Counterpoint: Middle East News Round-Up
In this forceful column for The Times of Israel, AJC CEO David Harris issues a powerful call for moral clarity. “Hamas celebrates death, something too few outside observers can truly understand,” he writes. “Israel celebrates life... And it is determined to defend life — as it should, as it must.”
Last week Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Israel of pursuing a policy of “apartheid and persecution.” AJC Director for Diplomatic Affairs Aaron Jacob exposes the HRW report’s most glaring biases, including the organization’s attempt to portray the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as racial in nature when, in fact, it is “a political conflict between two peoples with competing national goals – and should be addressed as such. Attempts to transform it into a racial or religious conflict make it much more difficult to resolve. By embracing the two-state solution and making generous peace overtures, Israel has made it abundantly clear that it does not want to rule the Palestinians.”
Both the U.S.-brokered Abraham Accords and the bipartisan Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act - signed into law earlier this year – have the potential to advance the economic conditions needed to provide a foundation for Israeli-Palestinian peace. Benjamin Rogers, AJC Director for Middle East and North Africa Initiatives, writes in this op-ed in The Hill that the $250 million allocated by Congress over five years to expand peace and reconciliation programs and bolster the Palestinian economy through private sector engagement could be transformational: “While each instrument is revolutionary, the full power of the Abraham Accords and the Lowey Fund will emerge when applied together, unleashing their potential as a catalyst for the future of an integrated, symbiotic Middle East.”
Over 70 legislators, diplomats, and officials from Europe, North America, and Israel gathered for an exclusive online discussion on the burgeoning NATO-Israel ties co-organized by the Transatlantic Friends of Israel (TFI) and the Mission of Israel to the EU and NATO. Co-hosted by TFI members MP Attila Mesterházy, NATO Parliamentary Assembly Vice President, and Canadian MP James Bezan, Vice Chair of the House of Commons National Defence Standing Committee, the panel discussion featured H.E. Aharon Leshno-Yaar, Ambassador of Israel to the EU and NATO, Colonel Nir Omer, Military Representative to NATO and to the EU, former NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges Dr. Jamie Shea, and AJC Jerusalem Director Lt Col (res.) Avital Leibovich as moderator.
The U.S.-brokered Abraham Accords achieved even more than the historic establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and three Arab nations. Jason Isaacson, AJC’s Chief Policy and Political Affairs Officer, argues in Newsweek that the agreement’s critical ‘side deals’ ought to be honored. Both the $23 billion sale of F-35 warplanes to Abu Dhabi and U.S. recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara – with Sahrawi autonomy – will bolster ties with and among these critical allies to promote regional stability, counter extremist forces and address human needs.
Vienna, 25 February 2021 - "The fight against the pandemic and the relaunch of the economy and the labour market are certainly the priority topics of the video conference of the EU heads of state and government today and tomorrow. I welcome the foresight of the EU Council President Charles...
TFI Chair Lukas Mandl Hails Establishment of Kosovo-Israel Ties and Calls for Deeper EU-Israel Relations
Brussels, February 3, 2021. "In these days, the mutual recognition of the State of Israel and the Republic of Kosovo will become a reality. As different as the two states are, it is also true that both are of particular importance for the development of the EU and Europe therefore it is a...
Israel is the world’s front-runner on COVID vaccine distribution. It didn’t take long for libelous accusations to surface that the Jewish state deliberately neglected the Palestinians even though the Oslo Accords gave the Palestinian Authority sole responsibility for health care and Ramallah never asked for Israeli help. In this Times of Israel opinion piece, AJC CEO David Harris takes on the journalists, members of Congress, and activists who are propagating falsehoods about Israel and sets the record straight about the Palestinian vaccination program.
The EU regularly expresses its commitment to Israel’s security. But when it comes to the deadly threats the Jewish state faces, more often than not Europe is missing in action. In this POLITICO Europe opinion piece, AJC CEO David Harris raises questions about Europe's mixed messaging towards Jerusalem, its misguided policy on Iran and Hezbollah, the memory of the Holocaust, and the global fight against antisemitism.
The U.S.-brokered peace agreement between Israel and Morocco goes all the way to the civilizational level. AJC Chief Policy and Political Affairs Officer Jason Isaacson explains in The Times of Israel how this year’s fourth diplomatic breakthrough for Israel in the Arab world is unique. This historic revival of the millennia-old ties between Morocco and the Jewish people are an example for others in the region to follow: “The season of game changing may be just beginning.”