In Jerusalem, Nikki Haley calls UN a ‘bully,’ says Kotel visit will change her life

(JTA) — 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.

On Tuesday afternoon, Haley, together with Deputy Secretary of State John Lerner, visited the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. Though her security detail assigned her a place to stand in the women’s section of the Western Wall plaza away from the other worshippers, Haley plunged into the crowd and took a spot amid the worshippers directly in front of the wall. According to a statement from the office of the rabbi of the Western Wall, Haley, who was raised Sikh and converted to Christianity, asked the women around her to help her pray and saying, “I want to be here as a person.

Before she left Haley signed the Western Wall guest book, writing: “My heart is full, and my life will change following the visit. It was a blessing to experience a holy place with spiritual people full of love, for G-d to bless everyone who comes here. ”

Haley 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.

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