‘Progressive’ groups tell Congress to reject ‘dangerous’ Abraham Accords

The US Presbyterian Church, Progressive Democrats of America, CAIR, JVP Action, IfNotNow and other groups called for the US to reject the accords.

 Jewish Voice for Peace (photo credit: FLICKR)
Jewish Voice for Peace
(photo credit: FLICKR)

The United States Congress was called upon to reject the Abraham Accords by 29 progressive advocacy organizations and other institutions last Wednesday.

“We're joining with other progressive orgs to tell Congress that lasting peace comes from justice, not weapons deals. The US should reject the  Abraham Accords,” Jewish Voice for Peace Action, the advocacy arm of the NGO JVP, tweeted last Friday. “Instead, we must end support for Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights and its apartheid rule.”

In a January 26 statement entitled “Reject the Dangerous Abraham Accords,” JVP Action and 28 other signatories said that they called “on members of Congress to embrace a US foreign policy toward Palestine/Israel that is rooted in human rights, justice and equality, and to resoundingly reject any attempts to further the Trump administration ‘Abraham Accords,’ including through legislation like H.R. 2748/S. 1061, the Israel Relations Normalization Act of 2021.

 Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands with US President Donald Trump after signing the Abraham Accords, normalizing relations between Israel and some of its Middle East neighbors, in a strategic realignment of Middle Eastern countries against Iran, on the South Lawn of the White House i (credit: REUTERS/TOM BRENNER) Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands with US President Donald Trump after signing the Abraham Accords, normalizing relations between Israel and some of its Middle East neighbors, in a strategic realignment of Middle Eastern countries against Iran, on the South Lawn of the White House i (credit: REUTERS/TOM BRENNER)

“While masquerading as ‘peace’ and ‘diplomacy’, the Abraham Accords and this legislation are in fact an endorsement of arms sales and political favors between the US and authoritarian regimes – including weapons sales to the United Arab Emirates and the recognition of Morocco’s illegal annexation of Western Sahara – in exchange for the sidelining of Palestinian rights,” the statement said.

Notable signatories were the Progressive Democrats of America, a political organization affiliated with the US Democratic Party, and the US Presbyterian Church, which was recently embroiled in a scandal in which one of its leaders said that Israel was committing a modern act of slavery against Palestinians. The church had over 1.2 million active members in 2020.

Besides JVP Action, other left-wing Jewish organizations also signed the document, including Jews for Racial and Economic Justice and IfNotNow.

“The Abraham Accords are dangerous weapons and business deals that harm the most vulnerable communities while lining the pockets of weapons manufacturers and sidelining Palestinian rights,” IfNotNow wrote last Friday.

Prominent Muslim advocacy groups also signed the statement, including Linda Sarsour’s MPower Change, Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Some Palestinian groups, including Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), which was recently categorized by Israel as an affiliate of the designated terrorist organization the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, also signed.

"It's a shame and an irony that anyone would oppose peace in the Middle East,” said Amit Deri, co-founder and CEO of Sharaka, an NGO that seeks to deepen and further the Abraham Accords through delegations. “Four countries finally stood up and said no to boycotts and yes to dialogue and cooperation, with many more around the region ready to join. The lack of any popular backlash further proves this. Promoting a regional peace first approach will do more to promote peace than 7 decades of boycotts ever accomplished."

The Israel Relations Normalization Act of 2021 is a bipartisan bill that was introduced last April by Democratic Illinois Rep. Brad Schneider.

The bill aims “to expand and strengthen the Abraham Accords to encourage other nations to normalize relations with Israel and ensure that existing agreements reap tangible security and economic benefits for the citizens of those countries.”

It wants the US to develop a strategy for doing so, and seeks to encourage economic ties between Israel, the Palestinians and Arab states.

The bill called to “continue support of a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resulting in two states – a democratic Jewish state of Israel and a viable democratic Palestinian state – living side by side in peace, security, and mutual recognition.”

The $23 billion arms deal referenced by the progressive groups has been suspended since it was first introduced in negotiations for the Abraham Accords. Despite this, relationships continue to flourish as President Isaac Herzog visited the UAE and Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited Bahrain this past week.