Reaping the Religious and Cultural Benefits of the Abraham Accords

When the historic peace deals among Israel, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates were concluded in 2020, it was hoped that—unlike the earlier treaties between Jerusalem and both Jordan and Egypt—they would foster not only diplomatic relations and military cooperation, but “people-to-people” contacts as well. In this vein, the first-ever Abraham Accords Global Leadership Summit, intended to be an annual event, recently took place in Rome, bringing together diplomats, clergy, and others from 40 countries. Rabbi Elie Abadie of the UAE, Imam Mohammad Tawhidi, and Pastor Carlos Luna Lam of Guatemala—all of whom attended the summit—write:

Significantly, the central focus of the summit was not only to celebrate the successes the historic Accords have brought to the region in just two years but, most importantly, the promise to bring people together to explore innovative ways to promote the values of the Accords—tolerance, religion, traditional family, economic peace and prosperity—in as yet unfathomed ways. The goal was to find ways to widen this new regional paradigm and explore novel approaches to replicate the peace and coexistence attained in the Middle East in other parts of the world, including in Europe, the Americas, and beyond.

It was truly meaningful for us, as representatives of the Abrahamic religions, to unite on stage in a conversation about our future. All three of us recognize the shared past that unites us and acknowledge that we must strive to build a common vision for our future.

Critical to this collective future is our celebration of the traditional family unit and its core role in preserving the identity and culture of society. We all agreed during the conversation that our traditional family values are at the forefront of our Abrahamic heritage, and form the cornerstone of our societies, connecting us and preserving our identity and unique cultures. It is these traditional values that have sustained and allowed religions and cultures to impact the world constructively, resulting in society’s commitment to a strong sense of humanity.

Read more at JNS

More about: Abraham Accords, Interfaith dialogue, Jewish-Christian relations, Jewish-Muslim Relations


How to Save the Universities

To Peter Berkowitz, the rot in American institutions of higher learning exposed by Tuesday’s hearings resembles a disease that in its early stages was easy to cure but difficult to diagnose, and now is so advanced that it is easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. Recent analyses of these problems have now at last made it to the pages of the New York Times but are, he writes, “tardy by several decades,” and their suggested remedies woefully inadequate:

They fail to identify the chief problem. They ignore the principal obstacles to reform. They propose reforms that provide the equivalent of band-aids for gaping wounds and shattered limbs. And they overlook the mainstream media’s complicity in largely ignoring, downplaying, or dismissing repeated warnings extending back a quarter century and more—largely, but not exclusively, from conservatives—that our universities undermine the public interest by attacking free speech, eviscerating due process, and hollowing out and politicizing the curriculum.

The remedy, Berkowitz argues, would be turning universities into places that cultivate, encourage, and teach freedom of thought and speech. But doing so seems unlikely:

Having undermined respect for others and the art of listening by presiding over—or silently acquiescing in—the curtailment of dissenting speech for more than a generation, the current crop of administrators and professors seems ill-suited to fashion and implement free-speech training. Moreover, free speech is best learned not by didactic lectures and seminars but by practicing it in the reasoned consideration of competing ideas with those capable of challenging one’s assumptions and arguments. But where are the professors who can lead such conversations? Which faculty members remain capable of understanding their side of the argument because they understand the other side?

Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Israel on campus