(CNSNews.com) – As U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley on Monday vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution seeking to overturn President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, she also sharply criticized the Obama administration’s decision a year ago not to back Israel in the same forum, calling the implications of that move “a stain on America’s conscience.”
Monday’s resolution was backed by all other 14 members of the council – the ten temporary members and permanent members Russia, China, Britain and France – but Haley declared that she was casting the sole dissenting vote “proudly.”
“The fact that this veto is being done in defense of American sovereignty and in defense of America’s role in the Middle East peace process is not a source of embarrassment for us,” she told the meeting in New York. “It should be an embarrassment to the remainder of the Security Council.”
Haley challenged the right of other nations to tell the U.S. where it should decide to locate its embassy – and warned that some other Security Council (UNSC) members may have cause to fear similar interference in their domestic decision-making.
“I suspect very few member-states would welcome Security Council pronouncements about their sovereign decisions,” she said. “And I think of some who should fear it.”
(Five of the current members of the UNSC – China, Russia, Egypt, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan are ranked “not free” by the democracy watchdog Freedom House. Two others – Bolivia and Ukraine – are graded “partly free.”)
Haley recalled that Trump made it clear in his Dec. 6 policy announcement that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital does not prejudge “final status” negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. And she disputed that the move jeopardizes peace efforts.
“What is troublesome to some people is not that the United States has harmed the peace process – we have, in fact, done no such thing. Rather, what is troublesome to some people is that the United States had the courage and honesty to recognize a fundamental reality,” she said.
“Jerusalem has been the political, cultural, and spiritual homeland of the Jewish people for thousands of years. They have had no other capital city,” Haley continued. “But the United States’ recognition of the obvious – that Jerusalem is the capital and seat of the modern Israeli government – is too much for some.”
Haley used the opportunity to distance the Trump administration from its predecessor’s decision not to veto a controversial resolution targeting Israel.
President Obama’s decision to abstain rather than veto resolution 2334 allowed passage of a measure that describes areas disputed between Israelis and Palestinians – including the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City and the location of the holiest site in Judaism – as “occupied Palestinian territory.”
Haley pointed out that resolution 2334 also “gave new life to an ugly creation of the Human Rights Council: the database of companies operating in Jewish communities.”
The HRC “creation” referred to by Haley is widely seen as benefitting the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign, by identifying companies which will then be targeted by pro-Palestinian activists. Resolution 2334 requires all countries “to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.”
“This is an effort to create a blacklist, plain and simple,” Haley said. “It is a stain on America’s conscience that we gave the so-called BDS movement momentum by allowing the passage of Resolution 2334.”
Haley took a final swipe at the Obama administration, putting its abstention last December into historical context.
“For decades, Israel has withstood wave after wave of bias in the U.N. and its agencies,” she said. “The United States has often stood beside Israel. We did not on December 23, 2016.”
“We will not make that mistake again.”
Monday was only the second time the U.S. has vetoed a UNSC resolution in the past decade, having last done so in 2011 – also killing a measure relating to the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
Over that same period Russia has vetoed 17 resolutions (11 relating to its ally the Assad regime, in addition to texts concerning Bosnia, Georgia, Zimbabwe, Burma and Ukraine) and China has vetoed eight (relating to Syria, Burma and Zimbabwe).