Photo Credit: Oded Karni
Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was given the inaugural Global Leadership Award by the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement at its first annual summit, March 1, 2021.

“Many more” countries are expected to join the Abraham Accords and normalize their relations with Israel, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo predicts, including Muslim nations that are not in the Middle East.

Pompeo was given the inaugural Global Leadership Award by the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement (CAM) at its first-ever Annual Summit on Monday.

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The event, which was attended by thousands of people from tens of countries, marked two years since the establishment of CAM.

Pompeo received the Global Leadership Award from human rights icon Natan Sharansky and CAM Executive Director Sacha Roytman-Dratwa.

The former secretary of state was chosen by CAM for the distinguished honor in recognition of his “exceptional and groundbreaking contributions to the fight against anti-Semitism and religious prejudice of all forms.”

In his remarks, Pompeo said that the Abraham Accords between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Morocco represented a paradigm shift in Middle East policy.

“For decades and decades, there was a central understanding. If you cannot resolve once and for all and in its totality, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, you can’t advance peace, you can’t advance stability… that was just all wrong,” he stated.

He revealed that “there was resistance in the US policy community” towards developing the Abraham Accords and “the Russians would have preferred this didn’t happen, there were quarters in Europe that would have preferred that this did not happen… they wanted to maintain the fiction that this conflict between Israel and the Palestinians was the end all and be all of the Middle East and Middle East stability.”

The former top diplomat said that the Abraham Accords are a “historic understanding that will change the face of the globe for decades and decades to come.”

Asked whether additional countries will join the process, he said “I don’t think there will be just one, I think there will be many more. I hope that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia can find its way to join the Abraham Accords, I know that many inside that country want that to take place. But there are other nations too that can join… Muslim nations, not just in the Middle East but places like Indonesia as well.”

Reflecting on the process, Pompeo said “the Abraham Accords would not have happened, it was not possible for it to happen, without the United States changing its policy with respect to Iran 180 degrees from how the previous administration had addressed that issue,” which he said had “frankly created an inevitable pathway for a nuclear weapon for the Iranians. We came in and just flipped the script.”

He said that sanctions on Iran had “worked tremendously,” explaining they had denied Tehran “resources to underwrite Hezbollah, to underwrite Shia militias in Iraq, to underwrite their activities in Syria”, which “reduced the risk of terror throughout the region.”

Pompeo explained that Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a US strike in January 2020, “had been responsible for so much harm throughout the region” and that when Arab leaders saw that the US was prepared to kill him, they “knew that they had a friend and a partner, they knew that they could proceed down a path that their people wanted and work against anti-Semitism and build out a set of accords with the State of Israel.”

Morocco’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Omar Hilale, spoke about Morocco’s recent agreement with Israel, saying “Of all countries in the region, Morocco has the most deep-rooted history with the Jewish people. We have been starting to revive this history, to educate our children and to show that the Jewish people are part of our DNA.”

He added that “these are the seeds of a better Middle East, a better North Africa with peace and a culture of accepting the other.”

The UAE and Bahrain signed a historic peace agreement with Israel at the White House on September 15, the first agreement to be signed between Israel and an Arab country in 25 years.

The UAE was the first major Arab state to recognize Israel since the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty was signed in October 1994.

Announced on August 13, the Abraham Accords is the first between a Gulf state and Israel and is expected to lead to similar agreements with other Arab countries, possibly Oman or Saudi Arabia.

Israel and Sudan announced the normalization of ties in October 2020. Morocco joined the Abraham Accords in December.

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