The S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace.
The S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace was established in 1989 by Slim Fast Foods Chairman Dan Abraham and Utah Congressman Wayne Owens. A World War II combat veteran, Abraham experienced the horrors of war and has since committed himself to the prevention of future conflicts. When he met Owens, who served on the House Foreign Affairs and Select Intelligence Committees, the two men recognized that they shared a determination to achieve a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
After serving in the U.S. House of Representatives on the Foreign Affairs and Judiciary Committees from 1997-2010, Florida Congressman Robert Wexler joined the Center as President to build upon the lifelong work of Abraham and Owens.
The Center works with leaders, policymakers, and constituencies in the United States, Middle East and worldwide to advance steps to narrow and ultimately resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Educating Members of Congress, diplomats, clergy, community leaders and educators about the current realities, historical evolution and perspectives that comprise the conflict, the Center’s activities include engaging government officials, leading diplomatic exchanges, promoting religious peacebuilding initiatives, creating policy prescriptions and sponsoring learning programs. The Center also supports negotiations and learning through its exhaustive database of maps and geographical data which are often used by top decision makers.
The Center is dedicated to the vision of our chairman, Dan Abraham, that progress, and ultimately peace, is possible.
S. Daniel Abraham is a leading American entrepreneur and pioneer in both the pharmaceutical and diet food business. In 1947, shortly after returning from Europe where he served as an infantryman in the U.S. Army, Mr. Abraham purchased Thompson Medical Company. At the time, Thompson Medical owned a single pharmaceutical product with annual sales of $5,000. It is now a major, privately held company distributing a wide variety of products. His keen interest in the weight loss industry led him to develop the now-independent Slim-Fast Foods, which is the most innovative and successful weight loss and meal substitute nutritional food company in the United States.
Mr. Abraham is a generous and thoughtful philanthropist dedicated to a variety of causes, among them improving health care and nutrition, encouraging Middle East peace, and broadening educational opportunities. His gift to the Mayo Clinic served to create the highly innovative Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center, whose opening in 2007 received national media coverage. A passionate advocate and supporter of higher education, Abraham has endowed the S. Daniel Abraham Chair in Middle East Policy Studies at Princeton University, and a Chair in Nutritional Medicine at Harvard University Medical School. He has also funded the Dan Abraham School for Business Administration and Economics at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, the S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program at Yeshiva University, and the S. Daniel Abraham Honors Program at Stern College for Women.
Mr. Abraham has strong ties to Israel, which he expresses through deep personal involvement and commitment. In 1989, Mr. Abraham and the late Utah Congressman Wayne Owens established the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace, which works to promote a just and comprehensive resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
In the course of Mr. Abraham’s travels, he became convinced that Israel’s greatest security would come from peace with its neighbors, and this belief spurred his efforts to support the peace process. He is a trusted friend of many top leaders in the United States, Israel, and throughout the Middle East, and through those personal channels has worked tirelessly over the past two decades to help bring an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Mr. Abraham’s work in this arena prompted former President Bill Clinton to say: “When peace finally comes to the Middle East, it will be because of people like Dan Abraham.”
Mr. Abraham and his wife, Ewa, reside in Palm Beach with their two children. Mr. Abraham is a proud father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He holds honorary doctorates from Ben-Gurion University, Bar-Ilan University and Yeshiva University.
Robert Wexler is the President of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace in Washington, DC. He served as a Democratic Member of Congress from 1997 to 2010, representing Florida’s 19th district in the House of Representatives before retiring to lead the Center. Wexler was named one of the “50 Most Effective Legislators in Congress” by the influential magazine Congressional Quarterly and was named to the Forward 50 list as one of the most influential leaders in the American Jewish community.
In 2008, Congressman Wexler served as an advisor on Middle East and Israel issues to President Barack Obama during his presidential campaign. In 2012, he served on the President’s reelection Steering Committee and addressed the Democratic National Convention outlining the President’s policies related to Israel.
Throughout his tenure in Congress, Wexler was an outspoken advocate for the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel and a leading proponent of Israel’s right to self-defense and the need for a just and comprehensive resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. He traveled on numerous congressional delegations to the Middle East and met with the leaders of Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Kuwait, Turkey, Syria, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, and the Palestinian Authority. At President Clinton’s invitation, he was the only member of the House of Representatives present during the signing of the Wye River Peace Agreement. In addition, Wexler was one of two Congressmen to travel to the International Court of Justice at The Hague to oppose the Palestinian case against Israel’s construction of a security barrier.
Congressman Wexler served as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Europe, a senior Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and a member of the Middle East Subcommittee. Wexler worked to strengthen the transatlantic alliance, build security and economic bonds with the European Union and the nations of Europe, and help guide the economic and political development of the former Soviet States. Wexler served as an American representative to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and was the co-founder of the Caucus on U.S.-Turkish Relations, the Taiwan Caucus and the Indonesia Caucus. He was also an active member of the India Caucus. In addition, Wexler served as a senior member of the Judiciary Committee and the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property.
Born in New York, Congressman Wexler moved to South Florida with his family at age 10. He earned his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Florida and law degree from George Washington University. Before serving in Congress, he served in the Florida Senate for six years. Congressman Wexler and his wife, Laurie, have three children.
Joel Braunold is the managing director of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace having consulted for leading organizations, funds and foundations on public policy and issues surrounding financing of violence prevention and peacebuilding in the domestic and international contexts. He served as the Executive Director of the Alliance for Middle East Peace, during which he built its global footprint, impact and brand leveraging over $50 million into the field of peacebuilding and led the coalition that passed the Nita M Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act leveraging $250 million in a new authorized fund for peacebuilding.
A contributor for Ha’aretz and the Jerusalem Post, his work has been published in numerous national and international publications including the New York Daily News, the Guardian, the Huffington Post, the Hill and the Daily Beast. He has been a guest lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, National Defense University in Washington DC, Loyola Marymount University, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and at Bar Ilan University.
He has worked regularly with the U.S. State Department, USAID, the National Security Council and Congress on the needs of the peace building community. Outside the U.S., Joel works with national governments and multilateral institutions.
Joel is an alumnus of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and holds a BA(Hons) in philosophy from Bristol University. He is a board member of the Alliance for Peacebuildng, is the recipient of the Avi Schaefer Peace Innovation Prize, is a senior fellow for the Alliance for Youth Movements and holds Honorary Life Membership to the National Union of Students (UK). He was selected as an Emerging Leader by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs for their class of 2018 and is currently a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Yousef Bashir is the Director of Research & Operations for the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace . Yousef is a Palestinian-American author of The Words of My Father: Love and Pain in Palestine (Harper). Yousef holds a BA in International Affairs from Northeastern University and an MA in Co-existence and Conflict from Brandeis University. Yousef is a sought after speaker, having lectured across the United States and has been profiled by the New Yorker, New York Times, Washington Post and The Hill. Yousef was a recipient of the Seeds of Peace GATHER fellowship (2019) and the Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship (2016). Yousef served as a foreign affairs fellow in the US Senate, and worked as the Manager of Congressional Affairs for the Palestinian Diplomatic Delegation to the United States.
In the Press
- For Progressives, Iron Dome Isn’t the Issue. It’s Israel Itself Robert Wexler Writes in the New York Times
- Leadership of the Abraham Center Meets with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita (Twitter)
- In Reversal, Israel’s New Government Engages With Palestinian Authority Joel Braunold in the New York Times
- How the Abraham Accords Shaped the Mideast One Year On Joel Braunold for I24 News
- The Impact of the Meeting between Prime Minister Bennett and President Biden Robert Wexler for BICOM (Podcast)
- With Israeli-Palestinian Peace Fund, Congress Signals U.S. Hasn’t Given up Yet Robert Wexler for Ha’aretz
- Leadership of the Abraham Center Meets with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Twitter)
- What Stands in the Way of Gaza Rebuild? Qatari Cash, Misguided Policies & Hamas Itself By Joel Braunold for Ha’aretz
- How to Lose Without Violence Joel Braunold for Shalom Hartman Institute (Podcast)
- Stop Using U.S.-Israel Ties for Partisan Purposes, Menendez Tells Senate Floor Joel Braunold in Ha’aretz
- Abraham Accords: Getting a Win-Win for Israelis and Palestinians By Robert Wexler for Jerusalem Post
- How Can the U.S. Help Improve the Lives of Israelis, Palestinians? By Robert Wexler for Jerusalem Post
- Give Democrats Something to be For, Not Against, on Israel Robert Wexler in Times of Israel
- Give Democrats Something to be For, Not Against, on Israel Robert Wexler in Times of Israel