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.

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "Israel"

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 »

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 »

What Are Israelis and Palestinians Thinking?

by Elliott Abrams

What are Israelis and Palestinians thinking about their own situations, about each other, and about peace? Two new October polls give us additional insight.

Tel Aviv University has just put out its “Peace Index.” There we learn that Israeli Jews favor renewing peace negotiations with the Palestinians (66% to 31%) but don’t believe anything will come of them. Twenty-five percent believe the negotiations will lead to peace “in the coming years,” and 71% do not. 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 »

Prince Charles and Israeli Funerals

by Elliott Abrams

Prince Charles attended the funeral of Shimon Peres last week, in Jerusalem. This was not his first visit: he also attended the Yitzhak Rabin funeral in 1995.

In the 21 years since then he has visited Arab countries repeatedly, but Israel has remained on the blacklist. No official visit, no tourism, sum total of visits there = two visits to Mount Herzl Cemetery. Read more »