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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Israel to Head UN Committee for the First Time: So Much for Isolation

by Elliott Abrams

The argument that Israel is becoming increasingly isolated in the world took another blow this month when–for the first time in the history of the United Nations and of Israel–the Israeli ambassador was elected to head one of the UN’s permanent committees.  This the Legal Committee, also called the “Sixth Committee,” and its covers the United Nations’ international law operations–which include matters related to terrorism and to the Geneva Conventions. Read more »

Obama, the EU, Brexit, and Syria

by Elliott Abrams

President Obama has been in Europe this week. In the U.K., he told the Brits not to think of leaving the E.U. In Germany, he said that

So this is a defining moment. And what happens on this continent has consequences for people around the globe. If a unified, peaceful, liberal, pluralistic, free-market Europe begins to doubt itself, begins to question the progress that’s been made over the last several decades, then we can’t expect the progress that is just now taking hold in many places around the world will continue. Instead, we will be empowering those who argue that democracy can’t work, that intolerance and tribalism and organizing ourselves along ethnic lines, and authoritarianism and restrictions on the press — that those are the things that the challenges of today demand. Read more »

Obama, Netanyahu, and Selective Outrage

by Elliott Abrams

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress last year about the Iran nuclear deal was viewed by President Obama as an outrageous intervention in what should have been an Americans-only internal decision.

It was true, of course, that Obama did not have the votes in Congress for his deal, which is why he did not submit it as a treaty. And it was true, of course, that Israel’s fate, its security, perhaps its existence, was in its prime minister’s eyes at risk in the nuclear deal. Read more »

Europe Goes Back to the “Peace Process”

by Elliott Abrams

Syria is coming apart and there are millions of Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. ISIS threatens Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq– which is also coming apart. The new Iran nuclear deal would deliver $150 billion in cash to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the removal of sanctions will bring even more money to the Revolutionary Guards. ISIS and other jihadis are increasingly active in Sinai. Hamas has a firm grip on Gaza. Read more »

No “Gentleman’s Agreement” for Jews in Sweden

by Elliott Abrams

The book “Gentleman’s Agreement,” by Laura Z. Hobson, appeared in 1947, followed by the film of the same name starring Gregory Peck (and winning three Oscars).

The plot is simple: a journalist assigned to write about anti-Semitism in the post-war United States decides to pose as a Jew and see what happens. He encounters a good deal of social anti-Semitism: country clubs, “restricted” neighborhoods, jobs that somehow are off-limits. He is not beaten or assaulted, nor does he face physical danger. Instead he faces quiet, unwritten “Gentleman’s Agreements” that exclude Jews. Read more »

How Safe Are the Jews of Europe?

by Elliott Abrams

A new study by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (a London-based research organization, which conducted the survey on behalf of the Fundamental Rights Agency of the EU) is “the first in a series of reports looking at the perceptions and experiences of antisemitism among Jews in different EU Member States.” Read more »

The Challenge of ISIS is Not Only Military

by Elliott Abrams

The military challenge posed by ISIS (or the “Islamic State”) is grave, as we have seen in both Syria and Iraq. It has destroyed the border between those two states and roams over both at will. It captured Mosul and threatens Baghdad; its forces defeated the Iraqi army and the Kurdish Pesh Merga easily in several battles. The threat was sufficient to force an extremely reluctant President Obama to pivot to the Middle East, use American forces, and work to build a coalition of states that would bomb the ISIS forces. Read more »