March 2, 2021
1 March 2021 (New York) – Former US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo was today granted the inaugural Global Leadership Award by the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement (CAM) at its first-ever Annual Summit.
The event, which was attended by thousands of people from tens of countries, marked two years since the establishment of CAM. Grassroots activists and distinguished international speakers from across the world discussed achievements during the past year, best practices and the challenges that lie ahead.
Pompeo said that the Abraham Accords between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco represented a paradigm shift in Middle East policy. He commented, “For decades and decades there was a central understanding. If you cannot resolve once and for all and in its totality, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, you can’t advance peace, you can’t advance stability… that was just all wrong.”
He revealed that “There was resistance in the US policy community” towards developing the Abraham Accords and “The Russians would have preferred this didn’t happen, there were quarters in Europe that would have preferred that this did not happen… they wanted to maintain the fiction that this conflict between Israel and the Palestinians was the end all and be all of the Middle East and Middle East stability.”
Pompeo said that the Abraham Accords are an “historic understanding that will change the face of the globe for decades and decades to come.” Asked whether additional countries will join the process, he said “I don’t think there will be just one, I think there will be many more. I hope that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia can find its way to join the Abraham Accords, I know that many inside that country want that to take place. But there are other nations too that can join… Muslim nations, not just in the Middle East but places like Indonesia as well.”
Reflecting on the process, Pompeo said “The Abraham Accords would not have happened, it was not possible for it to happen, without the United States changing its policy with respect to Iran 180 degrees from how the previous administration had addressed that issue,” which he said had “frankly created an inevitable pathway for a nuclear weapon for the Iranians. We came in and just flipped the script.”
He said that sanctions on Iran had “worked tremendously,” explaining they had denied Tehran “resources to underwrite Hezbollah, to underwrite Shia militias in Iraq, to underwrite their activities in Syria”, which “reduced the risk of terror throughout the region.” Pompeo explained that Iranian General Qasem Soleimani “had been responsible for so much harm throughout the region” and that when Arab leaders saw that the United States was prepared to kill him, they “knew that they had a friend and a partner, they knew that they could proceed down a path that their people wanted and work against anti-Semitism and build out a set of accords with the State of Israel.”
Pompeo received the Global Leadership Award from human rights icon Natan Sharansky and CAM Executive Director Sacha Roytman-Dratwa. The former secretary of state was chosen by CAM for the distinguished honor in recognition of his “exceptional and groundbreaking contributions to the fight against anti-Semitism and religious prejudice of all forms.”
Also at the CAM Annual Summit, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin said, “The coronavirus pandemic… has reminded us of our common humanity and of the need of all countries… to join hands to defeat the virus of anti-Semitism and radical hate. We must show zero tolerance for all forms of anti-Semitism, racism and extremism, in any country, whether in the streets, online or in the halls of power.”
Morocco’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Omar Hilale, spoke about Morocco’s recent agreement with Israel, saying “Of all countries in the region, Morocco has the most deep rooted history with the Jewish people. We have been starting to revive this history, to educate our children and to show that the Jewish people are part of our DNA.” He added, “These are the seeds of a better Middle East, a better North Africa with peace and a culture of accepting the other.”
Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations and Israeli Ambassador to the United States Gilad Erdan said, “In the past year, Anti-Semitic and racist voices have only grown louder. But this year has taught us that the truth can and will prevail. The Jewish people and the Jewish state are resilient. We must continue to share the truth and fight against racism, Anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial for the sake of Jews and non-Jews alike.”
US Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL) warned that “Anti-Semitism left unchecked will only keep spreading – that applies to both anti-Semitism on the political left and on the political right. And we can only effectively fight anti-Semitism if we are willing to call it out wherever it appears.”
US Congressman Lee Zedlin (R-NY) said that “It is up to all of us to continue fighting anti-Semitism wherever it may rear its ugly head” and praised the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition as “one of the most prominent tools created in recent years for tackling anti-Semitism.”
European Commission Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism Katharina von Schnurbein praised the fact that “we have seen football clubs, universities, cities and other entities” adopt the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism, adding “We can have decisions taken at European level, but unless it really trickles down and changes the societal approach, nothing will change.”
Other speakers included US Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), House Committee on Homeland Security, Ambassador Michaela Küchler, 2020 Chairwoman of the German IHRA Presidency, Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Elan S. Carr, Former US Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism, and Lord Eric Pickles, United Kingdom Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues.
The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement is a non-partisan, global grassroots movement of individuals and organizations, across all religions and faiths, united around the goal of ending anti-Semitism in all its forms. Since launching in February 2019, 310 organizations and 310,000 individuals have joined the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement by signing the campaign’s pledge. The CAM Pledge draws upon the IHRA international definition of anti- Semitism and its list of specific behaviors used to discriminate against the Jewish people and the Jewish State of Israel.
A recording of the event can be viewed in full here.