that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.” …”

    Just another warmongering Israel- firster who cares not a whit about justice.

  6. James Canning on December 12, 2017, 6:45 pm

    Nikki Haley is an energetic Aipac stooge, even if she pretends otherwise.

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