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"

Who Supported the Shameful UNESCO Vote on Jerusalem?

by Elliott Abrams

There is little to be added to the scorn rightfully shown in the United States and in Israel (which has cut all ties to UNESCO) toward the UNESCO vote this week that in essence wipes out Jewish and Christian history in Jerusalem by referring to it only in Muslim terminology. UNESCO’s own Director General Irina Bokova criticized the vote, saying “Jerusalem is the sacred city of the three monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. To deny, conceal or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site….” Read more »

Reading The Jerusalem Post in Riyadh

by Elliott Abrams

It is easy to exaggerate the opening that is occurring between Israel and several Gulf states, but it’s easy to underestimate it too.  The most recent change: Saudi Arabia has stopped blocking access to Israeli newspapers on line.

As Al Akhbar in Beirut reported in a story entitled “Saudi Arabia Lifts Ban on Israeli Press.” Here’s a part of the story: Read more »

The Crime of Writing to The New York Times

by Elliott Abrams

You might think that publishing a letter to the editor in The New York Times cannot possibly be a crime. But you probably don’t live in Bahrain.

Nabeel Rajab has been in prison since June in Bahrain, facing a sentence of up to 15 years for things he has written criticizing that government’s repressive policies. From prison, he sent a letter to the Times which was published on September 4th and can be found here. Read more »

Naming Names–and Naming Streets

by Elliott Abrams

The Russian Embassy in Washington is on a street called Sakharov Plaza, so named in 1984 in honor of the great Russian scientist and human rights activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975.

Honoring great men such as Sakharov by and renaming streets and plazas anywhere after them is a fitting tribute–and also a lovely way to show our support for the cause of human rights. But renaming streets and plazas where the embassies of repressive regimes sit is an even better action, more supportive of the cause and sending a direct message to the tyrannies. Read more »

The United States Bars Christian, Not Muslim, Refugees From Syria

by Elliott Abrams

The title of this blog post–The United States Bars Christian, Not Muslim, Refugees From Syria–will strike many readers as ridiculous.

But the numbers tell a different story: The United States has accepted 10,801 Syrian refugees, of whom 56 are Christian. Not 56 percent; 56 total, out of 10,801. That is to say, one half of one percent. The BBC says that ten percent of all Syrians are Christian, which would mean 2.2 million Christians. It is quite obvious, and President Obama and Secretary Kerry have acknowledged it, that Middle Eastern Christians are an especially persecuted group. Read more »

The Danger to Scholars

by Elliott Abrams

I’m a proud co-signer of an open letter defending some of America’s most impressive scholars against Middle Eastern dictators who are trying to keep them out and shut them up. The title is “Open letter on the hostility of Middle Eastern governments and media to foreign researchers and journalists,” and it can be found here (with a full list of signers) and below. Read more »

Obama: See No Evil, See No Enemies

by Elliott Abrams

Two almost simultaneous events in recent days have shed even more light on the Obama administration’s treatment of America’s enemies.

In Cuba, a Marxist, pro-Russian, anti-American tyranny, the administration pressed hard to abandon decades of policy in exchange for nothing. Human rights conditions there are awful, but the United States did not bargain to end the embargo in exchange for improvements. And since Obama’s announcement of a new policy, which was a simple free gift to the Castros, human rights conditions have deteriorated further. Read more »

Deja Vu and the Coming Palestinian Elections

by Elliott Abrams

Municipal elections are scheduled for October 8th in the West Bank and Gaza. Hamas has reversed its previous position and is now participating, and may win–not as Hamas, per se, but by putting forth “fellow traveler” candidates known to be close to Hamas. The elections will likely be close. Read more »

The Lutheran Church Attacks Israel, Again

by Elliott Abrams

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 »