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June 5, 2019 10:18 am

Conference of Presidents ‘Troubled’ by News Based on Private Meeting With Pompeo

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photo: Reuters / Erin Scott.

JNS.org – The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations condemned on Tuesday the reporting of their meeting behind closed doors last week with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who told the audience that the Trump administration’s highly anticipated peace proposal between the Israelis and the Palestinians may not be “gain traction” and is currently “unexecutable.”

“It may be rejected. Could be in the end, folks will say, ‘It’s not particularly original, it doesn’t particularly work for me,’ that is, ‘It’s got two good things and nine bad things, I’m out,’” said Pompeo in an audio recording, obtained by The Washington Post.

“We are troubled by the journalistic standard that allows the use of a clandestine recording, clearly done in violation of the oft-stated rules that the session was off the record,” said COP Chairman Arthur Stark and Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein in a statement.

“An article in the Washington Post regarding Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent address to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations did not accurately reflect the intent or content of his remarks,” they said. “Secretary Pompeo gave a thoughtful and incisive analysis of a variety of international issues, including the anticipated Middle East peace initiative. He thoughtfully laid out the concerns that have been raised from various perspectives and urged people to not fall into the trap of uninformed speculation. He was positive and supportive of the initiative, both in his public and private comments.”

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Stark and Hoenlein added, “It was clear that these reservations were not his own, and he argued against such assumptions, which could prejudice the prospects for success. Throughout his comments, he sought to create a context to put these complex issues and engagements in a clearer perspective.”

On Monday, when the Post reported the secretary’s remarks, Pompeo told Sinclair TV that he was only “articulating” context in the meeting and that the notion the administration’s highly anticipated peace proposal to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be one-sided in favor of Israel is “inaccurate” and “fundamentally untrue.”

Ari Fleischer, who served as White House press secretary under US President George W. Bush, tweeted: “The fact that a guest at this meeting took an audio and provided it to the media is disgusting. The guests were fortunate to be invited to a meeting like this. To record it and release it is a betrayal of trust.”

Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks replied, “@AriFleischer It’s worse than that. The mtg was clearly stated as off the record (it was in the tape) and the reporter still reported it.”

“The fault isn’t with the media. It’s with the guest who taped the meeting and gave it to the media. The media wasn’t there and is not bound by the groundrules [sic],” replied Fleischer. “The guest is the one who violated the rules. That’s a good way to be excluded from future meetings.”

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