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US envoy to combat antisemitism to make first trip to Saudi Arabia, UAE, Israel

The State Department said Deborah Lipstadt would look to build on “the profoundly important” Abraham Accords to advance religious tolerance, improve relations in the region, and counter misunderstanding and distrust.

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The US special envoy to combat antisemitism will visit Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Israel for an 11-day trip, the State Department announced Thursday.

Deborah Lipstadt, the special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, is making her first international trip since taking on the role in April.

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She is set to meet with senior governmental and civil society interlocutors to “discuss important changes underway in the Middle East,” the State Department said. “Her engagements will emphasize promoting interfaith understanding, as well as combating intolerance and anti-Jewish sentiment.”

Lipstadt, who leaves for the region on June 26, will make the trip just weeks before President Joe Biden visits Saudi Arabia, Israel and the West Bank for the first time since taking office.

The Abraham Accords, brokered by former President Donald Trump, saw historic peace deals signed between the UAE and Bahrain with Israel. Jordan and Egypt are the only other two Arab countries to have normalized ties with Israel.

While the Biden administration initially hesitated to use the term “Abraham Accords” when referring to the peace deals, they have since backtracked on this policy, which seemed to be a directive at the start, and embraced the normalization treaties. They have also publicly stated their ambition to expand the number of countries that have signed peace deals with Israel.

The State Department said Lipstadt would look to build on “the profoundly important” Abraham Accords to advance religious tolerance, improve relations in the region, and counter misunderstanding and distrust.

Read more: Ahead of Biden trip to Saudi Arabia, White House official says US committed to allies

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