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.

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The Paris Peace Conference

by Elliott Abrams

 

Once upon a time, the term “Paris Peace Conference” was a serious one, and referred to the historic Versailles Conference that ended World War I. That conference began on January 18, 1919, and it is striking that the French would wish to make a mockery of their own history by convening a useless conference on almost exactly the same date—today, January 15. Read more »

What Happens When UN Security Council Resolutions are Ignored?

by Elliott Abrams

What happens when UN Security Council resolutions are ignored? That depends, really—on whether you are any of 192 other members of the United Nations, or are Israel.

Defenders of Israel often claim that it is treated differently by the United Nations from any other nation. That claim is accurate, and a brief look at Lebanon offers some proof. It continues to violate Security Council resolutions, year after year—but no one complains, and no one ever argues that Lebanon must be punished with boycotts or prosecutions for doing so. In fact they are often congratulated for their defiance. Read more »

The United Nations Resolution on Israel

by Elliott Abrams

Since the adoption last week the Security Council resolution on Israel, I’ve had my say in The Weekly Standard and The Washington Post condemning the Obama administration’s decision to allow the resolution to pass. The resolution rewards the PLO for refusing to negotiate and adopts its tactic of replacing serious, face-to-face negotiations with useless dramas in New York. It is a danger to Israel. And by refusing to veto, the Obama administration abandoned the usual American practice of defending Israel from what Jeane Kirkpatrick called “the jackals” at the United Nations. Read more »

Netanyahu, Sisi, Obama and the United Nations Resolution on Israeli Settlements

by Elliott Abrams

The United Nations Security Council was scheduled to vote today (Thursday, December 22) on an Egyptian-sponsored resolution on Israeli settlement activity.

Egypt, the Arab representative on the Security Council right now, pulled the resolution this morning, so there will be no vote. There are several mysteries here, including why Egypt did that, and how President Obama planned to vote: yes, abstain, or veto. Read more »

The Next Ambassador to Israel

by Elliott Abrams

President-Elect Trump’s choice of David M. Friedman as his ambassador to Israel has occasioned both appropriate news coverage, and a barrage of nasty, ignorant, politically biased comments.

Most of those comments (including the poison-pen editorial in The New York Times) have informed readers that Mr. Friedman is unfit for this post because he is a “bankruptcy lawyer” lacking diplomatic experience. I was previously unaware that being a “bankruptcy lawyer” was equivalent to a crime of moral turpitude, but that is in any event an odd description of Mr. Friedman. In fact he is one of the top lawyers in that field in the United States, year after year being so listed in articles about the very best American lawyers. The New York Times tells us that he has since 1994 been a partner at a firm called Kasowitz, Benson, Torres, & Friedman, but does not bother to tell readers that he is in fact the Friedman of Kasowitz, Benson, Torres, & Friedman–a firm whose name was changed when he joined it, and which he has helped build to about 350 lawyers in seven cities. He is also a self-made man, the son of an Orthodox rabbi who came to the practice of law without the benefit of wealth or fancy connections. Read more »

The United Nations General Assembly, the Golan, and Theater of the Absurd

by Elliott Abrams

This past week the United Nations General Assembly commemorated once again the “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” and took the occasion to pass six anti-Israel resolutions.

Ranging from the despicable to the absurd, these resolutions of course have nothing to do with reality in the Middle East, nor do they bring peace one minute closer. Let’s take a look at one–the resolution entitled “The Syrian Golan.” Read more »

On the Death of Fidel Castro

by Elliott Abrams

On the death of Fidel Castro my thoughts today turned immediately to Huber Matos, who sadly did not live to see this day.

Matos was a true hero of the Cuban Revolution–and was therefore imprisoned by Fidel Castro for twenty years. Such a sentence was the true measure of the cruelty and vindictiveness of Fidel Castro–and of his fear of liberty for the Cuban people.  For it was when Matos showed his true goal as a revolutionary–the freedom of the Cuban people–that Fidel Castro had him arrested and jailed. Matos emerged from prison in 1979 and joined his family in Costa Rica, and then soon moved to the United States–where he lived until his death in 2014 at age 95. He founded and for nearly two decades led Cuba Independiente y Democratico, an organization that worked for freedom for the Cuban people. Today, I just wish he could have lived to 97. Read more »