With US President Donald Trump nominating Acting US Ambassador to the United Nations Jonathan Cohen to be US ambassador to Egypt, the nomination of Kelly Craft as US Ambassador to the UN, announced in February, might be submitted to the Senate in the near future.
That could enable the continuation of the administration’s pro-Israel agenda at Turtle Bay, which has included calling out the anti-Israel bias long associated with the UN; withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council and defunding US assistance to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
Craft, 57, who served as a US alternate delegate to the UN under US President George Bush and is US Ambassador to Canada, has not made any public statements about Israel or the US-Israel relationship.
The Kentucky native and her husband, Joe, who is a coal magnate, are major Republican donors, and are close to fellow Kentuckian and US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The UN ambassadorship is expected to be downgraded from a Cabinet-level position.
Britt Brockman, a leader in the Louisville Jewish community, has served with Craft on the University of Kentucky’s board of trustees.
He told JNS that Craft was once with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on a trip to Israel and has met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
AIPAC has a longstanding policy of not commenting on presidential nominations.
“She supports President [Donald] Trump’s positions on Jerusalem being the capital of Israel and putting our embassy there,” said Brockman.
“She supports the president’s position regarding [Israeli annexation of] the Golan Heights.”
While Craft, if confirmed, would continue to echo the Trump administration’s stances at the UN, her style, according to Brockman, is quite different from that of her outspoken predecessor, Nikki Haley.
“She would not be someone who’s trying to gain and get the limelight, but wants to get the job done,” he said. “She works hard behind the scenes, not trying to get personal glory.”
Brockman said Craft “will bring her own personality,” which he specified as “subdued” but “very well-received by leaders,” including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Her stances on the Iran nuclear deal are unknown.
Craft declined to be interviewed by JNS ahead of her nomination hearing.
Brockman isn’t the only one looking forward to Craft’s nomination.
“With her previous experience as part of the US delegation to the 61st General Assembly, Craft is no stranger to the United Nations,” Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told Jewish Insider in February.
“The sooner the ambassador steps in, the better it is—not only for Israel, but for the U.S. and the standing for the US at the UN.
“I look forward to working with the new ambassador,” he said in March. “We are not worried that there will be any change in policy whatsoever.
“Congratulations to Kelly Craft. She’s done a great job representing us as @USAmbCanada and we know she’ll be a strong voice for America at the United Nations. #USstrong,” tweeted Haley.
“Kelly Craft is a committed friend to Israel, and we congratulate her on her appointment as US Ambassador to the United Nations,” Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO of the Toronto-based Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said.
“We expect that the transition will be seamless, ensuring continuing US support for Israel at the UN and its agencies. We wish her well and will miss her in Ottawa.”
Brockman added, “I think there will be no surprises.”