Mere hours after the announcement on Tuesday that the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Israeli and Palestinian affairs had been promoted to a position that was tailor-made just for him, the American Jewish Committee jumped in to welcome the move.
“Congratulations to our friend @HadyAmr on being appointed Special Representative for Palestinian Affairs,” tweeted the self-described “staunchly non-partisan” organization. “AJC looks forward to our continued work with you to advance American engagement in the region and the cause of peace across the Middle East.”
The timing wasn’t the only thing disturbing about Amr’s “elevation” to a concocted new job—from whose title the word “Israel” is conspicuously absent—or about the AJC’s fawning response to it. But it was certainly symbolic, as it fell on Nov. 29.
On this date in 1947, the U.N. General Assembly passed Resolution 181, which called for the partition of British-ruled Mandatory Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab one. It was the precursor to the declaration of the birth of the State of Israel less than six months later, on May 14, 1948.
Referred to in Hebrew as Kaf Tet B’November, it is celebrated annually by Israelis and—like Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independence Day)—mourned by the Arabs who rejected the original partition plan and who continue to refuse coexistence with the “Zionist entity.” In a horrifying historical twist, the UNGA has joined the “Palestinians” who mark the nakba (catastrophe) of Israel’s birth by stressing and acting on their intention to eliminate it.
The international body even voted on Wednesday in favor of holding an official commemorative Nakba Day event to honor all those decrying the Jewish state’s upcoming 75th anniversary. The world couldn’t have found a more fitting way to champion the sharp rise in antisemitism that so many countries and NGOs claim to be attempting to combat.
The AJC is among the latter, denouncing the phenomenon at every turn and warning against its consequences for Jews and the societies in which they live. It has been vocal, as well, about the Iranian regime’s “murderous onslaught against peaceful protesters” for the past few months, and its long-term disregard for the universal human rights of its own citizens.”
The group also points to the decades of Tehran’s use of proxies—such as Lebanon-based Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Gaza, militias supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad, the Houthis in Yemen and others—to terrorize “communities and countries across the Middle East.”
How, then, can it consider Amr a “friend” or someone “advancing” peace in the region? In the first place, his efforts, like those of Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the administration of President Joe Biden as a whole, have encouraged Arab intransigence.
They undermine the Abraham Accords by reverting to the old leftist tenet that peace can’t be achieved without a solution to the Palestinian problem. This presumption was exposed two years ago as false by former U.S. President Donald Trump, then-Israeli Prime Minister (now premier-elect) Benjamin Netanyahu and the Gulf states.
Team Biden’s appeasement and propping up of the crumbling Palestinian Authority and its aging, loathed leader, Mahmoud Abbas, sends the worse possible signal to the Arab signatories of the accords. Amr is not only a key player in this endeavor; he’s a proud one.
In a press briefing on Wednesday via telephone from the State Department’s Dubai Regional Media Hub, Amr reiterated the administration’s commitment to reopening the Consulate General (aka de facto embassy for Palestinians) that was merged in March 2019 with the U.S. embassy when Trump moved it from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem—which he formally recognized as Israel’s capital.
Amr then boasted about the United States now being the largest donor of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Trump de-funded the corrupt organization, whose schoolbooks indoctrinate Palestinian children to hate Israel and whose teachers have been caught inciting to terrorism on social media. Amr said that the financial backing for UNRWA that Biden restored is going to be expanded next year by many millions of dollars.
His statements about his chums in Doha were especially noteworthy.
“I have over the past year or two been in very regular contact with the Qatari envoy to the Palestinian Territories … and we certainly work to make sure our policies are aligned, and that Qatar’s engagement with the Palestinians kind of aligns with U.S. policy … We are of course very grateful for the support that the government of Qatar has given to the Palestinian people … And we feel that the government is playing a very positive role in improving the quality of life for ordinary Palestinians.”
Well, the state sponsor of terrorism and ally of Iran’s is definitely padding the pockets of Hamas and PIJ operatives and their dispatchers. The AJC must be aware of this fact.
Can it actually be blind to Amr’s longtime support for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and hostility to Israel? Does it not realize his deep ties to Qatar?
He was, after all, the founding director of the Doha Center of the Washington-based think tank the Brookings Institution, which he led from 2006 to 2010. Its biggest foreign donor, as it happens, was the government of Qatar.
The AJC really shouldn’t be welcoming Amr in any capacity, let alone one that involves the United States assisting forces bent on the destruction of the Jewish state. But lauding him after expressing trepidation about the makeup of the incoming Israeli government is beyond inexcusable.
Responding to the results of the Nov. 1 Knesset elections, it wrote, in part, “For AJC, and for many Jews in America, Israel, and around the world, past statements of some potential members of the governing coalition raise serious concerns about issues we prioritize: pluralism, inclusion, and increased opportunities for peace and normalization. Regardless of the composition of any governing coalition, we will continue to work with those in the Israeli government and in Israeli society who are committed to advancing democracy, inclusion, and peace, and to combating efforts to undermine these values.”
The implication is loud, clear and beggars belief: that not all of Israel’s new leadership will be as kosher in the eyes of the AJC as Amr.
Ruthie Blum is an Israel-based journalist and author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab Spring.’ ”