Elliott Abrams


Elliott Abrams is senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Washington, DC. He served as deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser in the administration of President George W. Bush, where he supervised U.S. policy in the Middle East for the White House.

Mr. Abrams was educated at Harvard College, the London School of Economics, and Harvard Law School. After serving on the staffs of Sen. Henry M. Jackson and Daniel P. Moynihan, he was an assistant secretary of state in the Reagan administration and received the secretary of state's Distinguished Service Award from Secretary George P. Shultz. In 2012, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy gave him its Scholar-Statesman Award.

Mr. Abrams was president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC, from 1996 until joining the White House staff. He was a member of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom from 1999 to 2001 and chairman of the commission in the latter year, and in 2012 was reappointed to membership for another term. Mr. Abrams is also a member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, which directs the activities of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. He teaches U.S. foreign policy at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service.

Mr. Abrams joined the Bush administration in June 2001 as special assistant to the president and senior director of the NSC for democracy, human rights, and international organizations. From December 2002 to February 2005, he served as special assistant to the president and senior director of the National Security Council for Near East and North African affairs. He served as deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for global democracy strategy from February 2005 to January 2009, and in that capacity supervised both the Near East and North African Affairs and the democracy, human rights, and international organizations directorates of the NSC.

He is the author of four books, Undue Process (1993), Security and Sacrifice (1995), Faith or Fear: How Jews Can Survive in a Christian America (1997), and the recently released Tested by Zion: the Bush Administration and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (2013); and the editor of three more, Close Calls: Intervention, Terrorism, Missile Defense and "Just War" Today; Honor Among Nations: Intangible Interests and Foreign Policy; and The Influence of Faith: Religion and American Foreign Policy.


INAF 391 US Policy and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: 2000 to Today

This seminar will examine U.S. policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Bush and Obama Administrations. We will quickly review the negotiations before the Clinton years and then examine why Clinton’s efforts failed. We will then turn to Bush policy before 9/11, and how that event changed his views and policies. Considerable time will be spent examining the policy moves that followed: endorsement of Palestinian statehood, the Quartet, the Roadmap, support for Gaza Disengagement, and the Annapolis conference. We will then turn to the first term of the Obama Administration, including the tension in U.S.-Israel relations and the contrast between Bush and Obama approaches. We will discuss “Fayyadism” and the debate over constructing a Palestinian state; continuing efforts to promote negotiations; the rivalry between Hamas and Fatah; the effects of the Arab Spring and the conflict in November 2012. We will also review how U.S. policy is formulated as a reflection of both bureaucratic power struggles and American domestic politics.