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September 25, 2012 10:03 am

U.S. Jewish Leaders Cancel Meeting with Palestinian Authority Leader Abbas

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PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Photo: wiki commons.

A scheduled meeting between the president of the Palestinian Authority and American-Jewish leaders in New York yesterday was canceled after the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stepped in to voice its displeasure, according to Israeli newspaper Maariv.

Billionaire businessman Mort Zuckerman, a former leader of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, organized the meeting, with PA President Mahmoud Abbas according to the report.

Abraham Foxman, the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, and Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents, were also scheduled to attend the meeting arranged to coincide with Abbas’ visit to New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

Netanyahu’s office reached Zuckerman and said it was “unacceptable” to meet with the Palestinian leader when Abbas himself refused to sit down with Israeli leaders.

An unnamed member of the Jewish community in New York told Ma’ariv: “Because of the behavior of Mahmoud Abbas and his refusal to meet with the Prime Minister, it was a foregone conclusion.”

In a phone interview with The Algemeiner, Malcolm Hoenlein confirmed the report saying, “There was a meeting, but a number of the people that were to participate thought that it wasn’t appropriate and declined,” he said,  “As long as Abbas resists overtures from Israel it wasn’t appropriate,” he explained.

“We have had many meetings with people from many countries which have generally been positive, but we have never positioned ourselves as a substitutive for the government  of Israel,” he said.

Hoenlein also said that the meeting wasn’t cancelled, “we just declined to attend,” he clarified, but the meeting still took place, “not with Mort Zuckerman, with others.”

Reached on the phone by The Algemeiner, Mr. Foxman, and Liran Dan, Spokesperson for the Israeli Prime Minister’s office declined to comment on the story. Mr. Zuckerman did not immediately respond to The Algemeiner’s request for comment.

Abbas will address the General Assembly on Thursday, the same day as Netanyahu, and is expected to apply for upgraded Palestinian status at the UN.  Last year, Abbas campaigned for full-membership status at the UN but efforts joined by Washington to thwart the bid were successful. Now Abbas plans to apply for a non member observer state status.

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