Abbas to meet US Jews again, despite prior criticism

Some feel he "abused" last meeting; by trying to "neutralize" guests and place pressure on Israeli government.

Clinton Abbas Ramallah 311 AP (photo credit: Associated Press)
Clinton Abbas Ramallah 311 AP
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to meet a group of Jewish leaders in New York on Tuesday for the second time in three months, even though there were those among the invited guests concerned he is using these meetings to place pressure on the Israeli government.
Some of the invited guests said Abbas realized the importance of the Jews in the US and was trying to “neutralize” them.
The event, like a similar one held in Washington in June, is being organized by the S.Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace.
A few participants at the last meeting said Abbas “distorted” what was said there, and misrepresented the meeting as an indication the US Jews were with him and did not like Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. There was also a feeling among some that at a time when Abbas was making constant threats about walking away from the talks, this might not be the time for the Jewish community to give him a bear hug.
But Abe Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said, “If the prime minister of Israel says to the world that he has a peace partner in Abbas, then there is no reason for the American Jewish community not to go.”
At the same time, Foxman said there was legitimate concern by some who went to the last meeting in “good faith” that Abbas abused that parley for his own interests. “Some of us are concerned that this won’t happen again,” he said.
Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice president of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said he had not decided whether to attend because there were a number of conflicting events on that day.