AJC’s Global Forum Tackles the Abraham Accords and Innovation in the Middle East
For as long as I can recall, I have been involved with the American Jewish Committee. As a young child, I was a silent observer of the organization’s meetings with my mom. In my sophomore year, I joined AJC’s Leaders for Tomorrow, and in my junior year, the alumni advisory board. As of early June, I joined AJC’s team as a high school intern.
I was lucky to have had the opportunity to watch AJC’s 2021 Global Forum during my first week on the job. I watched the Forum through the lens of a future diplomat — my dream job. I was intrigued by two sessions in particular, both of which were about the monumental Abraham Accords and diplomatic relations between Israel and surrounding Middle Eastern countries.
His Highness (H.H.) Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan is a cabinet member and the minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation of the United Arab Emirates. In his session, Sheikh Al Nahyan addressed the historic Abraham Accords, crediting the United States for its assistance in this diplomatic initiative. He shared his optimistic view and the effects of these newly-formed diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE. He also spoke of the mutual benefits of security and the influence of democracy on the UAE. In his answer to the moderator’s question about the ingredients of a strong diplomatic relationship, Sheikh Al Nahyan echoed the language of The Abraham Accords Declaration, emphasizing the necessity of creative solutions on both sides to establish and maintain peace. When asked what motivated the signing, Sheikh Al Nahyan articulated the three primary reasons: COVID, security benefits, and preventing violence in the Middle East.
Another session featured Moroccan women’s rights advocate Maroi Ech-Charkaouy. She spoke with Israeli representative and hi-tech innovator Gilad Carni about young leadership and how the middle east is changing before our eyes. Carni affirmed his optimism that Israeli and Arab youth will work together. On a similar note, Ech-Charkaouy sees a bright future in the joint efforts to benefit youth across the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, but believes that they need to teach lessons about how to prevent antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of hate. She believes that the next generation should solve these issues and push for change.
As diplomatic relations expand between Israel and Morocco, both countries experience mutual benefits. Israel has the ability to expand the reach of its hi-tech and biomedical industries, and Morocco is able to expand its business relationships with new partners.
Additionally, Israeli tourism to Morocco is growing rapidly. As a result, Moroccan schools are adding Hebrew and Jewish history to their curriculum. This makes Morocco the first country in the Middle East (aside from Israel) to teach Jewish history, recognizing the rich legacy of generations of Moroccan Jews.
Leaving these two sessions, I felt a refreshing sense of optimism. With Israel’s strive towards peace and the changes in the MENA region indicate that new diplomatic possibilities are on the horizon. I am inspired by Carni’s reference to “Or La’Goim” (a light unto the nations) and look forward to seeing where these new opportunities take Israel and the Jewish world.