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Tuesday, December 06, 2022

US envoy to visit Saudi Arabia, UAE, Israel for first time to combat anti-Semitism

The US State Department announced on Thursday that the US special envoy to combat anti-Semitism will travel to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel for an 11-day visit.

Deborah Lipstadt, special envoy for monitoring and combating anti-Semitic sentiment, is making her first international trip since taking on the role in April.

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The State Department said it was ready to meet with senior government and civil society negotiators to “discuss significant changes underway in the Middle East”. “His engagement will emphasize promoting interreligious understanding as well as combating intolerance and anti-Semitism.”

Lipstadt, who will leave for the region on June 26, will visit Saudi Arabia, Israel and the West Bank for the first time since President Joe Biden takes office, weeks before his visit.

The Abrahamic Agreement brokered by former President Donald Trump marks historic peace agreements between the UAE and Bahrain with Israel. Jordan and Egypt are the only two other Arab countries that have normal relations with Israel.

While the Biden administration was initially hesitant to use the term “Abraham Agreement” when referring to peace deals, they have since backed away from the policy, which initially seemed a directive, and embraced normalization treaties. He has also publicly stated his ambition to expand the number of countries that have signed peace agreements with Israel.

The State Department said Lipstad seeks to build on the “critically important” Abraham Accords to advance religious tolerance, improve relations in the region, and combat misogyny and mistrust.

READ MORE: Ahead of Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia, White House official says US remains committed to allies

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