Fact Check: Nikki Haley Wrote 'Finish Them' on Artillery Shell in Israel. Here's the Context

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Claim:

Photos show former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley signed "finish them" on an artillery shell during a May 2024 trip to Israel.

Rating:

Rating: True
Rating: True

Context:

Following Hamas' deadly attack in Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, Haley repeatedly mentioned the words "finish them" alongside specific references to Hamas militants and Iran.

 

The protracted, often bloody Israeli-Palestinian conflict exploded into a hot war on Oct. 7, 2023, when the militant Palestinian group Hamas launched a deadly attack on Israel and Israel retaliated by bombarding the Gaza Strip. More than 20,000 people, the vast majority of them Palestinians, were reportedly killed during the first two months of the war alone. The violence is driven by mutual hostilities and territorial ambitions dating back more than a century. The internet has become an unofficial front in that war and is rife with misinformation, which Snopes is dedicated to countering with facts and context. You can help. Read the latest fact checks. Submit questionable claims. Become a Snopes Member to support our work. We welcome your participation and feedback.

On May 28, 2024, Snopes received mail from readers asking whether former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley signed bombs during a trip to Israel in late May. The Tel Aviv-based TV channel i24News described the purpose of the former Republican presidential candidate's travel as "a diplomatic and humanitarian visit."

One reader's email read, "Did Nikki Haley sign a bomb? The photo shows 'Finish Them! America Loves Israel. Always, Nikki Haley.' I cannot believe this is real, but it is just so hard to be sure anymore." Another reader asked, "Wondering if an image and story of Nikki Haley signing a bomb in Israel is authentic. The photo and caption claim she signed 'Finish Them America (heart) Israel Always.'"

It's true photos show Haley signed at least one artillery shell while in Israel. The signing occurred on or around May 27 during her visit to sites targeted in Hamas' Oct. 7, 2023, attack. Her message, with a heart to symbolize the word "loves," read:

Finish Them!

America [Loves] Israel

Always,

Nikki Haley

Social Media Photos

Two elements of evidence established this true rating. First, former Israeli U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon posted photos on Facebook and Instagram showing Haley signing the shell.

Readers asked Snopes if Nikki Haley signed bombs or artillery shells while in Israel in May 2024.
Readers asked Snopes if Nikki Haley signed bombs or artillery shells while in Israel in May 2024.

This Instagram post appeared on Danon's account on May 28.

Haley then shared some of Danon's posted photos to her own Facebook and Instagram pages, including in her Instagram Stories.

Readers asked Snopes if Nikki Haley signed bombs or artillery shells while in Israel in May 2024.
Readers asked Snopes if Nikki Haley signed bombs or artillery shells while in Israel in May 2024.

This screenshot from May 28 shows one of Haley's Instagram Stories shared from Danon's page.

In one of Danon's photos posted to Instagram Stories, he wrote in Hebrew, "Finish them! This is what my friend, the former ambassador, Nikki Haley wrote today about a shell during a visit to an artillery post on the northern border. The time has come to change the equation - the residents of Tire and Sidon will evacuate, the residents of the north will return. The IDF can win!"

Readers asked Snopes if Nikki Haley signed bombs or artillery shells while in Israel in May 2024.
Readers asked Snopes if Nikki Haley signed bombs or artillery shells while in Israel in May 2024.

This screenshot from May 28 shows one of Danon's Instagram Stories.

The second element of evidence we reviewed originated from the Islamic Republic News Agency. The IRNA published a second, similar picture of the same signed shell on its website and posted the photo on X.

Haley's Past Mentions of 'Finish Them'

Following Hamas' attack in Israel on Oct. 7, Haley mentioned the words "finish them" several times as a specific reference to Hamas militants and Iran.

For example, in an Oct. 7 interview on Fox News, Haley said:

America can never be so arrogant to think we don't need friends. Just like we needed them on 9/11. That's why Ukraine needs us when Russia's doing this. That's why Israel needs us when Hamas and Iran are doing this. And I'll say this to Prime Minister Netanyahu: Finish them. Finish them. Hamas did this. You know Iran's behind it. Finish them. They should have hell to pay for what they've just done.

Two days later, on Oct. 9, Haley used the words "finish them" in both the caption and image of an Instagram post. The post read, "At least 9 Americans have been killed in Hamas' war against Israel. This is personal. Hamas terrorists don't distinguish between Israelis & Americans, between grandmothers & soldiers. They are blood thirsty murderers who chant 'death to Israel, death to America.' Finish them."

https://www.instagram.com/p/CyLi0BkrszL/

Additionally, C-SPAN and the Iowa Capital Dispatch reported Haley said she spoke the two words during an October 2023 phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

We contacted Haley via a private message on Instagram to ask about the meaning behind her message but did not receive a response by the following morning.

For further reading, we previously reported when U.S. President Joe Biden's campaign falsely claimed Haley said the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened on Sept. 10, 2001.

Sources:

"Danny Danon." Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/danny.danon/.

"'Finish Them,' Republican Presidential Candidate Nikki Haley Said Monday When Asked How the U.S. Should Handle Iran after the Hamas Terrorist Attacks against Israel. 'They Are Only Going to Try and Kill Us and Kill Israelis. We've Got to Put an End to This,' the Former U.N. Ambassador Said during a Campaign Stop in Ida Grove, Iowa." TikTok, C-SPAN, 11 Oct. 2023, https://www.tiktok.com/@cspanofficial/video/7288719961651186990?lang=en.

Fortinsky, Sarah. "Haley Reiterates Support for Israel on Memorial Day Visit." The Hill, 27 May 2024, https://thehill.com/policy/international/4688130-haley-israel-visit-reiterates-support/.

@IrnaEnglish. "Nikki Haley Signs Israeli Bombs." X, 28 May 2024, https://x.com/IrnaEnglish/status/1795535988972040555.

Journalist ID: 1852. "Nikki Haley Signs Israeli Bombs." IRNA English, 28 May 2024, https://en.irna.ir/news/85492835/Nikki-Haley-signs-Israeli-bombs.

Liles, Jordan. "Nikki Haley Said 9/11 Happened on Sept. 10?" Snopes, 14 Feb. 2024, https://www.snopes.com//fact-check/haley-911-sept-10/.

"Nikki Haley." Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/nikkihaley/.

---. "Nikki Haley to Netanyahu: 'Finish Them' (FULL Interview)." YouTube, Fox News, 7 Oct. 2023, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLe4j9Koxjw.

"Nikki Haley Arrives in Israel for Diplomatic and Humanitarian Visit." i24News, 26 May 2024, https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/israel/diplomacy/artc-nikki-haley-arrives-in-israel-for-diplomatic-and-humanitarian-visit.

Opsahl, Robin. "Nikki Haley Says She Would Support Israel, Strengthen U.S. Military as President." Iowa Capital Dispatch, 20 Oct. 2023, https://iowacapitaldispatch.com/2023/10/20/nikki-haley-says-she-would-support-israel-strengthen-u-s-military-as-president/.