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 "U.S. foreign policy"

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 »

Kerry Drums Up Business for Iran While Treasury Warns Against It

by Elliott Abrams

On October 31, Secretary of State Kerry continued his remarkable campaign to drum up business for Iran. Speaking at Chatham House in London, here is part of what he said:

Iran deserves the credit of having met its part of the bargain, and it’s important for us and the rest of the world to meet ours, to make sure that the lifted sanctions are in fact not still impeding the ability to be able to do business, and to grant that Iran gets the benefit of the bargain that they made. And that is just plain, simple, good faith in international relations 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 »

Iran Is Cheating on the Nuclear Deal

by Elliott Abrams

The greatest imminent danger in last year’s nuclear deal, the JCPOA, was always that Iran would cheat–taking all the advantages of the deal, but then seeking to move forward more quickly toward a nuclear weapon–and that the Obama administration would be silent in the face of that cheating. 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 »

Bahrain Slips Further into Repression

by Elliott Abrams

The Project on Middle East Democracy sums up the week in Bahrain:

First, “A Bahraini court ordered the suspension of all activities by al-Wefaq, the island-nation’s largest opposition party. The Justice and Islamic Affairs Ministry, which asked the court to issue the order, said al-Wefaq’s shuttering was needed to “safeguard the security of the kingdom….” Read more »