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"

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 »

Understanding the Human Rights Assaults on Israel

by Elliott Abrams

Given that Israel is the freest nation in the Middle East, and the only stable democracy there, the steady assault on Israel by human rights groups and by enemies of Israel using human rights language has always been particularly reprehensible. But it has also been hard to understand: why attack Israel precisely where its record is in fact exemplary by any international standard? Read more »

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 »