Remarks at a UN Security Council Open Debate on the Middle East

Ambassador Kelly Craft
Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
January 21, 2020


Thank you Mr. President. Thank you Under Secretary DiCarlo, thank you for your briefing. Addressing these issues in a fair manner is not easy, and we appreciate the efforts of you and your team to do so. Thank you as well Assistant Secretary Mueller for your briefing.

As I have stated on many prior occasions, if we are to see genuine progress in our work to help bring peace to the Middle East, this Council must treat this issue with greater evenhandedness. Given the likelihood that we will hear continued criticisms of Israel that is unfairly one-sided, I wanted to take a few moments to shed light on Israel’s contributions to the international community, and to appreciate publicly all that has been overcome in making those contributions.

This week and next week in New York and around the world, we will be commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. No one in this chamber should need reminding of the horrors that occurred just beyond Krakow, and across Europe during the Second World War. These are the horrors that lead us to say, “never again.” While we can never forget the unparalleled horrors of the Holocaust, Israelis consistently look to the future and the ways in which they can improve the lives of all people.

Israelis have won 13 Nobel Prizes, including in chemistry and economics. They have improved drip irrigation technologies, which allow countless individuals in the desert environments around the world to be fed. They enhanced surgical technologies that improve the success of medical operations.

Indeed, while the world criticizes Israel, Israel is making the world a better place. The Council should not lose sight of this fact. I will not allow us to, and instead call upon my colleagues to embrace a more appropriate focus for a Council dedicated to international peace and security – a focus on the regional actor fueling division, violence, and hatred. The regime that funds and trains militants focused on the destruction of Israel. The regime that provides weapons and other support to the Houthis and to Hizballah, props up the Assad regime, and seeks to interfere with Iraq’s fragile democracy. The regime that guns down its own citizens when they protest the corruptions, lies, and mismanagement of the leadership. And yet, despite a long history of advocating for the obliteration of Israel and aggressively undermining regional peace and security, Iran too often escapes serious scrutiny by this body. When Iran attacked tankers in the Persian Gulf and energy facilities in Saudi Arabia last year, the Council was silent. When Iran provided weapons to the Houthis and Hizballah, the Council was silent. When Iran sought to prop up the Assad regime’s brutal repression of its own people, the Council was silent. And it is not though Iran’s malign behavior occurs without this Council’s knowledge. It has been well documented by the UN or is simply out in the open.

Our failure to address Iran’s central role in destabilizing the region sends a powerfully damaging message to those seeking lasting peace and prosperity in the region. It only encourages further instability, which puts the peace we all seek at greater risk.

I have said before that Israel has no better friend than the United States, and will I say it again today. Whether it is reminding the world of what Israel has done to make the substantive contributions to global peace and prosperity, or of what Iran is doing to frustrate efforts towards peace. President Donald Trump and the American people together will do what is required to stand by our partner, our ally, and indeed, our friend.

Thank you.