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September 11, 2020 3:28 pm

Major Jewish Groups Hail Israel-Bahrain Normalization Accord

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

US President Donald Trump speaks after it was announced Bahrain had joined the United Arab Emirates in striking an agreement to normalize relations with Israel, during a brief appearance in the Oval Office at the White House, in Washington, DC, Sept. 11, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Kevin Lamarque.

American Jewish organizations on Friday hailed the announcement of a peace agreement between Israel and the Gulf Arab kingdom of Bahrain — the second such deal between the Jewish state and an Arab state in less than a month.

News of the Israel-Bahrain agreement — which followed a similar accord between Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced on Aug. 13 — was tweeted by US President Donald Trump after he spoke by phone to both Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

William Daroff — CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations — tweeted, “The Bahrain-Israel peace agreement represents another step in the right direction for the Middle East. The rapidly shifting dynamics in the region signal a new era of cooperation, with rejectionism and extremism being set aside to give peaceful coexistence a chance.”

AIPAC — the leading pro-Israel lobbying organization in Washington, DC — said the agreement was “another historic demonstration of a new promising era in Israeli-Arab relations.”

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“These diplomatic achievements are a testament to the fact that a strong and secure Israel, backed by the United States, is critical to bringing reconciliation to the region,” AIPAC asserted. “The old and unproductive paradigm of boycotts and rejectionism is collapsing, and a new model of peace, prosperity and cooperation is emerging.”

Ronald Lauder — president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) — said, “It is clear to me that the winds of change are being felt across the Middle East. The regional embrace of Israel as a full and equal neighbor by Bahrain, following in the wake of the Israel-United Arab Emirates agreement, is emblematic of the changes taking place in the Arab world.”

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) praised the courage shown by both Israel and Bahrain.

“Making peace between nations in this manner is a courageous action that will help make the region a safer and more tolerant place,” Jonathan Greenblatt — the ADL’s CEO — said. “We hope the Bahraini and UAE agreements lead others in the region to revisit longstanding opposition to Israel and to move the region away from hate and extremism towards peace and reconciliation.”

Some Jewish organizations recalled their own diplomatic missions to Bahrain in recent years, as tensions with Israel progressively eased.

“From our first meeting with King Hamad at his palace in Bahrain we knew he was a leader committed to peace not only between two sovereign nations but between two peoples,” declared Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC).

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) said its first delegation had traveled to Bahrain in 1995.

“On our many visits to Bahrain, and meetings with Bahraini officials in the United States, we have seen the evolution of its leaders’ deep-seated interest in advancing peace and regional cooperation, culminating in this bold decision to fully embrace Israel,” said AJC CEO David Harris in a statement.

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