Last month, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley stated that, should Rex Tillerson find himself cashiered, she would not replace him as secretary of state. “I want to be where I’m most effective,” she said. Whatever that means, we can all breath a sigh of relief.
With the intellectual capacity of Sarah Palin, Haley is as clueless, and thus as dangerous, as they come. Her commitment to alternative facts (of the sort the US government has been churning out for decades) is absolute; lest we forget, she reminds us every time she opens her mouth. Depending on the mood I’m in, a Haley speech is either infuriating or darkly comedic. Indeed, many of them could double as trenchant satire, and it is sometimes easy (and comforting) to forget that she is actually speaking on behalf of a global empire.
Haley’s latest performance, a speech to the Israeli-American Council, ought to come with a warning advising viewer discretion, so divorced is it from reality. As the name suggests, the Israeli-American Council is yet another space for Zionist fanatics to reaffirm their love of Israel and, by implication, their hatred of Palestinians, who surely deserve all that they get—or rather don’t deserve what Israel takes, namely arable land, water resources, self-determination, national dignity, individual livelihood and, for many, life itself.
Listen to Haley’s speech at the Israeli-American Council
You’ll recall, if I may digress, that in its most recent military attack on Gaza, which took place in the summer of 2014, the IDF killed over 2,000 Palestinians, of whom 1391 were civilians. That’s twenty-eight civilians per day. “Of the Palestinians killed who did not take part in the hostilities,” B’tselem, reported, “180 were babies, toddlers, and children under the age of six. Another 346 were children from age six through seventeen, and 247 were women between the ages of 18 and 59. Another 113 were men and women over the age of sixty.” Which is to say nothing of the hundreds of thousands of Gazans who were displaced, or of the immense damage done to Gazan homes and infrastructure.
By comparison, seventy Israelis were killed in the fighting, sixty-four of them soldiers.
The sheer brutality of Operation “Protective Edge,” as the Israeli’s euphemized the slaughter, made it impossible for any remotely decent human being to rationalize. As the world looked on in disgust, and human rights organizations condemned Israel’s war crimes, then-President Barack Obama (who everyone is so very nostalgic about) droned on about Israel’s “right to defend itself.” “No nation should accept rockets being fired into its borders, or terrorists tunneling into its territory,” he declared, adding, “we are hopeful that Israel will continue to approach this process in a way that minimizes civilian casualties.” The key word there, continue, implies that Obama was satisfied with the IDF’s tactics. In his view, civilian casualties were in fact being “minimized.”
Not to be outdone, Hillary Clinton (another liberal superhero) took things a step further, stating that “Israel did what it had to do to respond to the rockets,” and that “ultimately the responsibility [for all the dead civilians] rests with Hamas.” Hillary went on to cite the “fog of war” as a reason to disregard reports of Israeli atrocities, which were only being denounced, she said, because they were committed by Jews. At the end of the day, “you can’t ever discount anti-Semitism.” Right on, Hil.
Therein lies the essence of the “special relationship” between the US and Israel: Israel runs amok, and the US exploits its status as global superpower to see that there are no repercussions. That’s not quite good enough for the Israel lobby, however (it’s never enough), so the US throws in $4 billion in free military aid every year. After all, “vulnerable” Israel, with its illegal cache of 400 nuclear weapons, faces an existential threat from “hegemonic” Iran, which has zero nuclear weapons and has never invaded another country.
This arrangement would perhaps make sense—from a cynical point of view—if it was mutually beneficial. But of course, it’s not. Quite the reverse, actually. The United States’ unswerving support for Israel, along with its own blood-drenched legacy in the Middle East, has made it the primary target for Wahhabi terrorists. If you don’t believe me, read Osama bin Laden’s “Letter to America,” in which American support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine is cited as his number one justification for 9/11. Bin Laden was obsessed with Israel-Palestine, as was/is Ramzi Yousef, who bombed the World Trade Center in 1993. That nothing can justify such acts of mass murder is beside the point: the point is that, by enabling Israel (a morally reprehensible act in itself), the US government puts its own citizens in the crosshairs—for nothing. It’s all risk and no reward. You can decide for yourself whether you think it’s worth it.
With that said, Israel does occasionally pretend to show gratitude for the United States’ masochistic generosity. Getting back to Haley, she opened her speech to the IAC by highlighting the fact that Israel is the only country in the world that supports our decades-long economic war on Cuba. Last week, another UN resolution was adopted calling for an end to the embargo. “The whole world sides with Cuba. Well, almost the whole world. The vote this year was 191 to 2,” Haley said with perverse delight. “Only Israel stood with America against the brutal regime in Cuba.” This strange boast triggered a round of applause from the audience. Then Haley went in for a joke, employing a tone and expression reminiscent of a 1950s TV commercial: “You know what they say: quality is more important than quantity.”
It doesn’t really get more bizarre than this. Here we have a matter of great geopolitical import, and the American empire’s ambassador to the UN is cracking lame soccer mom jokes to an audience of American Zionists. Is she sincerely proud of the fact that the US and Israel stand isolated on this issue? Does she actually believe that the rest of the world is in the wrong, and that only the US and Israel are able to perceive the moral righteousness inherent in strangling the Cuban economy? Does she have any clue as to why the embargo was imposed in the first place? Why it’s still being imposed more than fifty years later? I think the answer to the first two questions is yes, and I’m certain the answer to the second two is no. Our ambassador to the UN, who our whack-job president reportedly wants as his secretary of state, is a half-wit. She’s completely out of her depth and she doesn’t even know it.
It goes without saying that Haley pandered throughout her speech; when she wasn’t offering fulsome praise of Israel and Jewish people she was whining about the UN, a “hostile place” where a “caricature” of Israel has allegedly been painted. The use of “caricature” in this context is obviously, and disgracefully, designed to evoke images of Streicher-esque caricatures of Jews; thus Haley implicitly conflates legitimate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, a familiar Zionist tactic. She proceeded to take a shot at Barack Obama, who we have seen was an avid apologist for Israeli terror. Nevertheless, he can never be forgiven for refusing to veto a non-binding (i.e. meaningless) Security Council resolution demanding that Israel cease its settlement activity in the occupied territories. To reiterate: the Obama administration did not vote in favor of the resolution; they merely neglected to veto it (Obama vetoed an identical resolution in 2011). With the US abstaining, it passed, and Netanyahu promptly announced that Israel would be expanding settlements deeper into the West Bank, demonstrating again that Israel is a rogue state with no regard for international law.
Letting the resolution pass, Haley said, “was a cowardly act, and a real low point for America at the UN.” Almost as low as the song and dance she performed before the Security Council in the wake of the chemical incident in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria, wherein she exploited images of dead children to whip up public hysteria and garner support for Trump’s cruise missile attack, an illegal act of aggression promoted with vim by the major media.
Haley’s speech, of course, included all the usual platitudes regarding Iran. You know the drill: Iran supports terrorists, Iran supports Assad, Iran is testing missiles, Iran is arming the Houthis in Yemen, Iran is allied with Hezbollah, the nuclear agreement is bad news, blah, blah, blah. Referencing Trump’s decision to let Congress “review” the multilateral nuclear deal and decide unilaterally whether it needs to be modified (or scrapped altogether, despite Iran’s full compliance with its terms), Haley said: “Congress now has the opportunity to bring the debate about the Iran nuclear deal out from the fantasy world created by the Obama echo-chamber and into the real world where it belongs.” Again, one stands in awe of her utter lack of self-awareness.
Haley and I do agree on one thing: the UN Human Rights Council is a joke. Not because, as Haley says, it seeks to discourage businesses from operating out of illegal Israeli settlements, but rather because countries like Saudi Arabia, a staunch US ally and one of the worst human rights violators on the planet, have seats on the council. Needless to say, Haley’s speech included no reference to Saudi war crimes in Yemen, where over 5,000 civilians have been killed since 2015, the vast majority of them by the Saudi-led—and US-supported—coalition. Millions more are suffering from famine, while thousands of new cases of cholera are reported every day.
“There simply is no explanation the USA or other countries such as the UK and France can give to justify the continued flow of weapons to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition for use in the conflict in Yemen,” an exasperated Amnesty International representative said in September. “It has time and time again committed serious violations of international law, including war crimes, over the past 30 months, with devastating consequences for the civilian population.”
I think it’s safe to say Nikki Haley won’t be presenting images of dead or starving Yemeni children to the Security Council. At least not until we have reason to invade Saudi Arabia.
Top photo | U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks during a meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, not seen, in his residence in Jerusalem, Israel, June 7, 2017. (Debbie Hill/AP)