At State, Heather Nauert helped further Trump administration’s pro-Israel platform

“We hope she will continue in the path of Ambassador Nikki Haley as a strong supporter of Israel, calling out the bias against it within the U.N. system, and pointing to Iran as a major source of global instability,” said B’nai B’rith International CEO Daniel Mariaschin.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert delivers a press briefing at the department in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 15, 2018. Credit: Jackson Richman/JNS.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert delivers a press briefing at the department in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 15, 2018. Credit: Jackson Richman/JNS.

U.S. President Donald Trump nominated State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert on Friday as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, replacing Nikki Haley, who is stepping down at the end of the year.

Bloomberg News first reported this development on Thursday night.

Nauert, a former Fox News personality, was considered the front-runner after former U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Dina Powell withdrew from consideration. Also touted were U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchinson, U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft, former U.S. Senate candidate John James of Michigan and U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell.

Regarding Nauert’s replacement as the U.S. State Department’s top spokesperson, a department spokesperson told JNS: “We have no personnel announcements.”

Nauert is expected to face a tough Senate confirmation due to her lack of foreign-policy experience even though she served as Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, the fourth-highest ranking position in the State Department.

For the pro-Israel community, Nauert will replace Haley, who received strong praise for her support of the Jewish state at the United Nations, which has long been accused of anti-Israel bias. In one of her final acts as ambassador, Haley criticized the international body for failing to pass a U.S.-sponsored resolution condemning Hamas by a required two-thirds majority.

As Foggy Bottom’s top spokesperson, Nauert helped further the administration’s pro-Israel platform.

She denounced last month’s rocket attacks into Israel from Hamas in Gaza. “We condemn in the strongest terms the rocket, missile and mortar attacks that are taking place from Gaza into Israel,” she said. “We call for the sustained halt of those attacks. We stand with Israel as Israel defends itself against these attacks. It is simply unacceptable to target civilians.”

At the time, Nauert told JNS that the barrage makes Trump’s highly anticipated proposed peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians “more urgent.”

“When you see [rocket attacks], that’s the case for peace right there,” she said.

Nauert has also emphasized Israel’s right to defend itself, as exemplified in August when Hamas launched rockets from Gaza into Israel.

“It’s a very concerning situation that has taken place in Gaza,” she said. “We condemn the launching of missile attacks into Israel and call for an end to the destructive violence.”

Moreover, she suggested last week that the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, allegedly by Saudi Arabia, will not affect U.S. efforts to have the kingdom, which is allegedly behind the murder, be part of forging a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

“Ms. Nauert has stood by the State of Israel in her previous positions, and I have no doubt that the cooperation between our two countries will continue to strengthen as ambassador to the U.N.,” said Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon. “In the past two years, we have worked closely with Ambassador Nikki Haley to change the hostile spirit in the U.N., which has led to unprecedented achievements. Ambassador Haley will always be a true friend of the State of Israel.”

‘A good choice’

Pro-Israel groups welcomed the announcement.

“We welcome the appointment of Heather Nauert to the U.N. post,” B’nai B’rith International CEO Daniel Mariaschin told JNS. “We hope she will continue in the path of Ambassador Nikki Haley as a strong supporter of Israel, calling out the bias against it within the U.N. system and pointing to Iran as a major source of global instability.”

“The Jewish Policy Center welcomes the appointment of Heather Nauert as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, believing it will continue the strong pro-American and pro-Israel policies pursued by the Trump administration under Ambassador Nikki Haley,” Shoshana Bryen, senior director of the Jewish Policy Center, said to JNS.

“Nauert, in her role in the State Department, has been an articulate and passionate spokesperson for democracy, liberty, freedom and self-defense,” added Bryen. “America’s allies and adversaries—and everyone in between—will know exactly where the United States stands.”

“Following on the heels of Nikki Haley, Heather Nauert has some very big shoes to fill,” Sarah Stern, president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, told JNS. “Although some criticize the fact that she lacks a hefty diplomatic resume, the same was said of Ambassador Nikki Haley before she assumed the post.”

“What we need are some fresh, young people who are willing to think outside of the box,” she added. “I am also delighted that Ms. Nauert had added the D-Day reference about our relationship with Germany, indicating that our relationship with other nations in the world will not be based on a sugar-coated, revisionist history, but will be based on reality, and as Ronald Reagan used to say, ‘peace through strength,’ and not through appeasement.”

Clifford May, president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, called the pick “a good choice.”

“I think she knows very well the policies of the White House and of Secretary [of State Mike] Pompeo,” he told JNS. “I think Nikki Haley is a hard act to follow, but Heather is a good choice to attempt that.”

“I don’t think there are any policy disagreements between [Haley and Nauert] or with Secretary Pompeo,” he added. “And I think her close relationship with Secretary Pompeo will be an asset because it is important that there be continuity both in terms of U.S. policy and messaging.”

In terms of legacy, May said that “Nikki Haley proved herself to be an extraordinary ambassador to the U.N. in the very top ranks along with John Bolton, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Arthur Goldberg, who I think were our best U.N. ambassadors. So it’s a hard act to follow, but I think Heather will be disciplined, I think she will be knowledgeable, and I think she’ll be articulate.”

With this announcement the day after Thursday’s U.N. failure to condemn Hamas, exemplifying what May called “the fecklessness” of the world body, the FDD head said that “there’s plenty of work leftover post-Nikki Haley that Heather has to look at. I hope she will look at reform, and reform is not going to come about simply by urging.”

He continued: “The U.S. is going to have to cut off funds or threaten to cut off U.S. funds to the U.N. in general and to various agencies. The U.N. is not at this point an organization that promotes freedom or that fights terrorism or does very much that is useful in the world. My guess is that Heather is quite well-aware of that reality and will do the best she can to make that an organization that is more effective, and is a voice against terrorism and for freedom.”

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