Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Israel To Slash Payments To UN, Nikki Haley Also Calls For Cuts To The U.N. While Vowing To Defend Israel Against BDS

Israel to slash payments to UN, give money instead to supportive countries

Israel will cut $2 million from money it has allocated to the UN and give it instead to programs in developing nations that support it in international organizations, the Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday.

The ministry issued a statement saying that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directed it to slash the $2m. to the United Nations as a result of the anti-Israel resolutions passed last week in the UN Human Rights Council.

This cut is in addition to the $6m. that Jerusalem slashed in January in the aftermath of the passage of anti-settlement Resolution 2334 in the UN Security Council. Following these cuts, Israel will contribute only $3.7m. this year to the UN, instead of the $10.7m that was originally earmarked.

The ministry said that this decision is part of an Israeli campaign – along with its friends, first and foremost the US – to change the “obsessive bias against Israel at the UN and in its agencies.”

In January, Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon announced the cutting of $6m. by saying, “It is unreasonable for Israel to fund bodies that operate against us at the UN.”

The UN, he said, “must end the absurd reality in which it supports bodies whose sole intent is to spread incitement and anti-Israel propaganda.”

"Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, set out her agenda for the U.N. during a speech Wednesday at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, confirming that the U.S. budget for the U.N. is likely to be decreased.

'I believe you will see cuts to the U.N.,' said Haley, adding, 'We don't want to just cut for the sake of cutting. There are places we can cut. Everybody knows there's fat at the U.N. Everybody knows there's fat in the peacekeeping missions. So that's why we're taking each one.'...

During her remarks Wednesday morning, Haley said she intends to focus on two areas when the U.S. assumes the rotating presidency of the U.N. Security Council next month: the role of human rights in national security and reforming the U.N.'s peacekeeping operations, including 'winding down' the missions in Haiti-'It's not needed anymore'-Liberia and Ivory Coast. 

Haley added that she's 'working to change the culture' at the Security Council, which she compared to South Carolina's Legislature: Both, she said, are clubs and have rules and cultures that need to change. (Haley is the former governor of South Carolina.)

'There is a constant pressure to comply with its culture, and soon enough, members are doing things a certain way because that's the way they've always done them,' she said, without specifically naming countries. She went on to call the U.S. the 'moral conscience of the world' and said the U.S. 'will insist that our participation in the U.N. honor and reflect this role.' The U.N., she noted, will be 'an effective tool on behalf of our values.'..."

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley received a standing ovation at the General Assembly Hall on Wednesday as she vowed to fight alongside Israel against the BDS movement.

The Israeli Mission hosted its second annual summit against the boycott movement at the UN headquarters on Wednesday, titled “Ambassadors against BDS.” The first such event was held in May last year with some 1,500 people in attendance, making it the largest anti-BDS gathering to date.

“Know that the United States has Israel’s back, and know that you now have a fighter and a friend in the UN to help you,” Haley told the audience of more than 2,000 pro-Israel activists, students and representatives of Jewish organizations.

“We should boycott North Korea, we should sanction Iran, we should divest from Syria, not Israel,” she said. “It makes absolutely no sense and it has no connection to any reasonable definition of justice.”

Haley, who in her former position as governor of South Carolina was the first in the US to sign anti-BDS legislation, said she felt “privileged” to do so in 2015.

“In our state we said we will not use taxpayers’ funds to do business with any company that discriminates on the basis of race, color, religion, gender or national origin,” said Haley, who was introduced to the podium as “a born leader.” “And make no mistake, that is exactly what the BDS movement does.”

“What a tragic irony that today I am once again engaged in a fight against those who seek to harm Israel, but this time as the US ambassador to the United Nations,” she said.

Israel’s permanent representative to the international body, Danny Danon, thanked Haley for recognizing the dangers of BDS and also being the first US governor to sign legislation against the movement.

He added that while some try to label BDS activists’ actions as political debate, the movement is “pure antisemitism.”

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