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September 4, 2020 9:13 am

Following Normalization, American Jewish Committee to Open Office in UAE

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Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – The American Jewish Committee announced on Wednesday its plans to open an office in the United Arab Emirates.

The move comes in the aftermath of last month’s US-brokered Israel-UAE normalization agreement.

“The establishment of diplomatic relations between the UAE and Israel realizes a vision that AJC has helped to pursue for decades,” said AJC CEO David Harris in a statement. “By moving forward on our plans to open an office in the Emirates, AJC hopes to expand on our decades of bridge-building and create a wider network of stakeholders in the new relationships made possible on Aug. 13.”

Planning for an AJC office in the UAE—the 13th overseas outpost of the US-based global Jewish advocacy organization and its first in the Arab world—has been underway for nearly a year.

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AJC delegations have visited the UAE at least annually for more than 20 years and consulted regularly with senior officials, business and interfaith leaders, diplomats and policy analysts there and in the United States. AJC chief policy and political affairs officer Jason Isaacson has led the agency’s Arab outreach efforts.

With its move to open a UAE office, AJC also looks forward to deepening its ties with the expatriate Jewish community of the Emirates—a community AJC played a role in helping establish through repeated visits and introductions over the years.

“Since before the country’s founding, UAE society has encouraged tolerance and inclusion,” said UAE Ambassador to the United States Yousef Al Otaiba. “AJC’s longstanding dialogue and engagement with the UAE has played a productive role, consistent with this vision. We welcome this announcement and look forward to working with AJC in the days ahead as they continue their effective engagement in the region.”

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