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 "Israel"

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 »

Foreign Aid for Hamas

by Elliott Abrams

I’ve written about a half dozen times in the past about UNRWA, the UN agency that deals with Palestinians: here in 2014 and here in 2015, for example. Simply put, UNRWA has long had employees who were sympathetic to Hamas, and who engaged in acts of anti-Semitism, but it has overlooked their actions and indeed often protected them. That appears to be the culture of the place. Read more »

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 »

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 »

Abbas Spurns Rivlin’s Hand–and Peace

by Elliott Abrams

Since leaving the White House in January, 2009, I’ve been telling audiences that Palestinian president and PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas will never, never sign a peace agreement with Israel–no matter what its content.

Those still in doubt might reflect on the events of this week. Abbas and Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, were both in Brussels, and European President Martin Schulz thought it would be nice to get them together. Rivlin’s post is ceremonial, but that’s all the more reason for a ceremonial gesture toward reconciliation. Abbas simply refused. Rabin could shake the hand of the terrorist Arafat, but Abbas could not shake the hand of the ex-parliamentarian, now president, Rivlin. Read more »

American Jews and Israel

by Elliott Abrams

Are American Jews and Israel drifting apart? In an article and a podcast I examine the theories and two recent books on the subject.

The article is the monthly essay at the web site Mosaic, and can be found here. There are very interesting responses as well from several distinguished commentators: Profs. Jack Wertheimer, Martin Kramer, and Daniel Gordis. Read more »

Biden’s Untimely Assault on Israel

by Elliott Abrams

Yesterday, Israel was assaulted twice: once by terrorists, and once by the Vice President of the United States.

The physical attack was in Jerusalem, where a bomb injured 21 people in a bus, several of them seriously.

On the very same day, the VP addressed the group called J Street and shared with it not solidarity with Israelis under attack but–with remarkable timing–a rhetorical attack on the government of Israel. Read more »