Nikki Haley at CUFI summit July 18, 2021 by the Forward

Nikki Haley: ‘Iran is the sugar daddy of Hamas’

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Nikki Haley, the former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. during the first two years of the Trump administration, cautioned the Biden administration against returning to the nuclear deal with Iran, in a speech to supporters of Israel on Sunday.

Iran’s prime goal, by funding its proxies in the Middle East region, is to target the U.S. and destroy the state of Israel, Haley said in remarks at the annual Christians United for Israel leadership summit in Dallas, Texas. “Iran is the sugar daddy of Hamas. The 11-day war that Israel just fought, wasn’t just with Hamas,” she added. “Israel was fighting against Iranian weapons, Iranian money and Iranian trained terrorists, and everyone knows it.”

Haley urged the Biden administration to change course in its diplomatic approach to Iran. “There is never a time to sign a deal with the devil who wants to destroy America and Israel,” she said.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who recently returned from a solidarity trip to Israel, also spoke at the conference. He said he has no confidence that the Biden administration will confront Iran if it determines that the ayatollahs are on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons. He recalled his 90-minute meeting with former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and separately with Defense Minister Benny Gantz, in which he asked them whether Israel has the capacity and the will to act to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. “And the answer, I will give with some caution, was a hopeful answer of ‘yes,’” he said.

But Cruz questioned whether the new Israeli power-sharing government, led by Naftali Bennett and his partner Yair Lapid, will stand up to Biden if needed. “I’ll tell you, the answer I got from everyone I met is, ‘I don’t know; I hope that they will, pray that they will,’” he said.

The Republican senator suggested that the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza is a result of Biden reversing Trump’s policies. “Just six months into a brand new administration, we’ve already seen war in the Middle East and over 4,000 rockets raining down on Israel,” he said.

Haley, who was part of Trump’s Mideast peace team, also blamed Hamas for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the West Bank. “We all want a better life for Palestinians,” she said. “It’s the leaders of Hamas who want Palestinians to suffer because it strengthens their grip on power. So let me be clear, Israel isn’t responsible for Palestinian suffering. Hamas is responsible for Palestinian suffering.”

Haley, who met with Netanyahu at his private residence a day after the new Israeli government was formed, said it was “inspiring” to watch the transition taking place. “What other country has the courage to form a new government under the shadow of war?” she asked.

Author

Jacob Kornbluh

Jacob Kornbluh

Jacob Kornbluh is the Forward’s senior political reporter. Follow him on Twitter @jacobkornbluh or email kornbluh@forward.com.

Nikki Haley: ‘Iran is the sugar daddy of Hamas’

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