Let My People Know - Encounter Books

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Let My People Know

The Incredible Story of Middle East Peace—and What Lies Ahead

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Publication Details

Hardcover / 288 pages
ISBN: 9781641772648
Available: 07/12/2022

Let My People Know
The Incredible Story of Middle East Peace—and What Lies Ahead

The Trump Administration’s “Peace to Prosperity” vision for the Middle East was unveiled on January 28, 2020. What followed over the next eleven months was one of the most fascinating and consequential periods of U.S. foreign policy in a generation, leading to five normalization agreements between Israel and Muslim states. The Abraham Accords achieved what had seemed impossible for decades and set the Middle East on a trajectory toward a broad regional peace.

Aryeh Lightstone is uniquely positioned to tell the story. As the senior advisor to the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, he had a front-row seat on events that dramatically altered the dynamics of the Middle East. He was tasked with the most complex and sensitive component of the Abraham Accords: turning them into practical action, and doing it quickly—during a pandemic, no less. In addition, he directed the Abraham Fund, led the Abraham Accords Business Summit, and served as the key contact between Israel and the other Accords nations for implementation.

Let My People Know provides a behind-the-scenes account of the strategies that allowed the “Deal of the Century” to be struck, and an unvarnished look at the region’s idiosyncrasies that factored into the process. A rabbi and an enthralling storyteller, Lightstone paints a vivid picture of the varied cultures and personalities involved. He also offers a glimpse into the day-to-day activities of an embassy.

Finally, he explains what the Biden administration must do better to advance America’s interests abroad. We now have a paradigm for a forward-looking Middle East policy that ultimately benefits the United States. Lightstone makes the case for strategic action to maintain the momentum.

About the Author

Aryeh Lightstone served as the Senior Advisor to U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman from 2017 to 2021.

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For four years, I had the honor of representing the United States of America first as the senior advisor to the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, and then as the special envoy for economic normalization for the Abraham Accords. I was an ordinary person blessed with an extraordinary opportunity and the chance to witness history as it was being made. During those years, I frequently sat in the room with others who likewise thought of themselves as ordinary people set in positions of extraordinary importance—particularly Ambassador Friedman, but also many others such as Jared Kushner, Mike Pompeo, and Nikki Haley, to name just a few. They took their jobs extremely seriously and treasured each moment they had to make a difference. I learned invaluable lessons from my boss and my colleagues, and from leaders I interacted with in Israel and the Abraham Accords countries.

This book was written to let my people know what I saw and learned, and to share my thoughts about how the United States can build upon the unprecedented success of the Trump administration’s Middle East policy culminating in the historic Abraham Accords. Middle East peace had always been regarded as an unsolvable puzzle. Here I explain the principles that were applied to prepare the way for solving it. I bring readers into the room with me to watch as policies are being formulated.

Where I use quotation marks, readers should understand that I am generally giving a close approximation of the words spoken. There are personal vignettes, but no damaging revelations about anyone. With very few exceptions, the people I worked with were admirable and did their very best to advance the interests of the United States.

Because I am writing from my direct experience, I devote considerable space to my own activities on the job. It is first of all my personal story. But I always understood that my experience was part of a much bigger story. I can illustrate the point with a story that I read when I was ten years old and recounted many times to groups I met with in Israel. Right after the basketball game in 1962 where Wilt Chamberlain famously scored 100 points, a reporter asked a team member who had scored 2 points how the game would be remembered in history. Without hesitation he answered, “Tonight will be remembered for all of history as the night that Wilt and I combined to score 102 points.” I have since learned that the story is apocryphal, but I am sharing it because in my embassy job I was rather like the anonymous 2-point shooter in Chamberlain’s 100-point game.

I was offered the position of senior advisor by David Friedman because he knew me personally, and for the next four years I spent every waking hour trying to repay the trust that he—and through him, the U.S. government—had placed in me. History will credit the courage and vision of some remarkable leaders during those four years, but visionary leaders need team members who can execute their ideas. I am proud to have been part of a great team working on behalf of the greatest country in the history of the world. I want to Let My People Know that history was made in the Middle East during the four years of the Trump administration. This book is intended to showcase the ideas and policies that brought success and to demonstrate how best to build upon it in the future.

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