Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

The Lutheran Church Attacks Israel, Again

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, or ELCA, is a church in decline–but whose enthusiasm for attacks on Israel never wanes.

The decline is very clear in the numbers. The ELCA when formed in 1988 had over 5 million members, but is now down to about 3.8 million– down over a fourth. The number of member churches is similarly in decline. Read more »

Foreign Aid for Hamas

by Elliott Abrams Wednesday, August 10, 2016

I’ve written about a half dozen times in the past about UNRWA, the UN agency that deals with Palestinians: here in 2014 and here in 2015, for example. Simply put, UNRWA has long had employees who were sympathetic to Hamas, and who engaged in acts of anti-Semitism, but it has overlooked their actions and indeed often protected them. That appears to be the culture of the place. Read more »

War Crimes in Syria: the Lives We Did Not Save

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A few items in today’s news give an accurate portrait of the disaster to which Obama policy in Syria has led.

First there is the bombing of hospitals by the Assad regime: “A hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders and specializing in pediatrics in a rebel-held northern Syria province has been destroyed in a series of airstrikes over the weekend that killed 13 people, including four staff and five children, the international medical charity said Monday…. two of four airstrikes directly hit the hospital in Millis, in the northern province of Idlib and put it out of service. Six other hospital staff members were wounded in the broad daylight airstrikes Saturday. The bombing of the hospital that serves as a reference centre specializing in pediatrics also destroyed the operating theatre, intensive care unit, pediatric department, ambulances and a generator, the charity said.” Read more »

Cuba and the American Bar Association

by Elliott Abrams Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The motto of the American Bar Association (or ABA) is “Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice.”

It should perhaps be revised to “Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice, and Travel to Cuba.”  Right now the ABA is sponsoring at least two trips to Cuba–but neither one has anything to do with liberty or justice. Read more »

Israel, Secrecy, and American Meddling

by Elliott Abrams Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Israeli Knesset has just passed a law requiring that NGOs who receive more than half their budget from foreign governments and organizations state this publicly. A clamor has arisen, with critics denouncing the new legislation as anti-democratic.

This strikes me as ridiculous, and let’s do some hypotheticals. The UK is facing the Brexit referendum, and the government of France secretly funds pro-Remain groups. Is that fair or democratic? In the past decade several states in our country held referenda over same-sex marriage. How would we feel if it turned out groups proposing a “yes” vote had been funded by the government of Sweden? We would feel, as the Brits would feel in my first example, that our internal debate was being thwarted and distorted by foreigners. That is precisely how the Israeli lawmakers who voted for the new law felt. Prime Minister Netanyahu said the new law will “prevent an absurd situation in which foreign countries meddle in the internal affairs of Israel.” He’s right. Read more »

Nicaragua’s Sad Story Continues

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Nicaraguans go to the polls in a few months, but not for a free election.

A group of Nicaraguan writers, intellectuals, and civil society leaders have written an open letter describing and decrying the conditions under which Nicaraguans will vote.  The key line: they urge their fellow citizens to “reject the electoral farce the ruling group is trying to impose on us. If this farce is finally carried out, the results should be considered null and void.” Read more »