Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at the Israel Heritage Foundation book signing event in NYC for his new book “Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love.”
“I was America’s Secretary of State. My duty was to uphold America’s Constitution but one can’t possibly do that without a discipline in one’s faith and an understanding of America’s Judeo-Christian heritage,” Pompeo said, stressing that he believes that point comes through in the book.
He described his book as “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.”
“It is necessary that we get that for America. It is important for the entire world, and certainly for the nation of Israel, that our country doesn’t lose its way, lose its faith,” he said.
He touched on the title of his book, “Never Give an Inch.”
“On our understanding of Israel's place in the world and the relationship with the United States and Israel, on the the things that matter to our country here at home, speaking about how we're going to educate the next generation of Americans to understand this is a great country – on these things there's no room to compromise,” he said.
“When it comes to protecting the right of Israel to exist, the notion of Zionism, when it comes to this rightful place of making clear that Israel – all of Israel – is the rightful Jewish homeland there is no room to give an inch.”
He also said that on antisemitic violence, “There is no room to give an inch and we cannot be backed into the corner.”
Speaking about the current state of the US, he said that “America needs more who are prepared to defend the things that matter most, and we need to do that because an America that gives an inch will suffer the fate of so many other great nations. When you begin to give an inch, you begin to give in to the progressive left, the postmodern idea, and when you lose the conception of America as the most noble exceptional nation in history, and one that has a deep and abiding love for its friends in Israel, then this is a nation that will be on the path to decline and that is not going to happen on our watch.”
Recalling visiting Israel, he spoke to the importance of the “land that is historic” in Judea and Samaria.
“I had a chance ten months ago to walk Highway 60 from Hebron to the Dan River, from Nazareth and Shiloh. I had a chance to walk that and I walked it with Ambassador Friedman and we we made this documentary. It'll come out in a handful of months,” he said.
“We saw the history of that place. I had the chance to go to Hebron and stand in the tomb where Abraham and Sarah are buried. It is not possible to stand in that space and not know that 3,000 years of recorded history make that the rightful homeland of the Jewish people and that America has a responsibility to protect and defend that very fact the these places that people refer to as settlements these are Israeli places, these are Jewish places, these are places that the State Department for decades talked about as unlawful and indecent. They talked about Israel as an occupying nation. You should know that American leaders across a broad spectrum know that that is not true and we are with you in this fight to make clear that these are the rightful lands of the Jews.”
On Iran, he explained that the Trump administration “inherited an Iran that was on the rise” that was on the pathway to a nuclear weapon.
“I knew President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu were going to ask us to do hard things. The very first thing I did was travel to Tel Aviv to meet with Yossi Cohen, the then-director of Mossad, and our teams worked together in ways the CIA and Mossad had not worked together before, to build out a set of capabilities that in the event our leaders asked us to do that we'd we'd be ready,” he said. “That story doesn't get told so much but it was a really important element of American power, working along Israeli excellence to deliver and hold at risk the regime in Iran. You can be sure that maybe the world didn't know but the Iranians knew it was going on.”
He continued: “We began to build out a set of understandings. First, lock arms with Israel, have a good security relationship, have a deep intelligence relationship, have an economic relationship with Israel, and make clear to the world, we're with them when it's really hard, when there's missiles and rockets firing out of the Gaza Strip… These subtle distinctions are observed in the world. They could see this was a tight relationship.”
They also “tried to starve the beast” by exerting a “maximum pressure campaign” on Iran to deny them the financial and material resources to commit and build upon terror acts.
“We wanted to make sure we did everything we could to stop the buildup of their weapons program and we made real progress,” he said. “We were not ultimately successful getting it out of their hands but we made a lot of progress.”
Pompeo also spoke about the Ukraine war, explaining for for four years during the Trump administration, they tried to convince France and Germany that their reliance on Russian natural gas was problematic and the they should invest more in their own national security, but to no avail.
“They ignored it. They under invested in their own security and that invites aggression from bad actors. Why do the Germans not do it? If you meet with German officials they'll say the people of Germany don't want to do that. They don't want to spend two, three, four percent of their GDP on defense, and I would always say to them, ‘Well, neither do the American people. The American people would prefer to spend their money on something that was different, certainly not defending Europe.’ If they're going to defend something they want to defend their own nation," he said.
"And it was because German and French leaders were unprepared to go back to their home districts and look their constituents in the eye and explain to them why it mattered, why deterrence matters, why the threat from Russia was real and important, and when you don't do that then your people will object they will refuse, they won't do the things that matter most.”