Israeli think tank holds summit 'to confront obstacles facing US Jews and Muslims'

Diplomats from the Abraham Accords countries, Jewish and Muslim experts, and civil society experts took part in the summit.

Jewish star necklaces are a signifier of Jewish identity and, some fear, a potential risk during times of antisemitism. (photo credit: GETTY IMAGES/JTA)
Jewish star necklaces are a signifier of Jewish identity and, some fear, a potential risk during times of antisemitism.
(photo credit: GETTY IMAGES/JTA)

WASHINGTON – Israeli think tank “Reut” held a strategic summit in Washington last week, to celebrate the second anniversary of the Abraham Accords, exploring ways to expand the accords and “to confront the obstacles facing Jews and Muslims in America.”

Diplomats from the Abraham Accords countries, Jewish and Muslim experts, and civil society experts took part in the summit and participated in open discussion about the role of the Abraham Accords in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the challenges facing the Jewish and Muslim communities in America.

“We look at the rising antisemitism from across the political spectrum and you see how the map of threats to the Jewish community is getting ever more complicated. But we identify there is one key element, one key challenge that is not even defined as a challenge – we call it the Jewish erasure."

 Eran Shayshon, CEO of Reut

“Reut is an action-oriented think tank to ensure the security and prosperity of the state of Israel and the Jewish world,” said Eran Shayshon, CEO of Reut. “It's a combination between the work of analysis based on a unique methodology and also grassroots work. We both do the thinking and promote the change that is required.”

“The methodology that we use was born following the Yom Kippur War, where the Israeli leadership did not have a lack of intelligence in regards to the intentions of the Syrians and Egyptians to invade Israel,” he said. “What was missing was a relevant mindset, even when there were indications that the Syrians and the Egyptians were about to invade. The mindset was that six years following the Six-Day War, they probably wouldn't dare. Our expertise emanates from our ability to identify the gap between reality and the perception of reality.”

Participants in an interfaith memorial ceremony enter the New Mexico Islamic Center mosque to commemorate four murdered Muslim men, hours after police said they had arrested a prime suspect in the killings, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, US August 9, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/ANDREW HAY)Participants in an interfaith memorial ceremony enter the New Mexico Islamic Center mosque to commemorate four murdered Muslim men, hours after police said they had arrested a prime suspect in the killings, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, US August 9, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/ANDREW HAY)

“We look at the rising antisemitism from across the political spectrum and you see how the map of threats to the Jewish community is getting ever more complicated,” Shayshon said. “But we identify there is one key element, one key challenge that is not even defined as a challenge – we call it the Jewish erasure,” he said.

He went on to say that “illiberalism in America which is often the result of the dogmatic woke culture, undermines several social groups and minorities in unique ways, and the way that illiberalism translates into a challenge to Jews in America, is what Reut calls the Jewish erasure, which is the consequence of the framing of Jews as whites and Israel as white colonialist state.”

Jews, Muslims and oppression in America

“This erasure of Jews as a religious minority who suffer the most from hate crimes often trivialize antisemitism,” said Sahyson. “This framing is often being exploited by an alliance of Islamists and radical progressives who ideologically oppose Israel.”

He said that while American Muslims “are likely to embrace the oppressor/oppressed binary framework, many of them are threatened by the universalistic outlook of the progressive discourse and attempt to avoid association with radical Islamist organizations who pretend to represent them.”

“The Abraham Accords provide an opportunity for centrist Muslims and Jews to collaborate against a well-defined shared threat,” he said. “The frameworks we established present tremendous opportunities for collaboration moving forward, and seeing our distinguished guests engage in productive and nuanced dialogue reinforced by optimism,” said Sahyson.