January 21, 2022
Center for American Security
Op-Ed: Why the New Congressional Abraham Accords Caucus Matters
January 21, 2022
By Fred Fleitz in Newsmax
At a time of intense partisan divisions in Washington, D.C. the launch last week of a Congressional Abraham Accords Caucus was a very welcome development, indicative of bipartisan support for continuation and expansion of one of the most significant foreign policy achievements in decades.
The Abraham Accords, signed at the White House on Sept. 15, 2020, were the result of years of negotiations by the Trump Administration, especially Senior Adviser to President Trump Jared Kushner and Special Representative for International Negotiations Avi Berkowitz.
The accords normalized relations between Israel and several Arab states — the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco — and enhanced regional security and economic opportunities.
The new Abraham Accords Congressional Caucus is a group of eight lawmakers — four Democrats and four Republicans, half from each house. The members are: Sens. James Lankford, R-Okla., Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Cory Booker, D-N.J., . Members additionally include, Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., David Trone, D-Md., Ann Wagner, R-Mo., and Brad Schneider, D-Ill.
These members of Congress realize the Abraham Accords were a historic breakthrough for two reasons. First, the Trump administration convinced Arab states that Iran was a common threat to their security, not Israel, which could be a friend and ally.
Second, Arab states moved beyond the Palestinians, who turned down a very generous agreement negotiated by Trump administration officials and refused to give them a veto over making peace with Israel.
Early on, the Biden administration was cool to the Abraham Accords because of its knee-jerk rejection of anything Donald Trump did as president, and because of pro-Palestinian sympathies on the left.
As a result, Biden administration officials downplayed these agreements, refused to use the descriptor "Abraham Accords," and pressed Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians, including allowing the U.S. to open a consulate for Palestinians — in Jerusalem.
Recently, however, Biden administration officials have begun to support the Abraham Accords and have started talking about expanding them to more Arab states.
Although the Biden administration has not dropped the idea of opening a Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem, the Israeli government has made clear it will never agree to this.
The Abraham Accords Congressional Caucus is an important development since it will be a high-profile, bipartisan, and bicameral body promoting peace in the Mideast.
It's rare instance when liberals in Congress put aside their hatred of Donald Trump, recognizing one of his initiatives as a major achievement for our nation.
This suggests that good policies can bridge the deep partisan divide in Washington.
The caucus should encourage the Biden administration to stand with one of America’s most important allies — Israel — by supporting the Abraham Accords and recruiting new members, including Saudi Arabia.
The caucus vindicates the hard work and unconventional thinking of the Trump presidency, one which rejected previous failed approaches to Mideast peace by the foreign policy establishment. By endorsing this initiative, the Abraham Accords Caucus will encourage other new approaches to promote U.S. national security while keeping our nation out of unnecessary wars.
Fred Fleitz serves as Vice-Chair, Center for American Security for the America First Policy Institute (AFPI).