what happens in vegas

Haley calls out AIPAC’s bipartisan efforts at Republican Jewish Coalition meeting

'If you make bipartisanship your whole reason for existence, then you lose sight of the policies you’re fighting for in the first place,’ former U.N. ambassador said


Former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks during the first day of the Republican convention at the Mellon auditorium on August 24, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

LAS VEGAS — Addressing the centerpiece of the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC — its focus on bipartisanship in Congress — former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and potential 2024 presidential candidate Nikki Haley questioned the organization for its ties to some Democratic politicians in remarks to the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting on Saturday.

“But there’s one thing I don’t get about AIPAC. And I’m not saying anything to you that I haven’t said to their leadership,” Haley, one of a slew of potential 2024 GOP contenders joining RJC’s confab in Las Vegas this weekend, said. “Why do they invite politicians to their conference who strongly support the Iran nuclear deal? Stop rewarding bad behavior. It only gets you more bad behavior.”

Haley’s remarks garnered loud applause from a portion of the crowd.

“Now, bipartisanship is important,” she continued. “The U.S.-Israel relationship should be completely bipartisan. I want all Democrats to support Israel as much as Republicans do. But if you make bipartisanship your whole reason for existence, then you lose sight of the policies you’re fighting for in the first place.”

The conference also featured speeches from Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rick Scott (R-FL), South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, among others.

“If a politician supports the disastrous Iran deal, opposes moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, and is embraced by antisemites who support the [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement, then a pro-Israel group should have absolutely nothing to do with him or her,” Haley added, to more applause from the audience.

Haley also noted that AIPAC is a “genuinely pro-Israel” organization that “does a lot of great things” and has “always been unbelievably supportive of me.”

A spokesperson for AIPAC declined to comment.

She expanded on remarks she made at a United Against Nuclear Iran conference on Thursday, urging Israel not to rely on the Biden administration to halt Iran’s nuclear program.

“If Israel makes the grave decision that its security depends on removing that threat, it should not wait for an American green light,” she said Saturday. “In matters of life and death, it is better to be strong and criticized than weak and ignored.”

The former U.N. ambassador downplayed the possibilities of a two-state solution under the current leadership of the Palestinian Authority.

“We can all have a nice academic debate about the merits of an independent Palestinian state. In theory, it could be a good thing,” Haley said. “But let’s be real. There is no universe today under which the corrupt Palestinian Authority can run a state. There just isn’t.”

Haley pointed to the Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between Israel and several Arab states, as a more viable path toward Middle East peace than negotiations with current Palestinian leadership.

She also recapped her actions at the U.N., including withdrawing from UNESCO, opposing the then-U.N. troop commander in Lebanon for ties to Hezbollah, blocking a resolution to condemn the U.S. embassy’s move to Jerusalem and passing a resolution condemning Hamas.

Subscribe now to
the Daily Kickoff

The politics and business news you need to stay up to date, delivered each morning in a must-read newsletter.