As Mike Pompeo’s team contemplates a presidential run, Israel took center stage for our esteemed former Secretary of State, who chose to launch his memoir, Never Give an Inch, with the Jewish community he holds near and dear. Last Tuesday evening, the Israel Heritage Foundation (IHF) hosted a book-signing at Lower Manhattan’s Wall Street Grill with an array of pro-Israel activists.
“There are no truer words than ‘He shall bless your heritage,’” as is embedded on the IHF emblem, related Pompeo, an Evangelical Christian. “I was America’s Secretary of State. My duty was to uphold America’s Constitution; but one cannot possibly do that without a discipline in one’s faith, and an understanding of the American Judeo-Christian heritage.” Pompeo said that his book “is truly an expression of my understanding of the greatness of our nation and the importance of faith to executing the next 250 years of American greatness.” He admitted that compromise is found on common ground, noting we do not settle “on the things that matter, on the things we hold dear, on our understanding of G-d, and on our understanding of Israel’s place in the world.”
Jonathan Burkan, Dinner Co-Chairman, opened the evening with special thanks to Judah and Carol Rhine, the evening’s Dinner Coordinators, and Jason Weingartner. Rabbi David Katz, IHF Executive Director, revealed, “I always think of Mike Pompeo, because Mr. Pompeo always thinks of our organization. He thinks of Israeli heritage, the Jews of Israel, and of America.” “The only way to peace is through strength,” said Rabbi Dr. Joseph Frager, IHF Executive Vice President, divulging, “As a testament to the Secretary’s influence and brilliance, the book has already been the biggest story of the day.”
“Anti-Semitism is not going away, it never will,” remarked Dr. Stephen Soloway, IHF Executive President, as he called on leadership like Pompeo’s to “continue the fight against tyrants and preserve history.”
Fresh off a trip from Paris, Dan Eberhart, who attended with his wife Abigail, reminisced of meeting Ambassador David Friedman in Israel alongside Dr. Frager, sharing how the US Embassy move to Jerusalem is an unsold story of the Trump administration. “Leadership matters. Three years ago, accomplishments and advancements were made, and the country was kept safe.” Eberhart highlighted how at the time we had been producing more oil and gas than consumed.
“We all care about each other and love the Jewish people. We love America and we love Israel,” offered Harley Lippman, CEO of Genesis10, who flew in from Florida for the evening. Lippman emphasized Pompeo’s strength and firm hand to effectively respond using his understanding of business as the engine that drives America, adding that Pompeo understands the realities of the Yehudah and Shomron region and how to deter our adversaries. “There are enemies in this world who want to crush democracies.” Lippman spoke of a little-known episode when Pompeo was a Congressman sitting on the House Intelligence Committee and stunned staffers as the sole legislator who returned to a follow-up meeting to discuss the complexities because he cares.
Andrea Catsimatidis, Manhattan Republican Party chair, mentioned, “I am always proud to stand with Israel and with members of the Jewish community, and to stand up for the Judeo-Christian values that our country was founded on.” Catsimatidis noted her work with Brooklyn’s chasidic community alongside dinner guest Joel Fischer when the sect was a political target. “When Israel was under constant threat from the Quds Force, Secretary Pompeo took courageous action, cutting off the head of the snake, getting rid of General [Qasem] Soleimani.”
Member of the Knesset Simcha Rothman, a member of the Religious Zionist Party, is part of the bright future ahead for Eretz Yisrael as the head of its influential law committee, and the sole MK to reside in the country’s young settlements. “I am trying to build the second level of Jews returning to the Land of Israel. ‘Tziyon b’mishpat tibadeh–Zion will be redeemed with justice.’” Rothman is tasked with bringing integrity back to the Supreme Court. “Pompeo used his actions and words to make a strong, lasting connection for Israel’s residents,” explained Rothman, adding that the wine created in his honor was a suitable gift for a leader who allowed Jews to proudly live in their ancient, sacred homeland. “In Israel, it is an issue to never give an inch,” and in line with the IHF mission statement, Rothman pledged his commitment not to negotiate with our homeland. Dr. Frager echoed the sentiment in the name of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, “never one inch.”
Ken Abramowitz of Palm Beach, Florida, continued this theme, naming existential threats where the United States and Israel must never settle: Iran and China, and the American open border, and named anti-Semitism as a pragmatic threat to Christians, due to the presence of Jews despite their minority. Abramowitz also called critical race theory in schools “pure and unadulterated child abuse” and “a modern-day pagan sacrifice.” He named Iran and the current Israeli Supreme Court as two hazards for Israel. He blamed Israel for failing to protect Area C and warned that a Palestinian state would give Iran free rein to launch attacks that could only be saved with uncompromising supervision of Area C. Dr. Frager publicized how the Arabs control more than the Jews.
In his introduction for Rabbi Dovid Hofstedter, Dirshu’s Nasi, Joshua Nass, IHF Treasurer, stated. “He represents what the Jewish People’s story is all about. That is perseverance. The son and son-in-law of Holocaust survivors, Rabbi Hofstedter created the world’s largest Torah organization, which is the greatest revenge ever against Hitler.” Prior to the dinner, Rabbi Hofstedter met with the Secretary and discussed issues pertinent to the Orthodox Jewish community. Hakaras ha’tov was the theme where the Rabbi began, defining it as gratitude and the act of expressing thanks. “The Jewish people are very loyal to their friends and allies.” Of Pompeo, the Rabbi offered, “He has been devoted to this country and at the same time has been such a close friend of our community, standing up for our rights and privileges, against anti-Semitism, called out BDS for what it really is, and for heralding the Abraham Accords.”
Adding to Joshua Nass’ comments, Rabbi Hofstedter elaborated how the Jewish People’s story is beyond survival and one of flourishing triumph. “We have endured inquisitions, pogroms, and indeed the Holocaust. We have suffered greatly; but we have not only survived, but we have also rebuilt.” My parents and in-laws came to these shores enduring the horrors of the concentration camps, shattered lives, penniless, and they had the courage, strength, and bravery to rebuild their lives, their families, their communities, and institutions of Torah learning, which is the foundation of our lives and our moral compass.
“Torah institutions are flourishing, but yet there are dark clouds on the horizon,” said the Rabbi of the uptick in nature and in quantity of acts of hatred and violent attacks against our community, which are “in greater number than we have seen since Nazi Germany, which was the product of one of the most advanced civilizations of mankind. In that era, they sank into a deep pit of lies, deception, hypocrisy, and with hatred from both the lowest and highest echelons of society and from some of the greatest and most progressive thinkers.” He compared this to the hate of today, leaking from our greatest institutions and thinkers in the country who spew intellectual dishonesty and seek to tear down monuments of the founding fathers as an excuse for combatting racism and are simply openly anti-Semitic, turning a blind eye to Jews being massacred. The Rabbi called on the ultra-Orthodox as the recipients of most of these acts of violence, to stand tall in face of ridicule. He noted how Jewish college students fear showing their identity, and how those who insist and want to mandate our education are echoing the Cold Ward of the communist Soviet Union and are like 19th-century Europe.
Emily Austin, live sports commentator, said, “Part of combating anti-Semitism is stating the obvious. Stop being afraid to express your identity. As long as you are fearful to express who you are, your identity will be threatened, and you are giving the other side an opportunity to erase your identity.
Of Iran, Pompeo explained that he traveled to Tel Aviv and met Yossi Cohen, then director of the Mossad, where the two teams worked together for the first time in history, showcasing how American power and Israeli excellence starved Iran by denying wealth, resources, and weapons, helping to establish the Abraham Accords together with Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu.
“When I would defend religious freedom from Israel, I was accused of ethics violations, but we were tough and relentless,” said Pompeo, who expressed that it is the dirt and the land of Judea and Samaria that the Jews are rightful heirs. “I walked Highway 60 from Chevron to Dan River, to Nazareth, to Shiloh with Ambassador Friedman, where we saw Jews and Muslims working alongside each other in peace. We both knew that our traditions were connected in the most fundamental way.” In Chevron at the k’varim of Avraham Avinu and Sarah Imeinu, Pompeo saw how 3,000 years of recorded history were further proof to it being the rightful homeland of the Jewish People and that America has a responsibility to protect and defend that very fact. Israeli settlements are places that the State Department called unlawful for decades, where today a broad spectrum of American leaders know that that is not true.
“We could never let Israel give an inch of Jerusalem or we shall forever be tarnished for having done so,” concluded Pompeo, who brought along his son and daughter-in-law Nick and Rachel. “The America that gives an inch will suffer the fate of so many other great nations, because when you begin to give an inch, you begin to give in to the progressive Left – the postmodern idea.
By Shabsie Saphirstein