Council on Foreign Relations
Elliott Abrams is Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C. He served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor in the Administration of President George W. Bush, where he supervised U.S. policy in the Middle East for the White House.
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 Advisor 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.
Mr. Abrams was president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., 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 was reappointed to membership for another term from 2012-2014. Mr. Abrams is also a member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, which directs the activities of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and a member of the Board of the National Endowment for Democracy. He teaches U.S. foreign policy at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Abrams spent four years working for the United States Senate: as Assistant Counsel to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in 1975; as Special Counsel to Senator Henry M. Jackson in 1975-1976; and as Special Counsel and then Chief of Staff to Senator Daniel P. Moynihan from January 1977 to June 1979. Mr. Abrams served in the State Department during all eight years of the Reagan Administration. In January, 1981 Mr. Abrams became Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs. In this capacity he supervised United States participation in the United Nations system. In December, 1981, he was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs. In July, 1985, Mr. Abrams was appointed Assistant Secretary of State for Inter- American Affairs, where he supervised U.S. policy in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 1988, Mr. Abrams received the Secretary of State's Distinguished Service Award from Secretary George P. Shultz for his work in the Department.
Mr. Abrams was educated at Harvard College (B.A. 1969), the London School of Economics (M.Sc. Econ. 1970) and Harvard Law School (J.D. 1973). His articles and book reviews have appeared in Commentary, The Weekly Standard, The National Interest, The Public Interest, and National Review. He is the author of three books, Undue Process (1993), Security and Sacrifice (1995), and Faith or Fear: How Jews Can Survive in a Christian America (1997), 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. He appears regularly on CNN, Fox, and other major television news networks.
Mr. Abrams new book, Tested by Zion: the Bush Administration and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, was published by Cambridge University Press in March, 2013.
Council on Foreign Relations
Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies