September 26, 2018

NYT Forced to Issue Correction on Haley Story

Photo from Flickr.

The New York Times was forced to issue a correction to a Thursday story accusing United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley of spending $52,701 on curtains for her residence.

The story was initially titled, “Nikki Haley’s View of New York Is Priceless. Her Curtains? $52,701.” However, the sixth paragraph of the story stated, ““A spokesman for Ms. Haley said plans to buy the curtains were made in 2016, during the Obama administration. Ms. Haley had no say in the purchase, he said.”

CNN’s Jake Tapper confirmed that Haley didn’t have a say in the matter:

At the top of The New York Times article is currently an editor’s note that reads:

An earlier version of this article and headline created an unfair impression about who was responsible for the purchase in question. While Nikki R. Haley is the current ambassador to the United Nations, the decision on leasing the ambassador’s residence and purchasing the curtains was made during the Obama administration, according to current and former officials. The article should not have focused on Ms. Haley, nor should a picture of her have been used. The article and headline have now been edited to reflect those concerns, and the picture has been removed.

The headline now reads: “State Department Spent $52,701 on Curtains for Residence of U.N. Envoy.”

H/T: Washington Examiner

U.S. to End UNRWA Funding, Reduce Refugee Status of Palestinians

REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The Trump administration plans on ending all funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and advocating for the number of Palestinians designated as refugees substantially, according to The Washington Post.

Within the next few weeks, the administration will officially make the aforementioned announcement and state they are ceasing funding to UNRWA until the agency is reformed. The U.S. had been providing about a third of UNRWA’s $1.1 billion budget.

United States Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley explained at an August 28 Foundation for Defense Democracies (FDD) event that the Palestinian Authority (PA) teaches “anti-Israeli and anti-American things in their textbook,” which was a factor in the Trump administration’s decision to cut UNRWA’s funding from $130 million to $65 million earlier in the year.

“UNRWA had them [the Palestinians] protest in the streets that we didn’t give more,” Haley said.

Haley added that Arab countries need to step up their funding to UNRWA instead.

The Trump administration will call for the number of Palestinians designated as refugees to decline from 5.3 million to less than 500,000, limiting the refugee status to those who were alive at the time the agency was established in 1949.

Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), accused the U.S. of “violating international law” by ending funding to UNRWA.

“There is an international obligation to assist and support it until all the problems of the Palestinian refugees are solved,” Erekat said.

Germany is reportedly preparing to increase their funding to UNRWA in light of the reported U.S. decision to end such funding, according to Haaretz.

Those that support UNRWA argue that it’s necessary to provide aid to displaced Palestinians and help prevent further violence; critics argue that the agency is nothing more than a welfare program for terrorism.

Palestinian Ambassador Accuses Haley of Being ‘More Israeli Than the Israelis Themselves’

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, lashed out at United States U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley on Wednesday by accusing her of being “more Israeli than the Israelis themselves.”

Mansour was irked that Haley chided Arab nations of political grandstanding with their speeches against Israel, yet do little to actually help the Palestinian people. Mansour claimed that Haley’s speech was nothing more than “an unconditional defense Israel” and criticized her for the Trump administration’s decision to drastically cut funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

Additionally, Mansour declared that the Trump administration’s peace proposal would not be considered by the Palestinian Authority.

As the Journal reported on July 24, Haley challenged Arab nations to take steps to help the Palestinian people instead of simply giving speeches that criticize Israel.

“If those words were useful in the schools, the hospitals and the streets of their communities, the Palestinian people would not be facing the desperate conditions we are discussing here today,” Haley said. “Talk is cheap.”

Some teachers at UNRWA schools have reportedly issued anti-Semitic Facebook posts. Richard Goldberg, a senior adviser to the Foundation of Defense Democracies, has argued that the UNRWA keeps Palestinians “in a permanent state of dependency and poverty.”

Haley Slams Arab Countries for Not Helping Palestinian People: ‘Talk Is Cheap’

REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, challenged Arab nations that frequently criticize Israel at the United Nations to help the Palestinian people.

In a July 24 U.N. Security Council session, Haley began her remarks by defending Israel’s strikes against Hamas in Gaza, pointing out that the size of damage caused by Hamas’ incendiary kites and balloons is equivalent to the size of Connecticut.

“While the international media pays very careful attention to every step Israel takes in self-defense, we must not lose sight of very real damage that is being done to Israel from terrorist attacks coming from Gaza,” Haley said.

Haley then noted how various countries – particularly Arab countries – claim to stand with the Palestinian people in their various speeches in the U.N.

“If those words were useful in the schools, the hospitals and the streets of their communities, the Palestinian people would not be facing the desperate conditions we are discussing here today,” Haley said. “Talk is cheap.”

Haley added that such talk only gets “the international community riled up.”

The U.S. ambassador highlighted funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), pointing out that countries like Iran, Algeria and Tunisia haven’t put a single penny into UNRWA. Other countries like Pakistan and Egypt contribute thousands of dollars to UNRWA –– by comparison, the United States gave $364 million the U.S. gave to UNRWA in 2017.

“Words at the United Nations or actions on the streets and in the schools of Palestinian communities: which matters more?” Haley asked. “Judging by the vitriol that is directed toward the United States from the Palestinian representatives – including the one here today – and from some of their allies, one might fairly conclude that our support is unappreciated or unwelcomed.”

Haley added, “We continue to seek out ways to help the Palestinian people, whose plight is of genuine concern to us. But we’re not fools. If we extend a hand in friendship and generosity, we do not expect our hand to be bitten. And as we extend our hand, we expect others to extend their hands as well.”

Haley then asked why Arab countries don’t condemn Hamas for their terrorist activities or seek to reconcile warring Palestinian factions.

“The Palestinian leadership has been allowed to live a false reality for too long because Arab leaders are afraid to tell them the truth,” Haley said. “The United States is telling the truth because we do care about the Palestinian people.”

Her full speech can be seen below:

Haley Slams Human Rights Watch in Letter for Opposing UNHRC Reforms

REUTERS/Toya Sarno Jordan

When United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced their withdrawal from the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on June 19, she cited the fact that the U.S.’s suggested reforms for the UNHRC were never implemented. Haley revealed more details in a letter to Human Rights Watch (HRW), where she blamed them in part for the reforms failing.

The letter, dated June 20, features Haley explaining to HRW that she advocated for reforms that cleansed the UNHRC of anti-Israel bias and better ensured that the membership on the UNHRC were committed to human rights. However, their efforts were rebuffed by Russia and China; HRW had also issued a letter encouraging members of the council to vote against Haley’s proposed reforms.

“You put yourself on the side of Russia and China, and opposite the United States, on a key human rights issue,” Haley said. “You should know that your efforts to block negotiations and thwart reform were a contributing in the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Council. Going forward we encourage you to play a constructive role on behalf of human rights, rather than the destructive one you played in this instance.”

The letter concluded with Haley stating that the U.S. will fight for human rights by working with NGOs that are actually committed to human rights.

Louis Charbonneau, HRW’s U.N. director, argued to the New York Times that Haley’s reforms “would have opened a Pandora’s box of worse problems.”

It should be noted that HRW has previously advocated for Israel to be put on the U.N.’s list of child’s rights violators.

U.S. Leaves U.N. Human Rights Council

REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

The United States has officially left the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

In a press conference in Washington D.C., U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley explained that they had warned the UNHRC that unless reforms were implemented, they would leave the council. The reforms never went into place, therefore the U.S. will leave.

“We take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights,” Haley said.

Haley pointed out that in the past year, the UNHRC elected the Democratic Republic of the Congo to a seat in the council despite the country’s record of human rights abuses. The UNHRC also refused to examine human rights abuses conducted by the Venezuelan government as well as by the Iranian regime in cracking down on the anti-government protests, yet has passed five resolutions condemning Israel.

“This council is motivated by political bias, not human rights,” Haley said.

Haley concluded the announcement by stating that if the council is reformed, the U.S. would be open to re-joining it.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper praised the move in a statement.

“The UNHRC has perverted its stated mandate by serially abusing Israel, while horrific human rights abuses around the world receive scant attention, if at all,” Hier and Cooper said. “It consistently makes a mockery of its own mandate by serving as a rubber-stamping anti-Israel kangaroo court while providing diplomatic safe haven for state sponsors of terrorism and human rights abuse. Like its disgraced and defunct predecessor, the UN Human Rights Commission, the UN Human Rights Council in 2018 represents all that is wrong with global human rights.”

The U.S. withdrawing on the council comes on the heels of UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson criticizing Agenda Item 7 on June 18, which enables the UNHRC to criticize Israel every week for alleged human rights violations against the Palestinians.

“We share the view that the dedicated Agenda Item 7 focused solely on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is disproportionate and damaging to the cause of peace, and unless things change we shall vote next year against all resolutions introduced under Item 7,” Johnson said.

UN General Assembly Censures Israel’s Actions Against Gaza

United Nations General Assembly hall in New York City.

The United Nations General Assembly voted in favor of a draft resolution censuring Israel on Wednesday.

The 193-member body adopted “Protection of the Palestinian Civilian Population,” following heated debate. The resolution, which censured Israel’s recent actions in Gaza, passed with a vote of 120-8, with 45 abstentions, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Prior to the vote, Danny Danon, Israel’s permanent representative to the United Nations, told the General Assembly support for the resolution amounted to support for Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

“By supporting this resolution, you are a supporting a terrorist organization,” Danon said. “You are empowering Hamas.”

Over the last two months, Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip have held weekly demonstrations at the Israel-Gaza border. Israel has responded to the often-violent protests with military force, resulting in the death of more than 120 Palestinians.

Many of the Palestinians who have been killed in the protests are involved with Hamas, a terrorist organization. Hamas has resorted to unconventional tactics in its latest flare-ups with Israel. The organization has flown kites, set ablaze, into Israel, resulting in agricultural damage inside of Israel.

Many of the protests at the Israel-Gaza border coincided with the U.S. relocation of its embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem last month.

On Wednesday, Danon lambasted the General Assembly for putting forth the resolution, which makes no mention of Hamas.

“I have a simple message for those who support this resolution today: You are the ammunition for Hamas’ guns,” he said. “You are the warheads for Hamas’ missiles.”

Opposed to the resolution’s omission of Hamas, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley proposed an amendment to the resolution, one condemning Hamas. Haley’s amendment garnered a simple majority—62-58, with 42 abstentions—but needed a two-thirds majority to pass.

Prior to the vote on the amendment, Algeria’s representative to the U.N. called the amendment irrelevant to the goal of the resolution and called for a no-action motion on the U.S.’s amendment.

Encouraging member states of the General Assembly to support her amendment, Haley called Hamas’ actions against Israel “counterproductive to peace.”

Joanne Adamson, deputy head of the European Union delegation to the United Nations, called on Israel to use more proportional measures when responding to violence at its border.

“Israel must respect the rights to peaceful protests and ensure the use of proportional measures when protecting its legitimate security interests,” Adamson said. “We urge all parties to take immediate steps to deescalate the situation and to act with utmost restraint to avoid further loss of life.”

“We condemn the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel,” Adamson added.

Algeria and Turkey, on behalf of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, put forward the text of the resolution, which condemns Israel’s “excessive use of force” in Gaza.

Haley Calls U.N. Security Council’s Refusal to Condemn Hamas ‘Outrageous’

Screenshot from YouTube.

United State Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called it “outrageous” that the U.N. Security Council refused to condemn Hamas for firing missiles and mortars into Israel.

Haley had attempted to pass the condemnation at the Security Council’s May 30 emergency meeting on Hamas’s actions but Kuwait prevented the condemnation from happening.

“You might think that the rest of the security council would join us in condemning a terrorist organization like Hamas,” Haley said. “There shouldn’t be any debate about this. But of course, since this attack involves Israel, the standard is different.”

Haley said it was a “no-brainer” to call out Hamas for “aiming to cause as much civilian death and destruction as possible” and pointed out that the Security Council likes to criticize Israel even before knowing all the facts.

“Hamas’ stated purpose is the destruction of Israel,” Haley said. “That is its purpose when it fires rockets into Israel. That is its purpose when it builds terror tunnels underneath Israeli territory. And that is its purpose when it orchestrates violent protests and riots at the boundary fence calling for a march for return.”

Haley added that Hamas is what endangers Palestinians, not Israel, pointing to Hamas rockets destroying power lines that resulted in several Gazans losing power.

“To allow Hamas to continue to get away with its terrorist acts and to somehow expect Israel to sit on its hands when it is attacked is the height of hypocrisy,” Haley said. “To continue to condemn Israel with actually acknowledging what is coming from the leaders of Gaza makes me question who actually cares about the welfare of the Palestinian people.”

The full speech can be seen below:

H/T: Washington Free Beacon

For Now, Trump Won’t Impose Russian Sanctions

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures during a roundtable on tax cuts for Florida small businesses in Hialeah, Florida, U.S., April 16, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced on April 15 that the U.S. would be implementing a new batch of sanctions against Russia for propping up Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad as he uses chemical weapons against his own people. However, The Washington Post is reporting that President Trump has not approved of such sanctions.

The Post report states that the sanctions are under “serious consideration” but Trump is reluctant to sign off on them unless Russia gives him “another triggering event” to do so. The White House is officially calling Haley’s statement on sanctions a mistake, however although others said it was strange that Haley would make such a mistake given that how “disciplined” she is in ensuring that her statements are in line with Trump’s thinking.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement, “We are considering additional sanctions on Russia and a decision will be made in the near future.”

According to CNN, the targets of such Russian sanctions would include “banks and equipment suppliers” as well as “Russian companies that sell helicopters and helicopter parts to Syria.”

Haley had said on CBS’ Face the Nation, “You will see that Russian sanctions will be coming down. Secretary Mnuchin will be announcing those on Monday, if he hasn’t already.”

The sanctions matter comes after the U.S. led a coalition that launched airstrikes against Syria, targeting three chemical weapons facilities. Trump reportedly followed Defense Secretary James Mattis’ advice and made the strikes smaller than they potentially could have been in order to show restraint.

Haley Announces New Sanctions on Russia, Warns That More Airstrikes Against Syria Could Come

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks during the United Nations Security Council meeting on Syria at the U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., April 13, 2018. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley made the rounds on the Sunday morning show circuit and announced two pieces of news: the U.S. will be imposing new sanctions on Russia and more airstrikes could be coming Syria’s way.

On Fox News Sunday, Haley stated that the Russian sanctions would occur on Monday.

“If you look at what Russia is doing, they continue to be involved with all the wrong actors, whether their involvement in Ukraine, whether you look at how they are supporting Venezuela, whether you look in Syria and their way of propping up Assad and working with Iran, that continues to be a problem,” Haley said.

Haley was also asked by Fox News’ Chris Wallace on what the Trump administration would do if Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad continued to use chemical weapons, noting that President Trump and Defense Secretary James Mattis gave seemingly contradictory statements on the matter.

“What I can tell you is the president has made it very clear that when it comes to weapons of mass destruction, we have no tolerance for it,” Haley said. “We are going to watch out for the best interests of the American people. He made a point and hopefully Assad gets it. If Assad doesn’t get it, it’s going to hurt.”

Haley declined to say if military action in Syria is a possibility.

On Friday, a U.S.-led coalition launched airstrikes against Syria in response to Assad using chemical weapons against his own people. Three chemical weapons facilities in Syria were struck, although other chemical weapon facilities were left untouched. Trump has hailed the strikes as a blow against Assad, but the Syrian dictator is reportedly in “positive spirits” after the strikes because he doesn’t think his grip on power is being threatened.

U.N. Human Rights Council Calls for Ending Arms Sales to Israel

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) passed a series of anti-Israel resolutions on Mar. 23, most notably one that calls for an arms embargo against Israel.

The Jerusalem Post reports that the arms embargo resolution asserted that Israel was in violation of international law for their supposed occupation of East Jerusalem, therefore the international community should follow international law and “end users known or likely to use the arms in the commission of serious violations of international humanitarian and/or human rights law.” The resolution passed by a margin 27 to 4 and 15 abstentions.

Other anti-Israel resolutions passed by the UNHRC on Mar. 23 included declaring that Israel should withdraw from the Golan Heights, ending the building of settlements in Judea and Samaria and a return to pre-1967 borders.

The United States opposed all of the anti-Israel resolutions and countered with a resolution that nixed the UNHRC’s required weekly bashing of Israel.

“When the Human Rights Council treats Israel worse than North Korea, Iran, and Syria, it is the Council itself that is foolish and unworthy of its name. It is time for the countries who know better to demand changes,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said in a statement. “Many countries agree that the Council’s agenda is grossly biased against Israel, but too few are willing to fight it. When that happens, as it did today, the Council fails to fulfill its duty to uphold human rights around the world.”

“The United States continues to evaluate our membership in the Human Rights Council. Our patience is not unlimited. Today’s actions make clear that the organization lacks the credibility needed to be a true advocate for human rights.”

Haley has repeatedly criticized the U.N. for singling out Israel while ignoring the likes of North Korea, Iran and Syria. U.N. Watch has noted “that the UNHRC is filled with representatives from countries like Cuba, China and Saudi Arabia that are swimming in multiple human rights abuses.”

In February, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) called for a boycott against the UNHRC.

“Putting it in context with the lack of attention to nations such as North Korea, where you have more starvation and torture and the ultimate totalitarian regime, where you have in Cuba a lack of freedoms and the abuses of human rights and dignity, and sadly this particular council has focused I believe in a very anti-Semitic and anti-Israel way of focusing condemnations on the democracy of Israel,” Wilson told the Free Beacon.

Letters to the Editor: Nikki Haley, Seeds of Hate and Trump Derangement Syndrome

Nikki Haley Speaks for Many

How refreshing is it to finally have someone like Nikki Haley speak the truth about the anti-Semitic policies of the United Nations (“Haley Rips U.N. at AIPAC for ‘Bullying’ of Israel,” March 6). The United Nations truly acted as a “bully” toward Israel while former President Barack Obama’s administration did nothing but pass more anti-Israel resolutions. Haley’s voice for Israel and demands for changes in the U.N. are finally being heard. What we need is more people like Haley who are not afraid to speak the truth and recognize the U.N. for what it is.

Alexander Kahan via email

I enjoyed reading the brief on Haley’s appearance at AIPAC. Although I did not attend the most recent AIPAC in Washington, D.C., I did enjoy reading some of the speeches, especially Haley’s. As we all know, Israel has been the punching bag in the U.N. for many years and, regardless of which country is being bullied, the idea of fairness in order to bring unity among the nations should be top priority for the U.N., no matter which country it is.

Ariel Hakim, Los Angeles


The Seeds of Hate

As much as I am in favor of peace between Israelis and Palestinians, I don’t believe that getting them together will help (“Seeking Peace From the Ground Up,” March 2). Yes, you were allowed to feel hate when the 13-year-old boy was brutally murdered. That is what everyone’s initial reaction should be. I don’t see how you can forget that feeling and move on. I agree that you can’t solve the conflict, but I don’t agree that you can prevent racism. As nice as that sounds, I don’t believe that is realistic.

David Raviv via email

I have mixed emotions about the Roots summer camp. It is true that anger is a horrible sin, however, it is best to keep people who commit acts of terror as far away as possible. It has been proven that we cannot appease the Arabs, and I think it is time that we stopped trying. Shaul Judelman is correct in that we should not let adults’ conflict cloud our children’s minds, but this is a different situation. The best thing we can do now is to stand our ground and keep far away from hateful people.

Yosef Khorramian, Los Angeles

I really agree with the points reporter Deborah Danan makes in this story when she talks about making peace with the Palestinians instead of getting angry and causing conflicts, because if we just fight and argue with them, peace will not be achieved. I also agree with creating the Roots program because I think that having young Israelis and Palestinians work together at a young age will bring more respect to both sides.

Borna Haghighat, Rancho Palos Verdes

I applaud the effort by Shaul Judelman. I think it is great that he is attempting to end racism between Palestinians and Jews. However, one must look at the bigger picture. Ultimately, I do not believe that his effort will make much of a difference. The Palestinians raise their children from Day One to hate Jews. This summer camp does not really change that. However, his actions are still having a positive effect on the people around him.

Aryeh Hirt, Los Angeles


Security Tactics to Protect Our Students

Israeli security expert Oded Raz is correct in stating many tactics can make our schools safer (“Israeli Security Expert Talks About Tactics to Protect Our Schools,” Feb. 23).

When asked, “How can America make high school campuses safer?” Raz mentioned four things: concept, procedures, technology and manpower. I agree with every idea.

Also, when asked, “What is the most critical skill for security guards?” Raz said that searching for suspicious people around the school is the most critical skill. If everything is clear, you can let the students and teachers go inside. I also agree with this.

Moshe Gamaty via email


When Ashkenazi Met Sephardic

I agree with David Suissa that we live in a time when Israel is divided by Sephardim and Ashkenazim (“Living in Ashkefardic Times,” March 9). We put this boundary in between us that divides us. I agree with him that we need to combine our cultures. It was very nice that his shul did it. The shul decided to combine the two sides and make it one community. We live in a society today where everyone classifies themselves as Sephardic and Ashkenazi, not a Jew, and that needs to change.

Saul Barnes, Beverly Hills


Trump Derangement Syndrome

Unlike the magnanimous David Suissa, I have little patience for Donald Trump derangement (“Why We Can’t Talk About Trump,” March 16). Former President Barack Obama, cool and stylish, began his term by praising the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, ignoring their vicious Jew-hatred, then refused to visit Israel while there, and snubbed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife throughout his term. By normalizing and promoting Israel-bashing Muslim groups, he facilitated the growth of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and turned the Democratic Party against Israel. He sabotaged Israel in the U.N., but worst of all, he surrendered control of Syria to Vladimir Putin and sent tens of billions of dollars to Iran, which now threatens Israel’s existence.

Trump, by contrast, condemned Palestinian leaders for paying Arabs to kill Jews, condemned U.N. Relief and Works Agency for abetting Hamas terrorism, and cut off U.S. funds for both. He then overruled the State Department to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Even though Indian-American Gov. Nikki Haley didn’t support Trump’s campaign, he still appointed her to the U.N., where she shamed the world’s tyrants and Jew-haters for ganging up on Israel, and decreed that Israel’s enemies no longer receive U.S. aid.  Simply put, Donald Trump, though outrageous and crude, is the best friend Israel’s had since Harry Truman.

Rueben Gordon via email

I believe that President Donald Trump is only the symptom of Trump Derangement Syndrome — he is not the disease.

I admit I am increasingly deranged as I witness the escalating erosion of decency, the normalization and acceptance of deception, the brazen, unchallenged corruption and disregard for law and ethics.

Trump’s tactics are textbook projection. He disowns his venality and blames others for his sins. We are his goats of Azazel, commanded to carry his sins out of sight.

I am baffled that anyone who claims to be an Israelite (one who wrestles) can be assuaged by his antics. He represents Amalek, the anti-Jew who mocks our commandments. Amalek represents our dark, destructive impulses, literally our inner “dweller in the vale,” our Yetzer Hara.  Amalek has many descendants and Trump and his co-conspirators are the most recent, and in my experience, the most frightening eruptions of our individual and national shadows that I have known in my lifetime.

Harriet Rossetto, Los Angeles


The Dating World

Illana Angel’s column should be congratulated for her dating approach as a divorced woman, which is to lead (her son) by example and date only Jewish men (“The Foibles of Dating Nice Jewish Men,” March 2). We know from the Pew report that 90 percent of the children of intermarried couples look at the intermarrying example set by their Jewish parent and do the same thing, resulting in the total assimilation of those Jews. I hope she finds a Jewish husband soon. Even better, I hope her son follows his mother’s example and some day finds a nice Jewish woman to marry.

Jason Kay via email

Haley Issues Warning to Russia, Iran and Syria: ‘The United States Remains Prepared to Act If We Must’

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley addresses the U.N. Security Council on Syria during a meeting of the Council at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., March 12, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley issued a stark warning to Russia, Iran and Syria on Mar. 12 over the recent bombings in Syria: the United States is ready to take action if need be.

At the United Nations Security Council, Haley explained that Russia had been constantly blocking efforts to reach a ceasefire in Syria stopping Bashar al-Assad’s forces from striking the Eastern Ghouta area of Damascus. Russia eventually relented and agreed to a ceasefire, but only because they had a heavy say in each syllable of the agreement.

Haley proceeded to accuse the Russians of violating the agreement by taking advantage of a provision that allows for military strikes to take out terrorists.

“In the eyes of Russia, Iran and Assad, the neighborhoods of Eastern Ghouta are full of terrorists,” Haley said. “The hospitals are full of terrorists. The schools are full of terrorists. The Syrian and Russian regimes insist that they are targeting terrorists, but their bombs and artillery continue to fall on hospitals and schools and on innocent civilians.”

Haley then stated that the U.S. is producing a new ironclad ceasefire agreement that doesn’t feature any loopholes for the Assad regime to use against their own people. If the Security Council is unable to adopt the resolution, then the U.S. is ready to take matters into their own hands.

“Any nation that is determined to impose its will through chemical attacks and inhuman suffering – most especially the outlaw Syrian regime – the United States remains prepared to act if we must,” Haley said. “It is not the path we prefer, but it is a path we have demonstrated we will take, and we are prepared to take it again.”

Russia is standing by its defense that they’re simply weeding out terrorism in the area and is claiming that they are attempting to implement the current ceasefire agreement.

Israeli Forum for Regional Thinking Research Fellow Elizabeth Tsurkov explained in a Twitter thread how “horrific” the situation is in Eastern Ghouta:

The Assad regime is essentially a client-state of Russia and Iran. Russia has been controlling the Syrian civil war since 2015 in the absence of a serious U.S. presence in the region, although there are issues surfacing for the Kremlin as their forces seemed to be bogged down in Syria for the foreseeable future. Syria is a key ally for Tehran, as the country serves as a route for Iran to arm their terror proxy Hezbollah.

In April 2017, the Trump administration launched airstrikes against the Assad regime for its barbaric use of chemical weapons against its own people.

H/T: Daily Caller

Haley Rips U.N. At AIPAC for Their ‘Bullying’ of Israel

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nation Nikki Haley is pictured on board a helicopter at the Air Force Base in Guatemala City, Guatemala March 1, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley tore into the U.N. at American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)’s conference in Washington, D.C. for “bullying” Israel.

Haley explained how she was initially skeptical about taking the position as ambassador to the U.N. since her political experience has mainly been as a governor, but she was sold on the job when she told President Trump that she would be speaking her mind at all times. Trump’s response: “That’s exactly why I want you to do this.”

On her first day on the job, she told Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon the December 2016 resolution that slapped Israel for building settlements in Judea and Samaria “would never happen again” under Haley.

Leading into her experience at the U.N. thus far, Haley explained how at times her family experienced bullying as an Indian immigrant family in South Carolina, leading her to establish an anti-bullying program when she became governor of the state.

“For me it was just so fundamental: you don’t pick on someone just because they look different than you,” Haley said. “You don’t pick on someone just because they think differently than you or because you can.”

Haley added, “This idea has always been with me when I was child, but I didn’t think it would come to play at the United Nations.”

Haley claimed that the U.N. shows constant bias against Israel, citing the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as an example.

“UNESCO recently declared one of Judaism’s holiest sites, the Tomb of the Patriarchs, as a Palestinian heritage site in need of protection from Israel,” Haley said. “That was enough. Ten months into this administration, the United States withdrew from UNESCO.”

Haley also reiterated her support for President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

“Jerusalem was, is, and will always be the capital of Israel,” Haley said. “This was not something that was created by an American decision; America did not make Jerusalem Israel’s capital. What President Trump did, to his great credit, was recognize a reality that American presidents had denied for too long.”

Haley concluded her speech with poignant words against the U.N.

“Israel must be treated like any other normal country,” Haley said. “We will continue to demand that Israel not be treated like some sort of temporary provisional entity.”

“It cannot be the case that only one country in the world doesn’t get to choose its capital city. It cannot be the case that the U.N. Human Rights Council has a standing agenda item for only one country. It cannot be the case that only one set of refugees throughout the world is counted in a way that causes the number to grow forever. It cannot be the case that in an organization with 193 countries, the United Nations spends half of its time attacking only one country. We will not accept it any longer.”

Her full speech can be seen below:

Washington Free Beacon reporter Alex Griswold tweeted that Haley garnered the most applause at AIPAC:

According to Haaretz, AIPAC attendees viewed her as their “Wonder Woman” and even the next president of the United States.

At AIPAC, Vice President Mike Pence Affirms U.S.-Israel Bond

Vice President Mike Pence addresses the 2018 AIPAC Policy Conference

At the 2018 AIPAC Policy Conference, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence opened his speech on Monday night by calling Trump the “most pro-Israel president in American history.” He began the statement, however, by calling Trump the “most pro-life president” but then corrected himself to say pro-Israel.

It was the one gaffe in an otherwise well received speech in Washington D.C., on the second night of the three-day AIPAC conference. Multiple times during his remarks Pence reiterated the U.S. commitment to supporting the State of Israel.

“American stands with Israel, today, tomorrow and always,” he said.

Frequently garnering applause during his approximately 20-minute remarks, Pence denounced the Iranian regime’s nuclear ambitions, saying the U.S. “would no longer certify the disastrous nuclear deal,” which was ratified under former U.S. President Barack Obama.

He indicated the possibility the U.S. would withdraw from the Iranian nuclear agreement.

He said the recent decision of U.S. President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel set him apart from his predecessors.

“While every president for the past two decades promised to recognize the capital of Israel, President Trump did more than promise—he delivered,” Pence said.

“By finally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the United States has chosen fact over fiction and fact is the only true foundation for a just and lasting peace,” he added.

The U.S. plans to open its embassy in Jerusalem this May, he said, which would move the American embassy in Israel from its current location in Tel Aviv.

While the Arab world denounced the president’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Pence spoke of the changing political landscape in the Middle East, saying that Israel is finding unlikely allies in the Muslim world.

“The winds of change are blowing across the Middle East. Longstanding enemies are becoming partners; old foes are finding new ground for cooperation and the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael are coming together in common cause to meet, as the president’s said, history’s great test, and conquer extremism and vanquish forces of terrorism, and we will meet that test together,” Pence said.

Abbas Criticizes US and Israel in UN speech; Haley Fires Back

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the UN Security Council at UN headquarters in New York, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas gave a speech at the United Nations on Feb. 20 criticizing the United States and Israel on hampering peace negotiations.

Abbas railed against the Trump administration’s actions on recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and cutting funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA).

“In a dangerous, unprecedented manner, this administration undertook an unlawful decision which was rejected by the international community to remove the issue of Jerusalem off the table without any reason,” Abbas said.

The PA president added, “This administration has not clarified its position. Is it a two-state solution, or the one-state solution?”

Abbas then claimed that the Palestinians have a historical connection to Israeli land.

“We are descendants of the Canaanites that lived in Palestine 5,000 years ago, and have continuously remained there to this day,” Abbas said.

Abbas also went after Israel for being a “permanent settlement colonization.”

“We are working for the occupation, we are employees for the occupation, and we say that Israel must be held to its obligations as an occupying power,” Abbas said.

Abbas advocated for Palestine to have full member status at the U.N. and for a two-state solution mediated by a “multilateral international mechanism.”

Abbas walked out of the room when he was finished speaking, prompting Haley to remark to the PA president, “Our negotiators are sitting right behind me, ready to talk. But we will not chase after you. The choice, Mr. President, is yours.”

“The United States knows the Palestinian leadership was very unhappy with the decision to move our embassy to Jerusalem,” Haley added. “You don’t have to like that decision. You don’t have to praise it. You don’t even have to accept it. But know this: that decision will not change.”

Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon criticized Abbas for inspiring “a culture of hate in Palestinian society.”

“When we extend a hand, Abbas extends a fist,” Danon said.

Trump Signals He’ll End Aid to Palestinians If They Don’t Agree to Peace Talks

FILE PHOTO - U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an address from the White House in Washington, U.S., December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Picture

President Trump signaled in a tweet on Tuesday the United States could be ending its financial aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) if they continue their refusal to cooperate in peace talks.

After tweeting that the U.S. would cease to provide aid to Pakistan for their ties to terrorism, Trump announced that the PA could be next on the chopping block.

“We pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect,” Trump tweeted. “They don’t even want to negotiate a long overdue peace treaty with Israel.”

Given that the Palestinians are refusing to engage in peace talks, Trump asked, “why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”

United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley also told reporters at the U.N. headquarters in New York City that funding to United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) could be cut as well.

“The president has basically said that he doesn’t want to give any additional funding until the Palestinians are agreeing to come back to the negotiation table,” said Haley. “We’re trying to move for a peace process but if that doesn’t happen the president is not going to continue to fund that situation.”

Trump and Haley’s statements come after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared that the Palestinians would reject any peace offers from the U.S. and called for Europe to play a larger role in mediating Israeli-Palestinian peace talks after Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Abbas also refused to meet with Vice President Mike Pence.

According to the Times of Israel, in 2016 the U.S. provided the PA with over $357 million in aid and over $355 million to the UNRWA.

The PA currently provides financial incentives for Palestinians to commit acts of terrorism against Jews, as they funneled $355 million to terrorists and their families in 2017. Abbas himself has rejected prior peace deals and incited intifadas against Israelis.

According to U.N. Watch, the UNRWA teachers incite “Jihadist terrorism and antisemitism, including by posting Holocaust-denying videos and pictures celebrating Hitler” to Facebook.

 

Nikki Haley: We Will Be Calling for an Emergency Session Over Iran Protests

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks during the United Nations Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including Palestine, at U.N. Headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Nikki Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, voiced her support for the protesters in Iran on Tuesday and added that the United States will be calling for a United Nations emergency session on the matter.

Speaking at a press conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, Haley praised the protesters for standing up to the “oppression of their own government.”

“It takes great bravery for the Iranian people to use the power of their voice against their government, especially when their government has a long history of murdering its own people who dare to speak the truth,” said Haley, “so we applaud the tremendous courage of the Iranian people.”

Haley pointed out that the Iranian regime has blocked off social media in an attempt to silence their protests, so Haley shared some of the messages from the protesters, which included:

·      “Political prisoners must be freed!”

·      “Let go of Syria, think of us!”

·      “We will die, but we’ll take Iran back!”

Haley called the Iranian regime’s spin that the protests were manufactured by Iran’s enemies “complete nonsense.”

“The demonstrations are completely spontaneous,” said Haley. “They are virtually in every city in Iran. This is the precise picture of a long-oppressed people rising up against their dictators.”

Haley called for the U.N. to “speak out” against the Iranian regime for murdering and jailing numerous protesters.

“In the days ahead, we will be calling for an emergency session, both here in New York and at the Human Rights Council in Geneva,” said Haley. “We must not be silent. The people of Iran are crying out for freedom. All freedom-loving people must stand with their cause.”

Haley’s full speech can be seen below:

The protests in Iran against the mullahs in Tehran have been going for several days and have permeated throughout the country. Around 20 protesters have been murdered by the Iranian regime and over 450 have been arrested. The regime is also shutting down schools in response to the protests.

U.N. Denounces Trump’s Jerusalem Move in Vote

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks during the United Nations Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including Palestine, at U.N. Headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The United Nations voted on a resolution to condemn President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The resolution passed by a margin of 128 in favor and 9 against, with 35 abstentions and 21 countries that didn’t vote at all. The nine countries who voted against the resolution were the United States, Israel, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Tongo, Honduras, Guatemala ans Palau. Among those voted in favor of the resolution included Britain, France, Germany and Turkey, and Canada and Mexico were among those that abstained.

Here is the full record of how each country voted:

Nikki Haley, the United States ambassador to the U.N., had some sharp words for the U.N.

“The United States will remember this day, in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation,” said Haley. “We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations. And we will remember it when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.”

Haley also pointed out that the U.S. “is by far the single largest contributor to the U.N.” and suggested that their funding to the U.N. could be reduced or withdrawn altogether in light of the vote.

“When we make generous contributions to the UN, we also have a legitimate expectation that our goodwill is recognize and respected,” said Haley. “When a nation is singled out for attack in this organization, that nation is disrespected. What’s more, that nation is asked to pay for the privilege of being disrespected. In the case of the US, we are asked to pay more than anyone else for that dubious privilege.”

Haley also criticized the U.N. as being “a hostile place for the state of Israel.”

“It’s a wrong that undermines the credibility of this institution and that, in turn, is harmful for the entire world,” said Haley.

Haley made it clear in her speech that the vote will not deter the U.S. from moving its embassy to Jerusalem.

On Wednesday, Trump suggested that the U.S. could reduce funding to countries that voted in favor of the resolution.

“They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars and then they vote against us,” said Trump. “Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also criticized the vote, blasting the U.N. as “the house of lies.” Netanyahu also thanked Trump, Haley and the countries that voted with Israel.

Journal columnist Ben Shapiro pointed out on Twitter that Thursday’s vote is in line with the U.N.’s record of anti-Israel bias:

 

Netanyahu Thanks Nikki Haley for Vetoing Anti-Israel Resolution

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he speaks during an event marking "The Appreciation for the Fallen of Israel's Wars and Victims of Terrorism Day" at the Knesset, Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem December 12, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Israeli Prime Minister Benjaim Netanyahu put forward a video thanking Nikki Haley, the United States’ Ambassador to the United Nations, for vetoing an anti-Israel U.N. resolution.

The resolution, put forward by Egypt, would have rendered President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and his plan to eventually move the U.S. embassy there as “null and void” and prevented “the establishment of diplomatic missions” in Jerusalem.

But Haley prevented it from going into effect by wielding the U.S.’s veto power, and Netanyahu expressed his gratitude to her.

“On Hanukkah, you spoke like a Maccabi,” Netanyahu said in a video. “You lit a candle of truth. You dispel the darkness. One defeated the many. Truth defeated lies.”

When Haley issued the veto, she declared, “The United States will not be told by any country where we can put our embassy,” adding that “it’s scandalous to say we are putting back peace efforts.”

“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,” said Haley. “It should be an embarrassment to the remainder of the Security Council.”

Danny Danon, the Israeli U.N. ambassador, also criticized the resolution.

“While the Jewish people celebrate the holiday of Hanukkah that symbolizes the eternal connection to Jerusalem, there are people who think that they can rewrite history,” said Danon. “It’s time for all countries to recognize that Jerusalem always was and always will be the capital of the Jewish people and the capital of Israel.”

Before the U.S. used its veto power, 14 countries voted in favor of the resolution, including Britain and France.

Iran to continue missile program, calls Trump ‘featherbrained’

A ballistic missile seen at a military parade in Tehran on Sept. 22. Photo by Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Iran has vowed to continue its missile program and called President Trump “featherbrained” in light of his recent actions toward Iran.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) issued a statement that read, “Iran’s ballistic missile program will expand and it will continue with more speed in reaction to Trump’s hostile approach towards this revolutionary organization.”

On October 13, Trump announced that he was going to decertify the Iran nuclear deal and that his Treasury Department would slap the IRGC with sanctions for involvement in terror activity, although he did not explicitly designate them as a terror organization.

The IRGC denounced the sanctions in the statement.

“Imposing cruel sanctions against the Guards and hostile approach of the rogue and brute president [Trump] shows the failure of America and the Zionist regime’s wicked policies in the region,” the statement read.

The IRGC also called Trump “featherbrained.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif recently tweeted, “Iranians–boys, girls, men, women–are ALL IRGC; standing firm with those who defend us & the region against aggression & terror.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chastised Zarif in a video, telling the Iranian foreign minister to “delete your account.”

“I’m sure that ordinary Iranian mothers and fathers wouldn’t have blown up a Jewish community center in Argentina filled with little children, because that’s what the Revolutionary Guard did,” said Netanyahu. “I’m sure that ordinary Iranians want to live in peace and don’t want their government to shoot students in the streets, hang gays in cranes, torture journalists in prison.”

Nikki Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, recently warned of Iran’s “repeated ballistic missile launches.”

“When a rogue regime starts down the path of ballistic missiles, it tells us that we will soon have another North Korea on our hands,” said Haley.

Congress divided on Haley’s Iran sanctions proposal

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations NIkki Haley speaks to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference in Washington, U.S., March 27, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley delivered a forceful speech — followed by a Q&A session — at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) on Tuesday where she put forth the case for the Trump administration to exit the nuclear agreement with Iran. If President Donald Trump refuses to certify the nuclear deal, Haley suggested that the ball could be placed in Congress’ court allowing lawmakers to reintroduce nuclear sanctions against Tehran.

Lawmakers were split — primarily along on party lines — whether this would be the appropriate next step. Representative Tom Rice (R-SC) told Jewish Insider that he would “absolutely” back legislation to reimpose nuclear sanctions. “The deal that the Obama administration struck with Iran was very one-sided and unsatisfactory to begin with and I would look forward to any opportunity to re-examine that deal,” he explained. “As Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said, we can get a whole lot better deal, if we were more firm with Iran and I suspect that he is right.”

However, Democratic Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) urged a more cautious approach. “It will be a mistake if, in fact, the Iranians have continued to honor the agreement,” he noted. The Maryland lawmaker recently returned from a Congressional trip to Israel where he was informed by Israeli officials that Iran was abiding by the 2015 agreement. “My view is from everybody that I’ve talked to — including the IAEA and the Israelis — on the nuclear deal: they (Iran) are following the provisions of the agreement,” Hoyer said. Reintroducing the nuclear sanctions would highlight that the “US will not follow an agreement even though the other signatories are,” he added.

Across the aisle, Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) noted that he would appreciate the opportunity to reimpose the nuclear sanctions. “I don’t think they should have been taken off in the first place. I thought it was a very bad deal,” he said. “The Obama administration said we got a pause in their nuclear weapons. Look at what they are doing. Hezbollah is funded higher than they have ever been before.”

Yet, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) was skeptical of the administration’s new policy proposal. “The last time the Trump administration came to us they said that Iran is fully in compliance about a month ago,” he emphasized. Lynch argued that Haley making the case that Tehran was violating the deal was “inconsistent” with the White House’s recent public remarks and urged further study before resuming with additional sanctions.

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley lays out case for US leaving Iran deal

Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley testifies to the House Appropriations State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Subcommittee on the budget for the U.N. in Washington, D.C., on June 27. Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, in a comprehensive speech laid out a possible case for the United States to leave the Iran deal, although she said no decision had been made.

Haley’s argument, made Monday in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, was that the agreement was inextricably bound to other manifestations of Iran’s bad behavior, including its development of missiles, military adventurism and backing for terrorism.

“The deal drew an artificial line between the Iranian regime’s nuclear development and the rest of its lawless behavior,” she said of the 2015 pact, which trades sanctions relief for Iran for a rollback in its nuclear program.

The Obama administration, which negotiated the deal, said that by ending at least for now the threat of a nuclear Iran, the international community could more easily confront Iran for its rogue actions. The deal did not impinge on sanctions on Iran unrelated to its nuclear activities, and President Donald Trump has continued to oppose them like his Oval Office predecessor, Barack Obama.

Haley outlined possible scenarios for leaving the deal, including one that involves essentially deferring a decision to Congress, which under U.S. law oversees Iranian compliance with the deal.

Under U.S. law, she said, “We must consider not just the Iranian regime’s technical violations of the JCPOA,” referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan for Action, the deal’s formal name, but also its violation of U.N. resolutions and Iran’s history of aggression.

“We must consider the regime’s repeated, demonstrated hostility toward the United States,” Haley said. “We must consider its history of deception about its nuclear program. We must consider its ongoing development of ballistic missile technology. And we must consider the day when the terms of the JCPOA sunset. That’s a day when Iran’s military may very well already have the missile technology to send a nuclear warhead to the United States – a technology that North Korea only recently developed. In short, we must consider the whole picture, not simply whether Iran has exceeded the JCPOA’s limit on uranium enrichment.”

A frustration for Trump, who wants to kill the deal, is that U.N. inspectors continue to confirm that Iran is abiding by the deal. Trump’s top security advisers have counseled against quitting the deal, saying that would play into Iran’s efforts to make the United States responsible for any escalation in tensions.

If Trump refuses in October — the next deadline — to certify compliance, she said, “What happens next is significantly in Congress’s hands.”

Trump’s decertification “would signal one or more of the following three messages to Congress,” Haley said. “Either the administration believes Iran is in violation of the deal; or the lifting of sanctions against Iran is not appropriate and proportional to the regime’s behavior; or the lifting of sanctions is not in the U.S. national security interest.”

In those circumstances, she said, “Congress then has 60 days to consider whether to reimpose sanctions on Iran.”

Former Obama administration Iran hands mocked the speech, saying that however Trump frames abandonment of the deal, the U.S. will be blamed.

“No matter how convoluted this gets, the bottom line will be that the U.S. will be blamed for collapse,” Ilan Goldenberg, who worked on Iran and Israel policy for Obama, said on Twitter. “The reality is that if this is the tack Trump takes, he will be killing the deal, but trying to blame others.”

Daily Kickoff: Nikki Haley to State Dept, Dina Powell to UN? | David Remnick on “Fauda” | Inside the Solidaire network | Javanka repelled by DC elite

President Donald Trump, flanked by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (R) speaks to reporters after their meeting at Trump's golf estate in Bedminster, New Jersey, Aug. 11. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

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THE DAILY KUSHNER: “Exiles on Pennsylvania Avenue: How Jared and Ivanka Were Repelled by Washington’s Elite” by Sarah Ellison: “When I asked a longtime associate how Jared and Ivanka felt about their time in Washington, the first word uttered was “sacrificial.” It’s clear that, after an initial period of awe at the sheer power of their positions, Jared and Ivanka have been stung by the vitriol directed at them… “I haven’t had anything to do with them since they moved,” said one New York friend… When they lived in New York, Kushner used to remind Ivanka that “we’re in the zoo, but let’s try hard not to be part of the animals.” He often would add, “You want to be watching.” The friend noted that Kushner has traded up into a higher-powered circle: “He is rolling with the prince of Saudi Arabia and not the real-estate guys anymore.”

“Politics is new to Jared and Ivanka, but it isn’t just politics that they are navigating. They are in a new town that “punctures their self-esteem on a daily basis,” a New York friend of theirs told me. They know they can never have their New York life back as it existed before Donald Trump started his campaign, nor do they want to give up the power of their current positions in Washington. The future unfolding before them looks nothing like the future they may have imagined five years ago. Ivanka may be disingenuous when she says she “didn’t ask for this,” but she is right to say that she didn’t ask for this—that is, for the actual situation in which they find themselves: powerful, in a sense, and yet ineffectual; emotionally essential to Donald Trump, but lacking the skills to assist; impossible to fire and reluctant to leave; compromised ethically and perhaps legally; and facing reputational or familial harm no matter what they decide to do.” [VanityFair

SPOTLIGHT: “The Trouble With Ivanka’s Business Partner” by Ben Schreckinger: “[Ivanka] Trump’s relationship with [Moshe] Lax and the mountain of legal and financial troubles—reported here for the first time based on dozens of interviews and public records—raise serious questions about the first daughter’s judgment, even as she continues to serve as a powerful White House adviser… In March, Trump’s company announced it was discontinuing the Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry line to focus on a mass-market collection, leaving the current status of her business relationship with Lax unclear. Until his LinkedIn profile was taken down this week, it listed him as the current chairman of Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry.” [PoliticoMag; PageSix

JI INTERVIEW: Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) discussed President Trump’s response to the Charlottesville protests and his expectations of Trump fulfilling his campaign promises in an interview with JI’s Jacob Kornbluh. “There is no moral equivalency between people who associate themselves with the KKK and Nazism and those who are opposed to individuals who associate themselves with the KKK and Nazism,” Zeldin said with regards to Trump’s ‘both sides’ remark. “I condemn completely, in the strongest possible terms, anyone who in any way, shape, or form at all associates themselves with the evil bigotry, intolerance, and evil connected to the KKK and Nazism, and the President is in a unique role to play as President of the United States to be able to lead our nation in healing a divide that in many respects he inherited.”

Responding to Bret Stephens’ recent NYTimes’s op-ed, in which he questioned why Trump’s Jewish supporters are still sticking with him after failing to follow through on key promises, Zeldin emphasized: “There’s a lot of very positive victories that have taken place already that Trump’s political opposition refuses to acknowledge because they have pledged to resist, oppose, and obstruct this president on anything and everything saying you can’t work with the president ’cause if you work with him, you’re legitimizing his presidency. I don’t believe that the Iran deal should be recertified. I also believe that the President is going to move forward with his commitment to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and the administration is stating that it’s not a matter of if but when, and hopefully, that is done sooner rather than later.” Read the full interview here [JewishInsider]

JERUSALEM EMBASSY UPDATE: “Trump team, Netanyahu renew talks on US embassy move to Jerusalem” by Raoul Wootliff: “During that meeting (between Kushner and Netanyahu), the embassy move “was brought up by both sides as part of a productive broad conversation about a number of issues,” a US source familiar with the discussions said Sunday… “Needless to say, the administration’s policy is ‘when not if,’” the source added… A source in the Prime Minister’s Office… confirmed that the issue was discussed but, like their US counterparts, declined to comment on the details of the conversations.” [ToI]

ICYMI: Netanyahu told visiting Republican members of Congress earlier this month that the embassy relocation ‘could easily be done.’ [JewishInsider]

DEAL, ULTIMATELY: “In effort to revive peace talks, US asks PA to halt diplomatic offensive against Israel” by Daniel Siryoti and Erez Lin: “According to the Palestinian official, the Trump administration intends to formulate a diplomatic plan of action that will include a set timetable for the parties to discuss most of the conflict’s core issues. As stated, the administration has conditioned its efforts on the Palestinians’ “silence” on the diplomatic front against Israel. Abbas agreed in principle to Kushner’s request, but asked for Trump’s personal guarantee and commitment to the plan and the two-state vision. Kushner and Abbas decided that Trump and the PA president would meet at the annual gathering of the United Nations General Assembly in New York this coming September, and that during that meeting the U.S. president will promise to present the American road map for peace currently in the works… The Palestinian source told Israel Hayom that a meeting between all three leaders in New York was a possibility.” [IsraelHayom

“White House Official: Kushner Never Said Settlement Freeze Will Topple Netanyahu” by Amir Tibon: “A senior White House official strongly denied on Saturday a report in Arab newspaper al-Hayat which said that Jared Kushner… told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that Israel will not be asked to freeze settlement building because that could lead to a breakdown of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. “This is nonsense. This comment was never made.”” [Haaretz]

“Jared Kushner’s Mideast Peace Push Is Going Nowhere. That’s Why Israelis Love It” by Benny Avni: “Past American administrations jumped into the peace process pool before checking if there’s any water in it; we jumped after them and cracked our heads,” Dani Dayan, Israel’s consul general in New York, told The Daily Beast. He commended Kushner’s go-slow approach, saying, “Perhaps he’ll realize there’s no water in this pool, and so there’s no reason to jump in.” [DailyBeast]

REPORT — Netanyahu said set to meet Trump in the US in September: “The two are scheduled to meet on September 17 in New Jersey, likely at Trump’s National Bedminster Golf Club.” [ToI]

KAFE KNESSET — UN Chief on 3-Day Visit to Israel — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres arrived in Israel yesterday for his first visit to the region. His first meeting was last night at the King David Hotel with Jason Greenblatt who stayed in Jerusalem over the weekend after Jared Kushner’s visit last week. A senior Israeli official told Kafe Knesset that while Secretary Guterres “respects the US lead in the peace process and has no intention of replacing it, he wants to be involved in the process and help with whatever assistance he can.” The Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts are at the top of Guterres’s agenda for the trip, but Jerusalem has other plans and other burning issues to discuss. “The most pressing problem, the most important thing is Hezbollah and Syria,” PM Netanyahu told Guterres at the opening remarks of their meeting in the PMO. The PM raised Israeli discontent with the UNIFIL’s poor performance in south Lebanon (a cause which was recently embraced by the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, as well) and continuing the campaign against Iran’s growing presence in Syria. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here[JewishInsider]

“Hezbollah: Iran’s Middle East Agent, Emissary and Hammer” by Ben Hubbard: “While Hezbollah has extended its regional reach, it has made its greatest foreign investments — and paid the highest costs — in Syria… Its leaders have portrayed the war as a conspiracy by Israel, the United States and Saudi Arabia to use extremists to destroy Syria and weaken the pro-Iranian axis in the region. This, in their view, makes their intervention an extension of the “resistance” against Israel. But that argument falls flat for many in the region, who see a military force built to fight Israel turning its guns on fellow Muslims… Hezbollah went to Syria aware that if Mr. Assad fell, it would lose its only Arab state sponsor and the weapons pipeline from Iran. So Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s secretary general, consulted with officials in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, and they made a commitment to back Mr. Assad.” [NYTimes]

FOGGY BOTTOM, ROCK BOTTOM: “Rex Tillerson says Trump ‘speaks for himself’ on values” by Anne Gearan: “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has become the latest and highest-ranking administration official to distance himself from President Trump, saying in a Sunday interview that the president “speaks for himself” in his response to racial hatred and violence.”[WashPost]

“Trump frustration with Tillerson rising fast” by Jonathan Swan: “President Trump has been growing increasingly frustrated with his Secretary of State… Tillerson’s jaw-dropping comments on TV today will likely only worsen their relationship…  We’ve been hearing for weeks, from sources who’ve spoken to the president, that Trump is getting more and more fed up with Tillerson, who has still yet to staff his agency.” [Axios]

One possible scenario for replacing Tillerson: “U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley moves to Foggy Bottom. Then Deputy Secretary National Security Adviser Dina Powell could be promoted to Haley’s job in New York, where Powell’s family lives.” [Axios]

INSIDE THE ADMIN: “Trump confronts unprecedented public rebuke by Gary Cohn after Charlottesville” by Damian Paletta and Philip Rucker: “Privately, a White House official said, Trump was furious about Cohn’s public airing… On Wednesday evening, Cohn complained loudly about Trump while dining with friends at a Long Island restaurant called the Frisky Oyster. Cohn explained to his companions — in a loud voice overheard by others — that he had to be careful not to give Trump too much lead time about some new ideas because the president could disclose the information prematurely and upend the planning process… “Until [Friday] morning, Gary Cohn was the overall front-runner, in my determination,” to be the nominee for Fed chair, said Alan Blinder, a former Fed vice chairman. “I don’t think so anymore.”” [WashPost

“Sebastian Gorka Is Forced Out as White House Adviser, Officials Say” by Maggie Haberman and Matt Stevens: “The White House, seeking to blunt Mr. Gorka’s claim that he had resigned, put out an unattributed statement saying that he no longer works in the administration, but that he did not resign.” [NYTimes]

“Gorka comes to defense of McMaster over stance on Israel” by Michael Wilner: “I’m not here to feed stories of palace intrigue – I hate that, and I’m still loyal to the president and his agenda,” Gorka said. But “I have never heard Gen. McMaster say things that are anti-Israeli. I’ve never heard that.” [JPost

IRAN DEAL: “If Report Says Iran Is Abiding by Nuclear Deal, Will Trump Heed It?” by Gardiner Harris: “A spokesman for AIPAC… refused to answer questions about whether the organization now wanted it scrapped. Mark Dubowitz, chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies… said he did not want the deal summarily scrapped… “I’ve shared these ideas with senior people in the administration, and I think there’s an openness to look at a third way,” he said… Simply pulling out of the deal, Mr. Dubowitz said, “would allow Iran to play the aggrieved victim and alienate the Europeans.” The importance of decertification, he said, is that it would help “to build a rap sheet” against small Iranian violations… But Aaron David Miller… called Mr. Dubowitz’s strategy a “Trojan horse that unwinds the deal.” “ [NYTimes• White House ‘pressuring’ intelligence officials to find Iran in violation of nuclear deal [Guardian]

ANTI-BOYCOTT ACT: Gillibrand talks anti-BDS bill at a town hall in Kingston: “I will protect your free speech rights to the end of the Earth, you will never have to buy something you don’t want to,” Gillibrand remarked, in response to a question about the Israeli boycott bill, intended to impose sanctions to corporations who support international coalitions against Israel… “There has been grave concern about that bill, until they fix it, I will not be on that bill,” she said. Gillibrand also said that she does not believe corporations should have free speech, because they are not people.” [MidHudsonNews]

Rep. Zeldin tells us… “I would encourage any of the Democrats who have withdrawn support to seriously reconsider getting back into the ‘yes’ column because it is a huge concern for our students on college campuses who are being exposed to anti-Semitism and hate through the rising tide of the BDS movement. It’s really important to combat the rising tide of anti-Semitism and BDS around our country for this legislation to pass.”

2020 WATCH: “As Trump struggles, some Republicans talking 2020 challenge” by Steve Peoples and Thomas Beaumont: “[Mark] Cuban… sees an opportunity for someone to take down the Republican president, who is increasingly viewed as divisive and incompetent even within his own party. “His base won’t turn on him, but if there is someone they can connect to and feel confident in, they might turn away from him,” Cuban told The Associated Press. “The door is wide open. It’s just a question of who can pull it off.”” [AP

LongRead: “Cash, Speed, and Trust: A Bay Area–based network of wealthy progressives is testing a new model for funding the resistance: Give fast and get out of the way” by Lauren Smiley: “For the Solidaire network and its founder—a 34-year-old oil heiress and newcomer to San Francisco named Leah Hunt-Hendrix—the Krasner primary proved that relatively small amounts of money can have a big impact if given to an on-the-ground organization with deep local ties. Solidaire has 150 members across the country, many of them young inheritors of wealth like Hunt-Hendrix.. A major part of Solidaire’s mission is to rapidly—meaning within days or even hours—fund frontline organizers of the left. In a time when a vast majority of American philanthropy goes to elite universities, hospitals, and foundations (that is, entities that are already pretty rich), Solidaire instead funnels money to organizations that either have little access to capital or are deemed too risky and too radical by most philanthropists.”

Overlap with George Soros: “Solidaire has up to 20 overlapping members with the Democracy Alliance, Soros’s secretive national network of super-donors committed to giving at least $200,000 a year to liberal causes. But Solidaire skews younger, has a lower giving threshold at $50,000 a year.”

Leah’s upbringing: “Hunt-Hendrix makes for an unlikely radical. She is the granddaughter of H.L. Hunt, the billionaire wildcatter of the East Texas oil fields, and among the country’s wealthiest individuals when he died in 1974, a few years before Leah was born. Leah [Hunt-Hendrix] and her five siblings grew up in two cultures: listening to Anita Hill and Gloria Steinem speak at salons convened in their family’s Fifth Avenue home, then spending summers in Dallas at their grandparents’ white-colonnaded estate, Mount Vernon… Heading back to Manhattan for high school… she started to look askance at the Upper East Side charity galas, observing that the elite didn’t seem so much empowered by their money as enslaved to appearing ever richer. “Charity” was aimed at being a palliative to the poor, who remained poor.”

“Turned off, Hunt-Hendrix set off to study politics at Duke and then went on to a PhD program at Princeton, where Cornel West was one of her advisers. Studying in the Middle East during grad school, Hunt-Hendrix was invigorated by the weekly Palestinian protests of the West Bank wall from 2006 to 2009. “That’s when she changed,” Hunt recalls. “That’s when Leah saw what could happen when people rose up.” (At the same time, Hunt was herself growing more radicalized: She was arrested for the first time in her life, on the lawn of the Bush White House, in a 2008 Iraq war protest.).” [SanFranciscoMag]

** Good Monday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email Editor@JewishInsider.com **

FIRST LOOK: “How Do You Make a TV Show Set in the West Bank?” by David Remnick: “When [Lior] Raz and [Avi] Issacharoff were interviewed by Dan Senor, a former spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, at an AIPAC convention in Washington, D.C., they were cheered like rock stars on a triumphant tour… Raz is taking one meeting after another in Hollywood, and Yes has received a stack of offers from abroad to remake “Fauda” in different languages and settings: in Afghanistan, on the front lines of the Mexican drug trade, in operations against an American white-pride group. Raz is counting on moving his family to Hollywood soon. The “Fauda” cast, too, is relishing its emergence from obscurity. Hisham Suleiman, who plays the lead terrorist in “Fauda,” has become a celebrity at home and beyond…. When I was in Tel Aviv, he visited the city market and the evening news showed footage of him being applauded, complimented, kissed. “It’s crazy,” he told me. “This happens wherever I go!”

“Issacharoff met Raz when they were both young and hanging out in the same bars in Jerusalem. In an early episode of “Fauda,” one of the soldiers in the unit has a love affair with a bartender, who is later killed in a suicide-bombing attack. The episode is dedicated to Iris Azulai, who was Raz’s girlfriend when he was in the Army. “She was my first love,” Raz said. “She was one of the most beautiful women in Jerusalem, an amazing person. I’d been so insecure. I couldn’t believe she’d date me. All my self-confidence in life came from her.” One October morning in 1990, in the Baka neighborhood of Jerusalem, a young Palestinian, Amir Abu Sarhan, a resident of a village near Bethlehem, attacked Azulai, yelling “Allahu akbar! ” as he stabbed her to death with a fifteen-inch knife. She was eighteen. An off-duty police officer heard the screaming, drew his gun, and shot the Palestinian to wound him. He hit him in both legs. But, when the officer came over to arrest him, Sarhan had the strength to pull another knife and stab him to death.” [NewYorker

“Israelis log out of high-tech jobs for a life offline” by Delphine Matthieussent: “[Dotan] Goshen, a graduate of Israel’s prestigious Technion technological institute, made a dramatic change of course after his boss called him at home one evening and berated him for not devoting himself sufficiently to his work — even though he was putting in at least 50 hours a week. The following day, the 37-year-old father of three handed in his resignation and set out to realise his dream of producing organic fruit and vegetables. He is one of a growing number of Israelis who entered the flourishing high-tech industry at a young age before abandoning high-flying jobs and good salaries for a lifestyle more suited to their ideals.” [AFP

“Conan O’ Brien is in Tel Aviv, and Israelis are loving it” by Ruth Eglash: “Throughout the weekend, Israelis filled social media with messages to the comedian and photos of chance encounters with him… Even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is scheduled to meet O’Brien in Jerusalem on Monday, joined in with the national obsession posting a greeting on his Twitter account… On Saturday, Conan posted a video on Facebook summing up his impressions. Standing at an overlook in Jaffa with Tel Aviv in the background, he describes tasting “shakshuka,” the popular egg-and-tomato breakfast dish, and drinking a Goldstar beer… O’Brien got people here laughing before he had even landed, posting a video from inside the bathroom on an El Al flight, saying he was brushing up on his Hebrew.” [WashPost; Facebook]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Community hard hit by Hurricane Harvey flooding ” by Michael Duke: “Linda Burger, CEO of Jewish Family Service of Houston, lives on the other side of Brays Bayou. The Burgers also re-flooded this weekend. By 7 a.m. on Sunday, the first floor of their home had taken in water. “We are safe, but we have more water than last time,” Burger told the JHV. With roads impassable, offices closed and rain still falling on Sunday morning, Burger said that JFS is working remotely to return phone calls to those in need… Meanwhile, the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC is prepared to serve as an emergency supplies donation and distribution site as soon as the storm lifts. Burger said JFS will have case workers on site at the J to help expedite the recovery process.” [JHVOnline]

PROFILE: “Rachel Zabar, Scion of Saul, Eschews Lox for Vintage Couture” by Scene Stealers: “[Rachel Zabar] grew up a couple of blocks away from Zabar’s, which sits at the corner of 80th Street and Broadway. Her father, Saul, and uncle Stanley took over the store from their immigrant parents, who founded it in 1934. Ms. Zabar said her father insisted that his children work in the family business from a young age. “There was no arguing,” Ms. Zabar said. Saul Zabar, 89, remembers it slightly differently. “We let her make her own choices,” he said by phone. “The store was never part of her. We knew that from a very early age.” He added, “She was artistic. Even as a child, she had a natural talent for color and style.”” [NYTimes

DESSERT: “Why One Nashville Restaurant Made The Rare Choice To Go Kosher” by Emily Siner: “For people in Nashville who keep Kosher, following Jewish dietary laws, there’s almost nowhere to dine out. One of the only Kosher-certified establishments was Woodlands, an Indian restaurant on West End — and that closed earlier this year. But now another business has decided to go through the extensive process: Avo, a vegan restaurant housed in an old shipping container off of Charlotte Avenue. Avo’s owner was skeptical at first. But after the restaurant received its certification in mid-August, any headache to get there has already paid off.” [NashvillePublicRadio]

BIRTHDAYS: Billionaire technology executive, social activist and author, she is the COO of Facebook since 2008 having been VP of global sales at Google (2001-2008), Sheryl Sandberg turns 48… Independent international trade and development professional, Bernard Kupferschmid turns 86… Professor Emeritus of quantum physics at Tel Aviv University, Yakir Aharonov turns 85… Assistant Vice President and special counsel to the President of Queens College of the City University of New York, Jane Denkensohn turns 69… Israeli soldier held captive for over 5 years (2006-2011) by Hamas, Gilad Shalit turns 31…

Gratuity not included. We love receiving news tips but we also gladly accept tax deductible tips. 100% of your donation will go directly towards improving Jewish Insider. Thanks! [PayPal]

Trump’s lack of State Department appointments can hurt Israel, experts say

Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks to the U.N. Security Council as it meets to discuss the recent ballistic missile launch by North Korea at U.N. headquarters in New York on July 5. Photo by Mike Segar/Reuters

Carmel Shama HaCohen, Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, is second to none in his admiration for the Trump administration’s United Nations envoy, Nikki Haley. In fact, he’d like to clone her.

Shama HaCohen appreciated Haley’s efforts in trying to head off last week’s vote by UNESCO’s Heritage Committee naming Hebron’s Old City an endangered heritage site. And he believes the joint U.S.-Israeli bid to kill a resolution Israel saw as one-sided might have succeeded had a U.S. official of Haley’s caliber been onsite in Krakow, where the vote took place. (Haley conducted her efforts from New York.)

“We didn’t have the spirit that was strong enough,” Shama HaCohen said in an interview.

Crystal Nix-Hines, the Obama administration’s UNESCO envoy, left on Jan. 20. The Trump administration’s failure to replace her is part of a broader slowdown in naming top State Department positions. According to reports, fewer than 10 of the approximately 200 State Department positions that require nomination and confirmation have been filled.

Shama HaCohen, a blunt-speaking former Likud member of Knesset, said the absence of Israel’s most important ally at UNESCO was having far-reaching effects on defending his country.

“As soon as you have an ambassador, you have an ability to create a relationship with Washington, to advance an agenda,” he said. The absence of envoys “harms our efforts” to defend Israel, he said. “The United States is far from a capacity to bring her full complement to defend Israel.”

Shama Hacohen is not the only official on the front lines of defending Israel concerned about under-staffing among the U.S. diplomatic corps.

“The issue of staffing at the State Department is critical — at UNESCO and in the myriad other areas where U.S. leadership is crucial,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the Anti-Defamation League’s CEO, told JTA. “While there was a good-faith effort by Ambassador Nikki Haley and other members of the administration at UNESCO last week, the fact that there was no ambassador on the ground had an impact.”

For months, a broad array of Jewish groups and lawmakers from both parties have decried the Trump administration’s failure to fill another role: the State Department’s anti-Semitism monitor.

“We are also concerned by the Secretary of State’s seeming reluctance to appoint a special envoy to monitor and combat Anti-Semitism, which plays a critical role in raising awareness and action against anti-Semitism and anti-Israel actions globally,” Greenblatt said. “These positions should be filled as soon as possible.”

The understaffing and how it affects Israel-related diplomacy has also caught the attention of Republicans in Congress.

We “need more appointees in place,” said Kevin Bishop, a spokesman for Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of the Jewish state’s most ardent defenders in the Senate, when asked about Israel-related diplomacy. He pointed to remarks by Graham on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday: “Secretary (Rex) Tillerson needs to staff up the State Department and use it wisely,” Graham said, referring to a range of areas where he said it was AWOL. “I’m so worried about the State Department.”

A State Department official told JTA that the Trump administration remained committed to defending Israel in every international forum.

“We have been clear that the United States will oppose any effort to delegitimize or isolate Israel, wherever it occurs. We continue to do that,” said the official. “With respect to staffing, we continue to have a deep bench of experienced career professionals serving in key positions that are highly capable and able to help the Secretary lead the Department. We will continue the process of exploring and evaluating ways to improve organizational effectiveness and efficiency, including optimizing the impact of available resources.”

The White House has blamed Senate Democrats for obstructing nominations, noting in a release this week that Trump’s nominees are on average taking longer to clear the Senate than those of his predecessors. But Trump has also been slow to nominate: A June 29 count by the Washington Post showed that of the 200-plus State Department positions filled by nomination, Trump had formally nominated just 20 and that the Senate had confirmed eight.

Dan Shapiro, until January the Obama administration’s envoy to Israel, said career professionals were no substitute for diplomats who had the confidence of the administration.

“When in the past, during the Obama administration when we were fighting an anti-Israel resolution to recognize a Palestinian state, it was all hands on deck,” he said. “We would have ambassadors in capitals raising it, we would have senior officials, secretaries and under secretaries weighing with counterparts.”

Without the personal relationships diplomats cultivate with their counterparts in other countries, Shapiro said, “you don’t have the tools available, you can’t get to the most senior officials in other governments to be engaged to rally other countries to stand with us.”

Shapiro said the lack of appointees is hindering another issue Israel says is critical: Pressing the Palestinians to stop paying families of people jailed or killed while carrying out attacks on Israelis.

“We should be engaging many other governments at senior levels to urge them to let the Palestinians know we think it’s unacceptable,” he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is generally pleased with the Trump administration’s priorities, and appreciates that Trump himself raised the payments-to-prisoners issue in his meetings with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Indeed, Shama HaCohen said that part of his frustration was that the career diplomats in the U.S. UNESCO office were carrying out Obama-era policies seen as friendlier to UNESCO — not because they sought to undermine Trump, but because it was the only guidance they had in hand.

Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice president of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said the UNESCO vote might have been an outlier: The Obama administration stopped paying dues in 2011 because UNESCO recognized “Palestine” as a state, and as a result the United States lost its capacity to vote, diminishing its influence at the body in any case.

“We take the UNESCO issues very seriously and welcome the strong statements by Ambassador Haley,” Hoenlein told JTA.

Daniel Mariaschin, the executive vice president of B’nai B’rith International, said that the lack of staffing was a problem, but that Israel’s overall obstacle at the U.N. and its affiliated bodies was institutional bias.

“There’s no question, having ambassadors with the worldview of Nikki Haley, building relationships, is important,” he said. “But automatic majorities, block voting which is built in the U.N. infrastructure. that’s really where these problems lie.”

Haley vows to veto any Palestinian from serving in senior UN role

Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley testifies to the House Appropriations State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Subcommittee on the budget for the U.N. in Washington, D.C., on June 27. Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley promised to block the appointment of any Palestinian serving in an influential UN position on Tuesday.

[This story originally appeared on jewishinsider.com]

During a hearing before the House Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, Haley was asked in a heated exchange by Representative David Price (D-NC) about the administration’s decision to veto the appointment of former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to the role of UN head of political mission to Libya in February. “Ron Dermer, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., called Mr. Fayyad a peace partner. The first Palestinian leader, he said, in a century who cared about the Palestinians,” Price noted. “Was Mr. Fayyad denied simply because of his nationality? Would any Palestinian have been blocked? As you know, this isn’t a state representative.”

Haley responded by acknowledging Fayyad’s credentials for the Libya role. “I will tell you that Mr. Fayyad is as you say, he’s very well qualified and is a good, decent person. I’ve heard great things about him. However, “it was not about Mr. Fayyad,” Haley explained. “It’s about the fact that the U.S. does not recognize Palestine… And because that is how he was presented, we did oppose that position.”

The North Carolina lawmaker further prodded, “Would not that reasoning exclude anybody of Palestinian nationality by virtue of their status of the Palestinian Authority, certainly something considerably short of a state? Are we just saying that no Palestinian need apply?”

Haley then confirmed that the U.S. would not support the appointment of any Palestinian individual until they are formally recognized by the U.S. as a state. “If we don’t recognize Palestine as a state, we needed to acknowledge also that we could not sit there and put a Palestinian forward until the US changed its determination on that front,” she explained.

During the hearing, Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, a Republican from Nebraska, also criticized Haley for taking this position. “I didn’t see his (Fayyad) potential representation to the Libyan issue as some sort of proxy for the declaration of the Palestinian state,” Fortenberry said. “He’s not representing that. He is, if you will, a citizen of the world and extraordinarily qualified on many fronts and deeply respected by the Israelis.”

While serving as Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Fayyad was widely praised by Republican officials and officials of the George W. Bush Administration for his anti-corruption efforts and moderate positions on the peace process. Fayyad also opposed unilateral steps taken by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations because he argued that they wouldn’t advance the prospects for peace.

At the hearing, Haley used the platform to criticize the UN peacekeeping body in southern Lebanon (UNIFIL) for turning a blind eye to Hezbollah’s growing presence south of the Litani River in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. She also attacked the UN Human Rights Council for its bias against Israel.

Daily Kickoff: Nikki ‘Hurricane’ Haley lands in Israel | Congress on Qatar’s Hamas ties | ‘Israel’s astonishing ’67 concession’ | Lester Crown BDay

Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, in Jerusalem on June 7. Photo by Debbie Hill/Reuters

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TOP QUOTE — David Brooks writing in the NYTimes: “A ridiculously disproportionate percentage of the Giving Pledge philanthropists are Jewish.”[NYTimes]

–Rabbi David Wolpe adds: “Judaism teaches giving. No better system has ever been devised to produce generosity.” [Facebook]

HAPPENING TODAY ON THE HILL: At 2PM EDT, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein are co-hosting a bi-country simultaneous event to honor the 50th anniversary to the reunification of Jerusalem with live video between the U.S. Capitol and the Knesset. The event — organized by Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer — will also feature remarks from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. [LiveStream]

SCENE LAST NIGHT: American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad), led by Rabbi Levi Shemtov, held their annual Lamplighter Awards dinner at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in DC. Honorees included House Speaker Paul Ryan, World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva, and former DC Mayor Anthony Williams. One notable bipartisan highlight of the evening featured Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer introducing Speaker Ryan. Hoyer thanked Ryan for his service and leadership to the country and noted that both he and the Speaker are ‘institutionalists’ who respect the traditions and decorum of the Congress. Ryan returned the compliment explaining that “among both Republicans and Democrats, Steny Hoyer’s word is gold.”

Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer also delivered remarks focusing on the change in US policy towards Iran and at the UN. “Those UN votes against us are a product of the past. Any remaining votes are like the Japanese soldier in WWII stranded on an island in the Philippines who wasn’t told the war was over… Although you don’t read about it everyday in the mainstream press, Israel is less isolated than it has ever been. The critical thing we needed was a tailwind from the US and now we have that in the form of Hurricane Haley, along with Hurricane Trump.”

SPOTTED: UAE Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Rep. David Kustoff (R-TN), Rhoda Dermer, Howard Friedman, Dov Zakheim, Nancy Jacobson, Lisa Spies, Charlie Spies, Nick Muzin, Tevi Troy, Kami Troy, William Daroff, Steve Rabinowitz, Aaron Keyak, Ezra Friedlander, Daniel Mariaschin, Dan Glickman, Michael Landau, Jonny Fluger, Jeanie Milbauer, Bill Knapp, Robbie Greenblum, Michael Herson, Jeff Mendelsohn, Manette Mayberg, Tom Kahn, Azerbaijan’s Ambassador Elin Suleymanov, Bulgarian Ambassador Tihomir Stoytchev, Eddie Sugar, Jeremy Furchtgott, Harris Vederman, Ariana Kaufman, Jennie Shulkin, Asher Perez.

ALSO LAST NIGHT, “Vice President Mike Pence headlined a fundraising effort Tuesday to build a war chest to protect Republican House members as both parties gird for the midterm election next year. The event attended by Pence and House leaders honored Las Vegas residents Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson, GOP mega-donors to the National Republican Congressional Committee. The Tuesday NRCC fundraising dinner at the Willard InterContinental Washington hotel requested a contribution of $35,000 per couple.” [ReviewJournal]

PRESIDENT-IN-LAW: “Trump Jokes Jared Kushner Is ‘More Famous Than Me’” by Vivian Salama: “The last person President Donald Trump joked was becoming more famous than him was James Comey. Months later, he abruptly fired the FBI director… So when Trump threw out the same joke Tuesday about his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the Twitter universe questioned whether it was an omen. Trump hosted the Senate and House Republican leadership at the White House… While thanking participants for their efforts to advance Trump’s political agenda, he stopped at Kushner, who this week, is featured on the cover of Time. “Jared has actually become more famous than me,” Trump said, prompting laughter from the group and a grin from Kushner. “I’m a little bit upset about that.”” [AP]

From WH pool report: “Rep. Steve Scalise turned to Kushner and said ‘that’s a badge of honor’ as Kushner smiled and kept his hands clasped in front of him.”

“Jared Kushner’s family is a legend in this Belarus town” by Cnaan Liphshiz: 
“Of course I am very proud that there is someone from Novogrudok in the White House,” said Boris Semyonov, a 57-year-old businessman, when asked about the subject last week… “I am waiting for him to visit us.” … “The Kushners were a well-off family that, before the war, owned several shops in the center, was known to many people here,” said Marina Yarashuk, director of the Museum of History and Regional Studies in Novogrudok… “Around here, the Kushners are a big deal, with or without Trump.” [JTA

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION — “US suspects Russian hackers planted fake news behind Qatar crisis” by Evan Perez and Shimon Prokupecz: “US investigators believe Russian hackers breached Qatar’s state news agency and planted a fake news report that contributed to a crisis among the US’ closest Gulf allies… The Qatari government has said a May 23 news report on its Qatar News Agency attributed false remarks to the nation’s ruler that appeared friendly to Iran and Israel and questioned whether President Donald Trump would last in office. Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told CNN the FBI has confirmed the hack and the planting of fake news… On Tuesday, Trump tweeted criticism of Qatar that mirrors that of the Saudis and others in the region who have long objected to Qatar’s foreign policy… Hours after Trump’s tweets, the US State Department said Qatar had made progress on stemming the funding of terrorists but that there was more work to be done.” [CNN]

“Trump Joins the Campaign Against Qatar” by Blake Hounshell: “During the president’s recent meeting in Saudi Arabia with Sheikh Tamim [bin Hamad Al Thani], Trump was publicly effusive in his praise of Qatar. “We’ve been friends for a long time,” he said during a pool spray, “and our relationship is extremely good.” But privately, I’m told, he complained about Qatar’s support for Hamas. It’s not clear how Sheikh Tamim responded, but one person familiar with the conversation said it was not nearly as friendly as Trump’s other encounters with Gulf leaders. Another person briefed on the meeting said the Qataris were puzzled by the exchange, and asked if there were anything specific they could do to be more helpful.” [Politico]

REACTIONS ON THE HILL — by Aaron Magid: Representative Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) told Jewish Insider, “Anybody that supports Hamas is supporting a terrorist organization and we need to take decisive steps to address that. It’s part of the discussion to let them know that this is unacceptable and that we want them to be a peaceful ally in the region and work with their neighbors and us.”

Striking a similar tone, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) called Qatar’s backing of the Palestinian terror group “outrageous.” The Tennessee lawmaker added, “We need to reevaluate our relationship with any nation that is engaging in state sponsoring of terrorism.”

Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD): “Qatar is trying to play all sides of the game here and they may have been caught finally. But, we got to be careful because the US has some important assets there that assist us in the fight against terror.”

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) contended that the President’s public attack of Doha was unhelpful to America’s national interests. “To not recognize the fact that we have 10,000 American troops based in Doha and he didn’t actually factor that before he shuoted out his opinion from his Twitter account is fairly disturbing. We should do it through diplomatic channels and official channels instead of using Twitter.”

In contrast, Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) emphasized that President Trump, like all US citizens has a right to his opinion and found no problem with his Twitter criticism. Calling Qatar’s support of Hamas “super problematic,” the Texas lawmaker noted, “George Bush said it after 9/11: no matter whether you house terrorists or a hotbed for terrorists, we are coming after you.” Full report here [JewishInsider]

“Why the Saudi-Qatar rift could actually be about … Israel” by Jake Novak: “In the days leading up to the announcement of the Saudi-Qatari diplomatic freeze, reports began surfacing in the Israeli and Arab press that Riyadh was pushing Qatar to end its relationship with Hamas. And the Saudis are well aware that if Qatar cuts off Hamas, Hamas probably wouldn’t survive. Qatar’s refusal to do so immediately may have been the last straw for the Saudis who have been emboldened to at least appear to step up their anti-terror efforts after President Donald Trump’s visit to Riyadh last month.” [CNBC]

Ben Rhodes‏ surfaces to tweet: “Given how Trump is going, including full embrace of Saudi worldview, very real and dangerous risk of escalation with Iran.” [Twitter]

“In Geneva Speeches, Nikki Haley Casts U.S. as Rights Champion” by Nick Cumming-Bruce and Somini Sengupta: “The American ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki R. Haley, took a swipe on Tuesday at Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, criticized the United Nations for what she called its anti-Israel bias and insisted that the Trump administration would champion human rights… “America does not seek to leave the Human Rights Council,” Ms. Haley said [in a speech at the Graduate Institute of Geneva]. “We seek to re-establish the council’s legitimacy.” Pressed by the audience, she would not commit to staying or leaving.” [NYTimes; WashPost]

KAFE KNESSET — Queen Haley lands in Israel — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Early this morning, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley landed in Israel. Haley was greeted by her Israeli counterpart, Ambassador Danny Danon, who will be accompanying her during most of the visit. Haley’s first meeting was with the Israeli PM Netanyahu, who expressed his deep gratitude for her “standing by Israel and the truth.” The warm embrace of Ambassador Haley was apparent in every meeting she has had in Israel so far. “People appreciate the truth,” Bibi told Haley. “We have an ancient Hebrew saying that when people tell the truth, you can sense it and people feel it. They not only understand it, they feel it. And we feel it.”

Haley told Netanyahu she is thrilled by the reactions. “If there’s anything I have zero tolerance for, it is bullying, and the UN behaved so brutally toward Israel simply because it can. We are starting to see a change. I think they know that they cannot go on responding as they have until now, they feel that the tone has changed.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, who also attended the meeting, gave Haley a necklace with a gold pendant of a Menorah symbol which was found in excavations in the City of David. President Rivlin, in Haley’s next meeting, echoed the same warm sentiments. “With your support, we see the beginning of a new era. Israel is no longer alone in the United Nations, Israel is no longer the punching bag of the United Nations,” he told her. Haley then said that she feels “a bit embarrassed because all I do is tell the truth. The UN has been abusing Israel for a long time and we will not let it happen anymore.” Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

HEARD YESTERDAY — State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert in her first on-camera press briefing: “Middle East peace is something that’s very important to this administration. The President and the Secretary have both said they recognize that it will not be easy, that both sides will be forced to compromise. The President has made this one of his top priorities, and we are willing to work with both of those entities to try to get them to come together and make some – and to finally bring about Middle East peace.” [CSPAN]

“Obama’s Detailed Plans for Mideast Peace Revealed – and How Everything Fell Apart” by Amir Tibon: “This is perhaps the most dramatic part of the document, stating that “the new secure and recognized international borders between Israel and Palestine will be negotiated based on the 1967 lines with mutually-agreed swaps whose size and location will be negotiated, so that Palestine will have viable territory corresponding in size to the territory controlled by Egypt and Jordan before June 4, 1967, with territorial contiguity in the West Bank…” Many U.S. and Israeli officials told Haaretz that Netanyahu was aware that this paragraph, which effectively means Israeli acceptance of the 1967 borders as a basis for negotiations, would appear in Kerry’s framework. According to these sources, Netanyahu was willing to enter final-status negotiations based on these words. But he had one reservation, which is indeed mentioned in the U.S. document: He wanted to avoid direct usage of the words “territorial contiguity.” [Haaretz]

DRIVING THE WEEK: “Trump, furious and frustrated, gears up to ‘punch back’ at Comey testimony” by Robert Costa, Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker: “Alone in the White House in recent days, President Trump — frustrated and defiant — has been spoiling for a fight, according to his confidants and associates… Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor and criminal law expert whose television commentary on the Russia probe has caught the Trump team’s attention, said he understands why the president would be motivated to speak out to counter [James] Comey’s testimony. “Every lawyer would tell the president not to tweet, not to react,” Dershowitz said. “But he’s not listening. This is typical. I tell my clients all the time not to talk and they simply disregard it. It’d very hard to tell a very wealthy, very powerful man not to tweet. He thinks, ‘I tweeted my way to the presidency,’ and he’s determined to tweet.”” [WashPost]  

Famed Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz: There are people in the White House ‘trying everything to try and get him to stop tweeting’[BusinessInsider]

PROFILE: “Marc Kasowitz, ‘Toughest of the Tough Guys,’ Stands Beside Trump” by Andrew Ross Sorkin: “Starting in 2006, [Marc E.] Kasowitz’s firm spent years going after the hedge fund managers Steven A. Cohen, Dan Loeb and James S. Chanos on behalf of Fairfax Financial Holdings, claiming they had engaged in a “bear raid” to drive down the company’s stock. The case, after 11 years of back and forth, which judges described as “grappling with a lion’s fearsome hide,” was dismissed… In a separate drama, Mr. Kasowitz has played on both sides of Wall Street’s biggest fighter: Carl C. Icahn. In the 1990s, Mr. Kasowitz worked for Bennett S. LeBow, who owned Liggett Group, one of the big-five tobacco companies. Mr. LeBow and Mr. Icahn, working with Mr. Kasowitz, tried, unsuccessfully, to take over RJR Nabisco… Years later, Mr. Kasowitz’s firm was on the other side of Mr. Icahn in a dispute over casinos. The client? Mr. Trump, along with his daughter Ivanka.” [NYTimes

SPECIAL ELECTION WATCH — “Handel, Ossoff clash in Georgia special election debate” by Elena Schneider:“[Republican Karen] Handel also attacked [Jon] Ossoff for his support of the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear deal, calling Iran “one of the biggest threats.” When pressed on striking a nuclearized Iran, Ossoff said that with military force, “there are complexities involved that a hypothetical cannot fully encompass,” but if Iran poses an imminent threat, “then we should use force to prevent them from striking our allies.”” [Politico

** Good Wednesday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email Editor@JewishInsider.com **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: The Silicon Valley Billionaires Remaking America’s Schools [NYTimes] • Steve Ballmer Says Tech Firms Should Be as Accountable as NBA Teams [Backchannel]Silverstein’s Tal Kerret on the future of Downtown’s retail and office markets [TRD] • ASRR Capital teams up with Israeli partners to buy Surfside site for $8.8M [TRD] • Developer Klein Enterprises pitches 400-seat restaurant, amphitheater for Broadway Market complex [BizJournals]

SPOTLIGHT: “Cadre collects $65 million in Series C funding” by Connie Loizos: “Cadre, a three-year-old, New York-based real estate startup, has raised $65 million in Series C funding led by Andreessen Horowitz… Ryan Williams, a Goldman Sachs and Blackstone alum, cofounded Cadre along with Joshua Kushner and Jared Kushner… The deal marks the latest in small but growing string of real-estate-related bets for Andreessen Horowitz, whose general partner (and former OpenTable CEO) Jeff Jordan led the deal.” [TC]

’67 ARTICLES: “The Astonishing Israeli Concession of 1967” by Yossi Klein Halevi: “The astonishing, untold story of the battle for Jerusalem was how ill-prepared Israel was for the most mythic battle of its history: The paratroopers’ conquest of East Jerusalem and the Old City, including the two sites holiest to Judaism, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. Even more astonishing was the Israeli decision, at the moment of victory, to concede sovereignty over the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site. The Jewish people had just returned to its holiest site, from which it had been denied access for centuries, only to effectively yield sovereignty at its moment of triumph. Shortly after the war, Dayan met with officials of the Muslim Wakf, who governed the holy site, and formally returned the Mount to their control.” [TheAtlantic]

“The Arab World Has Never Recovered From the Loss of 1967” by Hisham Melhem: “It may be difficult for the Arabs of today to seriously reflect on the meaning of the defeat they suffered 50 years ago, given their current calamitous predicament. A half-century ago in the free sanctuary of Beirut, Arabs engaged in introspection and self-criticism, seeking to answer the central questions of their political life: What went wrong, and how did we reach this nadir? That unique moment of guarded hope and promise lasted but a few years. Fifty years later, there is no equivalent to Beirut in which to ask the hard questions about why and how the moment of enthusiasm that followed the 2011 Arab uprisings lasted for only a few months before the peaceful protest movements gave way to violence and civil wars. And in the last half-century, the Palestinian movement — along with its numerous Arab allies — has failed to become a transformational force.” [FP]

“The Six-Day War Was a Step Backward for Zionism” by Michael Koplow: “The Zionism that envisions complete Jewish sovereignty between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea does not account for the complication of approximately 2.5 million West Bank Palestinians living in a state of limbo while their own legitimate national aspirations go unfulfilled. It does not account for Israel’s isolation within its own region and its increasingly difficult relationships with democratic European allies. It does not account for the security, economic, and ethical strains that controlling the West Bank places upon the Israeli state and society.” [TheAtlantic] • Seth Mandel: The literary left’s anti-celebration of Jerusalem’s liberation [NYPost

Calls For #BoycottSears Return Over ‘Free Palestine’ Shirts: “Sears is now selling “Free Palestine” t-shirts – and some shoppers are calling for a boycott over the move. The department store’s website features more than a dozen search results for the word “Palestine”, including shirts that read “Free Gaza”, “End Israeli Occupation” and other similar phrases… Perhaps the most controversial item on the site is a shirt that reads “Free Palestine” over an image of the outline of the entire state of Israel. Jewish advocacy group B’nai B’rith issued a statement saying: “We are appalled at Sears jumping into a geo-political issue by selling glib t-shirts that proclaim ‘Free Palestine’ – seriously?” After reports began circulating on social media, the hashtag “#BoycottSears” reemerged Tuesday morning.” [CBSLA]

DESSERT: “A Guide to Israel’s Stunning Beaches” by Eva Fedderly:“Israel is perhaps best known—and deservedly so—for its holy sites, but its standing as a stellar beach destination often goes unsung. With coastline bordering the Mediterranean, the Dead Sea, the Red Sea, and the Sea of Galilee, and everything from world-class scuba diving to ancient ruins to explore, the beaches of the Land of Milk and Honey have something for every type of sand lover. Here are the must-visit spots for a day (or a few) in the sun.” [VogueMag]

BIRTHDAYS: Chicago and Aspen-based billionaire, reported to own large stakes in General Dynamics, Maytag, Hilton Hotels, Aspen Skiing Co, the New York Yankees and the Chicago Bulls, among many other companies, Lester Crown turns 92… Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence turns 58… Developer of the cardiac defibrillator and other cardiovascular innovations, he also won the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in nuclear disarmament, Bernard Lown MD turns 96… Former 5-term Democratic Congressman from California (1983-1993) Mel Levine turns 74… Attorney Advisor in the Office of Inspector General at the US State Department, earned a Ph.D. in political science in 1981 from Yale, Hillel N. Weinberg turns 65… Director of voice, creativity and culture at the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Isaac Luria (born Isaac Goldstein) turns 34… Managing editor of The New Yorker, Emily S. Greenhouse turns 31… Actress and model, Emily Ratajkowski turns 26… Andrea Gonzales

Gratuity not included. We love receiving news tips but we also gladly accept tax deductible tips. 100% of your donation will go directly towards improving Jewish Insider. Thanks! [PayPal]

Nikki Haley calls UN a ‘bully’ against Israel during meeting with Netanyahu

Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, visits the Western Wall on June 7. Photo by Ammar Awad/Reuters

Nikki Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, called the U.N. a “bully” against Israel, during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu thanked the envoy for “standing up for Israel” in the U.N.

“You know, that’s all I’ve done, is tell the truth, and it’s kind of overwhelming at the reaction,” Haley said in response.

She called Israel-bashing at the U.N. “a habit.”

“It was something that we’re so used to doing,” she said. “And if there’s anything I have no patience for is bullies, and the U.N. was being such a bully to Israel, because they could.”

She added: “We’re starting to see a turn in New York. I think they know they can’t keep responding in the way they’ve been responding. They sense that the tone has changed.”

She said that some members of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, where she attended a meeting before arriving in Israel, were “embarrassed” by the council’s permanent Agenda Item Seven, which discusses “the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories,” and routinely singles out Israel for condemnation.

At the Human Rights Council meeting Tuesday, Haley said the U.S. is reconsidering its membership in the U.N. Human Rights Council, citing among other things bias against Israel.

“It’s hard to accept that this council has never considered a resolution on Venezuela and yet it adopted five biased resolutions in March against a single country – Israel,” Haley said Tuesday. “It is essential that this council address its chronic anti-Israel bias if it is to have any credibility.”

She also met Wednesday with Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin at his residence in Jerusalem.

Rivlin called Haley a “dear friend of Israel. We appreciate your strong stand on the world’s most important stage, in support of the security of the people and the State of Israel. With your support, we see the beginning of a new era. Israel is no longer alone at the U.N. Israel is no longer the U.N.’s punching bag.”

During her three-day visit to Israel,  Haley is expected to fly over the country’s northern and southern borders in a helicopter, visit Tel Aviv and lay a wreath at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial center. Haley’s visit to the Old City of Jerusalem and the Western Wall are being billed as “private and religious,” however, and she will not be accompanied by Israeli officials. President Trump, during  his recent visit to holy sites in Jerusalem, was also unaccompanied by Israeli political leaders.

American UN Ambassador Nikki Haley to visit Israel on Wednesday

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. Photo via JTA.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley will visit Israel, including the Old City of Jerusalem and the Western Wall.

Haley will arrive in Israel on Wednesday, according to Israeli news reports.

She is scheduled to meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as senior Palestinian officials, the Times of Israel reported.

Haley is scheduled to fly over the country’s northern and southern borders in a helicopter, visit Tel Aviv and lay a wreath at Yad Vashem, accompanied by Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon. Her visit to the Old City of Jerusalem and the Western Wall are being billed as “private and religious,” however, and she will not be accompanied by Israeli officials. President Trump, in his recent visit to holy sites in Jerusalem, was also unaccompanied by Israeli political leaders.

In an interview in May with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Haley said that the Western Wall belongs to Israel and that Israel’s capital is Jerusalem. “I don’t know what the policy of the administration is, but I believe the Western Wall is part of Israel and I think that that is how we’ve always seen it and that’s how we should pursue it,” Haley said. “We’ve always thought the Western Wall was part of Israel.”

The comments came in the wake of reports that a Trump administration official, responding to a request that Israeli officials accompany the president when he visited the Western Wall, replied that the Western Wall “is not your territory, it’s part of the West Bank.”

In the interview, Haley also reiterated her support for moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

“Obviously I believe that the capital should be Jerusalem and the embassy should be moved to Jerusalem because if you look at all their government is in Jerusalem,” she said. “So much of what goes on is in Jerusalem, and I think we have to see that for what it is.”

As a candidate, Trump promised to move the embassy. But last week, Trump signed an order renewing the six-month waiver that allows the U.S. embassy to remain in Tel Aviv. An act of Congress in 1995 required relocating the embassy to Jerusalem, but successive administrations have delayed the change with a series of six-month waivers, citing national security concerns.

Rex Tillerson says Western Wall is ‘part of Jerusalem,’ avoids mention of Israeli sovereignty

President Donald Trump touches the Western Wall on May 22. Photo by Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would not say that the Western Wall is part of Israel when asked about by a reporter during the presidential flight from Saudi Arabia to Israel.

Tillerson met with reporters in the back of Air Force One on Monday morning during the flight to the second stop on President Donald Trump’s first international trip since taking office.

Asked if he agrees with the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, who last week asserted during an interview that “We’ve always thought the Western Wall was part of Israel,” Tillerson responded: “The wall is part of Jerusalem.” He did not expand on the statement.

The Western Wall is located in Jerusalem’s Old City and was captured by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967. This week, Israel is marking 50 years since the reunification of the city.

Tillerson said the second leg of the journey was to “Tel Aviv, home of Judaism,” though Trump is not scheduled to visit Tel Aviv, confining his 28-hour visit to Jerusalem. Ben Gurion International Airport, where Trump landed, is sometimes called Tel Aviv, though it is about 15 miles away from the city.

The secretary of state told reporters that the time is right to resurrect the Middle East peace process because of the common threat of the rise of the Islamic State, other terror groups and extremism.

“There’s a unifying element in and of itself, and I think it does allow countries that have had deep differences to look at the situation and realize that in many respects our threats are common to all of us,” Tillerson said. “Providing a certain perspective that’s not been there in the past, a perspective that is between us. That there’s something larger going on that’s affecting all of us. We need to try and come together to address that. I think that creates a different dynamic.”

Asked if he would pressure Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on settlements, Tillerson responded that “settlements are part of the overall peace discussion. It’s just there are a number of elements that have presented challenges to the peace process in the past; settlements is clearly one of those.”

Tillerson said that arranging a three-way visit among Trump, Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who Trump will meet on Tuesday morning, would be too ambitious for such a short trip.

“I think there will certainly be opportunities for that in the future,” he said.

Asked if Trump would apologize to Israeli officials for sharing Israeli intelligence with Russian officials earlier this month, Tillerson responded, “I don’t know that there’s anything to apologize for.”