December 14, 2023 — Washington, DC
American Jewish Committee (AJC), the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people, today applauded House and Senate passage of the MARITIME Act and legislation to create a dedicated ambassador-rank Special Envoy for the Abraham Accords. Both included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24), these measures seek to curb Iran’s influence in the region, disrupt support for the regime’s terrorist proxies, and enhance Israel’s integration by employing a robust framework to expand regional cooperation. AJC thanks the Co-Chairs of the Senate and House Abraham Accords Caucus, Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV), James Lankford (R-OK), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Ann Wagner (R-MO), and David Trone (D-MD) for their leadership on the MARITIME Act; and Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Jim Risch (R-ID), and Representatives Ritchie Torres (D-NY) and Mike Lawler (R-NY) for their initiative to authorize the Special Envoy for the Abraham Accords.
“For decades, AJC has been at the forefront of building coalitions in the Middle East, cultivating the growing circle of allies who are determined to ensure that Israel’s right to exist goes unchallenged. Iran’s malign activities – whether edging closer to a nuclear weapons capability, repressing the rights of its citizens, or supporting terrorist proxies – continue to pose an ongoing threat to regional and global peace,” said AJC CEO Ted Deutch. “As Israel responds to the ruthless and unparalleled Iran-backed Hamas terror attack on October 7, regional partnerships are increasingly important to counter Iran’s destabilizing influence. America must lead this vital regional cooperation to improve collective security by strengthening and building on the success of the Abraham Accords.”
As reflected in the FY24 NDAA, the MARITIME Act requires the Department of Defense to develop an integrated security architecture with allies and partners in the Middle East to counter maritime threats posed by Iran, violent extremist organizations, piracy activities, and criminal networks.
The legislation also authorizes a dedicated ambassador-rank Special Envoy for the Abraham Accords, Negev Forum, and Related Integration and Normalization Fora and Agreements. The Special Envoy would lead U.S. Government efforts to expand normalization opportunities, strengthen existing normalization agreements and pursue further regional integration, advance negotiations on a regional economic and security framework, and harness whole-of-government resources to deliver tangible benefits to the people living in the Middle East and North Africa.
AJC is the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people. With headquarters in New York, 25 offices across the United States, 14 overseas posts, as well as partnerships with 38 Jewish community organizations worldwide, AJC’s mission is to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel and to advance human rights and democratic values in the United States and around the world. For more, please visit www.ajc.org.