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Alan M. Dershowitz, professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, nominated former White House advisor Jared C. Kushner ’03 and his deputy Avrahm “Avi” Berkowitz for the Nobel Peace Prize on Sunday for their work on the Abraham Accords.
Anyone can be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, though nominators are restricted to professors and directors in the social sciences, former Nobel Peace Prize recipients, and other national and international governments and institutions, such as the International Court of Justice.
In his letter to the Nobel Committee, Dershowitz cited the Abraham Accords as fulfilling “all criteria for the prize.”
The accords mark the first normalization of diplomatic relations between an Arab country and Israel since 1994.
“The Abraham Accords was the single most important peace-oriented event of the year 2020,” Dershowitz said. “There’s no other event in the world that compares to it in importance.”
Dershowitz argued that, though many are familiar with leaders such as former President Donald J. Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and their participation in the agreement, individuals who worked “behind the scenes to get it done” deserved commendation.
“Kushner and Berkowitz traveled all over the region, meeting with leaders and their associates, advocating for peace and nailing down all the details,” he wrote in his letter.
Dershowitz is a long-time, vocal supporter of Israel and is a close ally of former President Donald Trump.
Dershowitz said he is optimistic about the Biden administration’s ability to continue building peace in the region, citing the President’s “very strong peace team,” including Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken ’84, a former Crimson editor.
“The elements are all in place to move forward and to not only have peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors, but perhaps to move closer to some peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” Dershowitz said.
Awarding the prize to individuals who helped establish the Abraham Accords could incentivize other countries to join themselves, Dershowitz said. He also predicted it would “encourage other countries to make peace” and “achieve normalization.”
“The function of the award is as much looking forward as backward,” Dershowitz added. “Giving the award to an ongoing peace process would encourage countries to join that peace process, and would encourage the Biden administration to build on it, which I hope they will do.”
Despite the prize’s renown, Dershowitz said the laureates should not be a reflection of public opinion, citing laureates including Henry Kissinger and Yasser Arafat, who he said were controversial figures at the time.
“I want to emphasize that it’s not a popularity contest,” Dershowitz said. “It’s given for specific actions that help bring about peace.”
Kushner said he was honored to be nominated in a statement.
“In 2020 we brokered peace agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, the first such agreements in over 25 years,” Kushner said. “Thanks to these agreements the region is on a new trajectory that will improve the lives of millions of Israelis and Arabs.”
Berkowitz thanked former President Trump and Kushner for “having [him] on this team,” and Dershowitz for the nomination.
“I would also like to recognize the many negotiators that Jared and I had the privilege to work with in the Middle East,” Berkowitz said in a statement. “Peace is a beautiful thing.”
First awarded in 1901, the Nobel Peace Prize has since been awarded 100 times to 131 laureates total, according to its official website. Every year, nearly 200 nominees are submitted, according to the Nobel Foundation.
The Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded in October.
—Staff writer Emmy M. Cho can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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