On Friday, March 26, 2021, U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) introduced the Israel Relations Normalization Act of 2021. This piece of Federal legislation reinforces the success of the Abraham Accords by declaring U.S. policy is to strengthen and expand normalization agreements while requiring coordination between the Department of State (State), the Department of Defense, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Per Senator Young’s office the bill specifically:

Requires State to provide a strategy to strengthen and expand the Abraham Accords and other related normalization agreements with Israel through;

  • An assessment regarding the future staffing and resourcing requirements of entities across the interagency for expanding and strengthening normalization agreements. 
  • An assessment regarding areas of cooperation such as economic, social, cultural, scientific, technical, educational, and health fields, as well as identification of potential roadblocks in these sectors to increased cooperation among states. 
  •  An assessment regarding potential areas for further security cooperation as well as identification potential roadblocks to future agreements.
  • A detailed description of how the U.S. Government will leverage diplomatic lines of effort and resources from other stakeholders (including from foreign governments, international donors, and multilateral institutions) to encourage normalization, economic development, and people-to-people programming.
  • Recommendations to improve State cooperation and coordination, particularly between the Special Envoy to Monitor Antisemitism and the Ambassador at-Large for International Religious Freedom, and the Office of International Religious Freedom, to combat racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and antisemitism, which hinder improvement of relations between Israel, Arab states, and other relevant countries and regions.

Requires a report on international efforts to promote normalization through:

  •  Identification of existing investment funds that support Israel-Arab state cooperation and recommendations for how such funds could be used to support normalization and increase prosperity for all relevant stakeholders.
  • A proposal for how the U.S. Government and others can utilize the scholars and Arabic language resources of the U.S. Holocaust Museum to counter Holocaust denial and antisemitism.
  •  An assessment of the feasibility and value of increasing the capacity of existing State and USAID-funded programs for developing people-to-people exchange programs for young people between Israel, Arab states, and other relevant countries and regions.
  • An assessment on the value and feasibility of interagency support for inter-parliamentary exchange programs for Members of Congress, Knesset, and parliamentarians from Arab and other relevant countries and regions, including through existing federal programs that support such exchanges.

Requires State to report on the status of anti-normalization laws in Arab states and other relevant countries and regions.

  •  Including instances of prosecution of citizens or residents of Arab countries for calling for peace with Israel, visiting the state of Israel, or engaging Israeli citizens in any way. 
  • Instances of extrajudicial retribution by Arab governments or government-controlled institutions against citizens or residents of Arab countries. 

Press Release: Senator Young

Article: Bipartisan Bill Introduced

Backgrounder: AIPAC

Letter: JCRC & The Abraham Accords