The historic peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates can be a model for the entire region, said former U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Howard Berman today.

Congressman Berman, who was extensively involved in improving relations between Israel and Arab nations during his 30 years in Congress, spoke at the inaugural Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba Lecture sponsored by American Jewish Committee (AJC). The lecture series is named for the Ambassador of the UAE to the United States, who played a key role in the signing of the Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain, and later Morocco.

"The United Arab Emirates wrote a new chapter in Middle East history when it announced its decision to open full relations with Israel, the step that led to the Abraham Accords," Berman said. "As we all work to expand the circle of Arab-Israeli peace, it's important to recognize this country's vision and leadership."

Congressman Berman, then Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, was instrumental in deeping U.S. - UAE relations and helped advance the historic 123 Agreement, named for a section of the 1954 Atomic Energy Act, which allowed for peaceful nuclear cooperation between the two nations. 

Today's program, at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy, was organized by AJC Abu Dhabi: The Sidney Lerner Center for Arab-Jewish Understanding, the only such permanent representation by a global Jewish organization in an Arab state. The center is headed by Marc Sievers, a former U.S. ambassador to Oman.

AJC Abu Dhabi, opened in 2021, builds on decades of AJC’s on-the-ground efforts to foster dialogue, build relationships, and lay the groundwork for normalization – including the 2020 signing of the Abraham Accords

"Having worked with – and admired the leadership of – Chairman Berman on a range of issues throughout his congressional service, AJC was honored to present him as the inaugural speaker in our Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba Lecture series," said Jason Isaacson, AJC Chief Policy and Political Affairs Officer, who has led the organization's Middle East outreach. "Partnering with the Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy in sponsoring today's lecture was a further expression of AJC's commitment to engaging the region's current and future leaders to make the promise of the Abraham Accords a reality." 

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