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January 7, 2019 9:03 am

Can Anyone Replace Nikki Haley?

avatar by Shmuley Boteach

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Former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley speaks to the Security Council. Photo: US Mission to UN.

Nikki Haley left her post as Ambassador to the UN on December 31, and there was a palpable sadness upon her departure. The UN had been a cesspit of anti-Israel hatred for so long, then along came Haley, who stood up for American values and the Jewish state.

Can anyone replace her?

President Trump, who deserves enormous credit for nominating Haley and supporting her ferocious pro-Israel posture, plans to nominate State Department Under-Secretary for Public Policy and Public Affairs Heather Nauert. As State’s chief spokesperson for the past two years, Nauert has shown the steely reserve of Haley, and then some. She was charged with going before the media and the world to explain President Trump’s reversal of the Iran nuclear deal, and many other issues.

In consecutive briefings, Nauert made it unmistakably clear that the hatred and discord being sewn by Iran would be met with the strongest sanctions, and any countries seeking to violate these sanctions will be held accountable. Nauert also used her platform to give a voice to those suffering under the brutal rule of the mullahs. In a tweet last October, Nauert again stood up for the people of Iran, calling on the Islamic Republic to embrace the type of religious tolerance introduced to the world by Cyrus the Great, who assisted his Jewish subjects in erecting the Second Temple in Jerusalem, then under his control.

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She tweeted, “The Iranian regime should learn a few lessons from his leadership and stop persecuting #Bahais, Christian converts, #Gonabadi Dervishes and other minority groups in #Iran,” shedding light on crimes entirely ignored by Obama during his negotiations with Iran. When members of the Gonabadi Dervish community were murdered at the hands of the Iranian government — one in a summary execution, and the other at the hands of his interrogators — Nauert used her platform to make both their sacrifice and the true face of their murderous government known throughout the world.

With regard to the horrific civil war still playing out in Syria, Nauert has been at the front line of the administration’s efforts to stem civilian deaths in Syria, and make Bashar al-Assad pay a price for his use of poison gas against his own people. When reports emerged that Assad had used poison gas in Duma in April 2017, Nauert conveyed that the United States would “use all efforts available to hold those who use chemical weapons, in Syria and otherwise, accountable.”

“Russia,” she insisted, “with its unwavering support for the regime, ultimately bears responsibility for these brutal attacks.”

Nauert has also emerged as one of the world’s leading advocates for Syria’s White Helmets, a group of a few thousand volunteer rescue workers who have saved more than 70,000 lives since the Syrian civil war began. The White Helmets have been targeted across Syria for their work, with seven members being executed this past spring as they slept, awaiting the next emergency call. Beyond facing unthinkable physical dangers, the White Helmets are also being globally maligned by pro-Assad forces and periodicals, such as Sputnik and Russia Today, each of which has accused the group of having terrorist connections simply because they operate in rebel-held areas. Through all this, Nauert has repeatedly employed her powerful platform at the State Department to voice American backing for the struggling organization.

The ability to convey American values with courage and conviction on the floor of the UN is the most important qualification for America’s ambassador. Adlai Stevenson is best remembered for his bold confrontation with the Soviet ambassador at the height of the Cuban missile crisis, during which he declared his adversary to be standing “in the courtroom of world opinion.” Daniel Patrick Moynihan is best remembered for his heroic defense of the State of Israel in a speech where he railed against the “Zionism is racism” resolution of 1975. And Nikki Haley will be remembered in UN lore for standing up for a small and righteous American ally that the amoral body bullied and picked on for decades.

Heather Nauert, no doubt, will follow in the path of her distinguished predecessors, serving as a voice of the oppressed and an American hammer against tyranny. She will, I predict, be a worthy successor to Haley and distinguish herself in her own steely way.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi,” whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America,” is the international bestselling author of 30 books, including his most recent, The Israel Warrior. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.

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