January 26, 2023 — Brussels
American Jewish Committee (AJC) CEO Ted Deutch told the European Parliament that the Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between Israel and three Arab nations, was an important historical moment “we can never take for granted.”
The Accords formalized diplomatic and economic ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and Bahrain, three nations that once refused to recognize the Jewish State.
Deutch had been part of a panel discussion Wednesday with two members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, Boas Bismut and Meirav Ben-Ari, as part of a meeting of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Israel about the Abraham Accords.
Deutch noted it was nothing less than remarkable to hear Mohamed Al Sahlawi, the UAE’s Ambassador to the European Union, say to the Knesset members that “it’s a pleasure to be here sitting in your presence,” and praised Al-Sahlawi for acknowledging the importance of teaching about the Holocaust in textbooks used in European schools.
“I just want to acknowledge that we can never take for granted how far we have come in this very short time period and how dramatic the opportunities are in the days and months and years ahead,” Deutch said.
For more than 25 years, AJC has been engaged with governments and civil society across the Arab world to promote enhanced understanding and cooperation – a mission that will be carried forward by AJC Abu Dhabi: The Sidney Lerner Center for Arab-Jewish Understanding.
The Delegation is responsible for deepening the European Parliament's contacts with Israel and the Knesset. As an unofficial diplomatic arm of the EP, the Delegation contributes to promoting the values on which the European Union is founded, as well as building renewed public trust. The Delegation also contributes to expanding the bilateral relationship between the EU and Israel.
Deutch’s comments came as Israeli President Isaac Herzog arrived in Brussels to speak Thursday to a special session of the European Parliament in advance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Deutch, diplomats, and Shoah survivors are among those expected to attend.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day is held every Jan. 27 to mark the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in 1945.