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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Showing posts for "Democracy and Human Rights"

Israel, Secrecy, and American Meddling

by Elliott Abrams

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

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 »

Bahrain Slips Further into Repression

by Elliott Abrams

The Project on Middle East Democracy sums up the week in Bahrain:

First, “A Bahraini court ordered the suspension of all activities by al-Wefaq, the island-nation’s largest opposition party. The Justice and Islamic Affairs Ministry, which asked the court to issue the order, said al-Wefaq’s shuttering was needed to “safeguard the security of the kingdom….” Read more »

The Erdogan Visit to Washington

by Elliott Abrams

To welcome Turkey’s President Erdogan to Washington, a group of several dozen former officials, foreign policy analysts, and academics have written him an open letter. The letter can be found here, and signatories include two former U.S. ambassadors to Turkey and two former U.S. senators, in whose company I am happy to find myself. Read more »

Make Believe About Education in Cuba

by Elliott Abrams

“Cuba has an extraordinary resource – a system of education which values every boy and every girl.”

This is a remarkable statement to make about a communist dictatorship. It is disturbing and disappointing to find it coming from a high official of the Obama administration–Valerie Jarrett. Read more »

Senator Menendez Speaks About the Obama Visit to Cuba

by Elliott Abrams

On Thursday, Sen. Robert Menendez (D, NJ) delivered a long and heartfelt statement on the floor of the United States Senate about Pres. Obama’s  forthcoming visit to Cuba. The entire text is copied below because the remarks are worthy of note. Sen. Menendez believes, as I do, that this visit will weaken the chances for freedom in Cuba because it is organized around embracing the current regime rather than pressuring it for change. Read more »