Perry weighs in on Palestinian statehood controversy
September 20th, 2011
11:30 AM ET
3 years ago

Perry weighs in on Palestinian statehood controversy

(CNN) - Rick Perry Tuesday jumped directly into the battle over possible statehood for Palestinians, slamming President Barack Obama for his policy toward Israel and how he's handled the Mideast peace process.

"The Obama policy of moral equivalency, which gives equal standing to the grievances of Israelis and Palestinians, including the orchestrators of terrorism, is a dangerous insult. There is no middle ground between our allies and those who seek their destruction," said the Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate, as he went before cameras about 25 blocks from the United Nations, where the Palestinian Authority this week will seek formal recognition of statehood by the United Nations General Assembly.

After meeting with a leading Israeli politician as well as some Jewish American leaders, Perry said that "America should not be ambivalent between the terrorist tactics of Hamas and the security tactics of the legitimate and free state of Israel. By proposing 'indirect talks' through the U.S. rather than between Palestinian leaders and Israel, this administration encouraged the Palestinians to shun direct talks."

The front-runner in the battle for the GOP presidential nomination charged that it was "wrong for this administration to suggest the 1967 borders should be the starting point for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. When you consider this suggestion was made on the eve of the Israeli prime minister's visit, we see in this American administration a willingness to isolate a close ally and to do so in a manner that is insulting and naïve."

Perry did affirm, however, his commitment to a two state solution between Israel and the Palestinians but noted that any agreement would have Jerusalem whole and under complete Israeli control. He also said that he would move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Perry's visit to New York came as the president spends three days at the United Nations, meeting with world leaders. Obama is expected to meet later this week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The two men have had some very public disagreements this year over how to move forward on the Middle East peace policy.

The U.S. vows to veto Palestinian statehood in the Security Council, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is working with other diplomats to avoid a divisive showdown on the controversial issue. And the Obama administration points out that Israel's security is a top concern for the White House.

"The United States is un-alterably, is absolutely committed to the security of Israel," National Security Advisor Tom Donilon told CNN.

Standing behind Perry at his news conference was the deputy speaker of the Israeli Knesset, Likud member Danny Danon, who has been extremely critical of the Obama administration's policy towards Israel.

Also standing directly behind Perry was Rep. Dan Turner of New York's ninth congressional district. Turner, a Republican, scored an upset victory last Tuesday in a special congressional election to capture the seat, which was long held by Democrats. Obama's policy towards Israel was a major issue in the special election, in a district that has a heavy Jewish electorate.

Perry isn't the only Republican presidential candidate to criticize Obama over Israel.

"What we are watching unfold at the United Nations is an unmitigated diplomatic disaster. It is the culmination of President Obama's repeated efforts over three years to throw Israel under the bus and undermine its negotiating position. That policy must stop now," said former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, in an email release Tuesday morning. "In his speech to the U.N. this week, President Obama must unequivocally reaffirm the United States' commitment to the security of Israel and its continued existence as a Jewish state."

And in an interview Monday on CNN's "The Situation Room," Rep. Michele Bachmann told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that "I don't believe Israel should have to give away any more of its land. The president hasn't done Israel any favors."

Primary campaign politics is a factor in this fight. Social conservative and evangelical voters are strong supporters of Israel, and they also will be very influential in choosing the next Republican presidential nominee, especially in such states as Iowa, which votes first in the caucus and primary calendar, and South Carolina, which holds the first southern contest in the road to the White House.

But general election politics is also at play. According to CNN exit polls, then Sen. Obama won nearly 80 percent of Jewish vote in the 2008 presidential election. While they only made up two percent of the voting electorate three years ago, they may be a factor in next year's general election. In potential close calls in some battleground states, such as Florida, where there is a large Jewish population, they could be the difference in determining who wins the electoral vote rich state.

According to a Gallup poll released Friday, the president's approval rating among Jewish American voters now stands at 54 percent, down from earlier this year, but still above his approval rating among all Americans.


Filed under: 2012 • Rick Perry
soundoff (388 Responses)
  1. Vic Maffei

    As for Palestinian statehood, we should all reflect on: WHY NOT!!!

    Shame on US for allowing Israel to turn US as its client state.

    Israel has not just bitten the hand that feeds it; it has eaten it up!!!

    September 20, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  2. thomas

    @Danel

    You have that right !

    September 20, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  3. Jack-o-lantern Houston

    A political snake's body is great for tight spots, being that it's the same loathing shape on all sides, except for variations of the belly, which is smooth, from the never-ending political slithering. The political snake crawls from one screwed up situation to the next swallowing its prey–then it regurgitates, bones, only, nothing of substance.

    September 20, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  4. TM

    Maybe Governor Perry should read some white papers concerning Israel's policy of Realpolitik. They seemly will do anything to protect their country. This isn't bad. But, the ramifications are that they (Israel's leaders) are willing to expend the United States' resources for their security.

    September 20, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  5. ben

    i think gary johnson is a much better candidate than perry...

    September 20, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  6. Martha in CF

    If anyone takes Perry seriously or takes truth in anything he says on Israel --now that is scary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Did he read his statements from papers he carries with him-he can't speak of things from anything in his head----scarier yet......

    September 20, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  7. Ted

    So, what makes Perry an expert on the Isreali/Plestinian issue?

    September 20, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  8. awasis

    This is the same type of blowhard rhetoric that the last Texas idiot in the White House used, and look where it got us.

    September 20, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  9. Grace

    Someone once told me "An empty wagon rattles!" This nut case proves it.

    September 20, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  10. JohnM

    Those isralis are such nice people and never treat anybody badly, let's face it they're jews right out of the bible so they couldn't lie or cheat or kill or do anything wrong just ask jesus. And those nasty bad guys the palestinians are always at fault unlike those bilblical jews who are really gods favorites. The bible says so therefore it must be true as long as you don't do any sentient thinking or reasoning.

    September 20, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  11. brad

    What excatly did the U.N. Think was gonna happen in 1948 when they took palestine and planted an isreal on top of it??? Lol lyk who asked the palestiniens if it was cool for the jewish ppl could crash on the couch?? Seems lyk someone played a practical joke on the whole world

    September 20, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  12. Daniel

    I am Jewish. I am a democrat and I wish the US would support the creation of the Palestinian state.

    September 20, 2011 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  13. Rosslaw

    The ultimate irony is that evangelicals like Perry claim to be support the state of Israel because its establishment is believed to be a precursor of the second coming, during which, according to the evangelical wish list, all Jews are exterminated. But until the final, final solution, Perry and his ilk profess to be on Isreal's side. With friends like these...

    September 20, 2011 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  14. Josh

    Someone earlier stated to just move Israel into the US because it would be easier to protect. Wouldn't it be funny if Obama took about half of Texas and turned it into a Jewish state? How much would Perry support that?

    September 20, 2011 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  15. Katy

    If Perry is the GOP nominee, it will be a shoe in for Obama. Perry is a backward, poorly educated, red neck who wears his religion on his sleeve who will not appeal to the east or west coasts or anyone who believes in science. The idea that Perry thinks he is competent to take issue with our middle east policies is laughable. Read my lips: no new Texans.

    September 20, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  16. Curious Universe

    Does anyone know if there are ANY candidates who intend to run for the Presidency of the UNITED STATES? If there is, please let me know because I would really like to vote for that person. Most of this rant is propaganda and lies about what's really going on over there. I would just like to hear ONE candidate fawn over the United States the way they do Israel.

    Honestly... I'm beginning to think the best thing that could happen to this planet is to (after evacuating both) have both Palestine and Israel suffer the ill fate of a ginormous sinkhole. Most of what is going on here is based on the delusions of zealots anyway.

    Still... a United States loyalist candidate... anyone? Anyone? No? Crap.

    September 20, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  17. RickN0819

    As an American Jew, I speak for myself and probably many others. We are not fooled by the evangelical position of supporting Israel. We know they want Israel intact so their end of days belief which is suppose to start there, has a place to start. They could care less about Jews as witnessed by the last 2000 years of trying to murder or convert Jews. You know, convert to the religion of our god of love or we will kill you. That has been evangelical's call for 2000 years. We are vigilant of you and your ilk.

    September 20, 2011 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  18. Caron

    GOPers do partisanship, black and white, one-sidedness very well. Their enemies are "terrorists," their friends are "freedom fighters," and everything is all so simple -- included their minds. Their politics and policies are almost childish in comparison to the intelligent analysis and reflectionof the more liberal mind. Perry is doing what the simple-minded do best.

    September 20, 2011 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  19. QS

    More pathetic pandering and catering to the lowest common denominator in order to garner votes.

    Think for yourselves people...Perry will say anything he can to get to the White House and once there will do nothing he campaigned on. Unless of course he is campaigning on more war, more defense spending, and less of everything else to pay for it all....oh wait, I suppose that IS what he is campaigning on!

    September 20, 2011 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  20. joan

    Perry really better watch what he says, he may have actually back it up with facts one of these days. He who governs the state with one of the highest levels of poverty... sure new jobs.. but they are all minimum wage jobs... and services being cut back continually.... what a harbinger for national politics if he were elected. Talk about a return to the politics of the 50s where big business did whatever they wanted and screwed the environment. Watch who you vote for....

    September 20, 2011 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  21. Dean

    As with most things, this is way over Obama's head.

    September 20, 2011 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. Caron

    Israel will support whatever bumblehead is indebted to them for the US Presidency. The jewish vote is delivered to whomever vows to love Israel and hate Palestinians, and Rick Perry will 'vow" anything to win. Can't believe people believe him.

    September 20, 2011 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  23. NC828

    CNN's bias is shown in the main page tagline " Perry's pro-Israel rant." Once your healine writer uses a loaded word such as "rant" anything else written by the reporter, no matter objective or not, is immaterial.

    September 20, 2011 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. TheDuck

    Well at least he doesn't claim to be able to see Israel from his yard.

    September 20, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  25. kwatog

    So guvernor, what's your grade in world history in college? C or D?

    September 20, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
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