July 23rd, 2008
11:00 AM ET
15 years ago

Obama again weighs in on Jerusalem

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/23/art.obamaisr.gi.jpg caption="Obama again laid out his policy on Jerusalem Wednesday."] (CNN) - Barack Obama said Wednesday that Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel, though he did not repeat his headline-grabbing June comment that the city should remain “undivided.”

“First of all, I didn’t change my statement” from his June position, he told reporters in Sderot, Israel. “I continue to say that Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel. I have said that before, and I will say it again.

"I also have said that it is important that we don't simply slice the city in half, but I've also said that that's a final status issue. That's an issue that has to be dealt with with the parties involved - the Palestinians and the Israelis. It's not the United States' job to dictate the form in which that will take, but rather to support the efforts that are being made right now to resolve these very difficult issues that have a long history.”

Shortly after effectively clinching the Democratic nomination, Obama told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that as president, he would work to bring about a two-state solution, with side-by-side Jewish and Palestinian states – and that "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided."

After the comment, which drew concern from Palestinian leaders, his campaign spent several days clarifying his position.

Earlier this month, Obama told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that he had used "poor phrasing" in a June speech that supported Jerusalem’s status as the undivided capital of Israel.

"You know, the truth is that this was an example where we had some poor phrasing in the speech. And we immediately tried to correct the interpretation that was given," he said.

"The point we were simply making was, is that we don't want barbed wire running through Jerusalem - similar to the way it was prior to the '67 war - that it is possible for us to create a Jerusalem that is cohesive and coherent."

Jerusalem has also been claimed by Palestinian leaders as the capital of any future state. Congress passed a law declaring the city the capital of Israel, and saying it should remain undivided, but the U.S. Embassy has remained in Tel Aviv.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (135 Responses)
  1. Mike - Texas

    Obama is looking very presidential.

    July 23, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  2. wait one second here

    regarding McCain VP....
    this is the most desperate miss managed disaster of a campaign i have ever witnessed. who ever he picks better watch out for the McGaffe affect...every time he opens his mouth he seems to say something dumber than before, just when you thought it could get no worse....he does it again. from Iran to his whining about the media. God i can not wait until November, i hope people can really see McCain might have done a great job in 2000 when he still had full mental capacity but the McCain of 08 is suffering from a tragic "mental recession"

    July 23, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  3. Phil, FL

    I love this man – he's trying to help bring peace.

    McWarmonger is on a rampage to stir up more trouble every day. McWarmonger wants us in wars – bullying like Bush. tHE LIES ARE UNENDING !!!!! THE PROPAGANDA USED BY MCWARMONGER'S CAMPAIGN IS SHAMEFUL.


    July 23, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  4. Rick

    Ooops....another Obama gaffe..........but it's ok because we all just merely "misunderstood" him. What he really meant was...........

    How many times does he get away with all of his totally ignorant statements? This guy is a total buffoon. Mark my words...before he is done he will make GW Bush look like Einstein.

    July 23, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  5. David

    Obama and McCain have both sold out to the military-industrial complex and have pledged loyalty to AIPAC and are following the script of dealing with Iran. Come on people, these guys are both robots for the elite.

    July 23, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  6. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    "Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel"

    Thanks for clarifying that Obama. I was afraid they were going to switch to San Diego. Why not say Washington will be the capital of the US? Jerusalem is ALREADY the capital of Israel, and anyway, who are you to make these decisions? It's up to the Israelis and Palestinians.

    July 23, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  7. Super D

    Obama is not going to get a single Jewish vote in the election. They see right through his transparent comments. This will wind up costing him Florida and his only shot at winning the election.

    July 23, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  8. Henry n New York

    For all those that have spread rumor and innuendo about Senator Obama's position on Israel, for those that said he was not a friend of Israel and for those that called him inexperienced. He has made it perfectly clear that as an American we are allied with Israel but even more importantly as a Black man in America he demonstrates that which has always been. The Jewish community and the Black American community have always had strong ties of support for decades. Any disagreements between the two over the course of those years are normal for close companions. OBAMA 08

    July 23, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  9. RRO

    This is EXTREMELY counter productive statement to make, and undermines any influence Obama may have had with Palestinians. If he had kept his mouth shut he could have used his influence when elected to bring both sides to a table and work out a compromise. But now he has dug into the traditonal, Evangelical, George Bush position on the issue.

    If anything I think this demonstrates his lack of experiance in foreign affairs.

    July 23, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  10. Shasta

    I don't see how he's changing his statement. He's reiterating that he wants Jerusalem to be individed but also recognizing that it's not his or America's decision to make.

    July 23, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  11. Joseph

    Obama knows nothing. Jerusalem SHOULD BE a divided capital and SHOULD be the capital to both the Israelis and the Palestinians. There is too much history in Jerusalem to let it be taken over solely by a Jewish state. Although the U.S. foreign policy with Israeli caused all of the current mayhem in the world in regards to an Arab conflict, I believe that if Obama wants to clinch the nomination as president he should choose a stand in this issue. And by stand I mean choosing either a solely Jewish state or two independent states: an Israel and a Palestine.

    July 23, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  12. Shasta

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    I don't see how he's changing his statement. He's reiterating that he wants Jerusalem to be individed but also recognizing that it's not his or America's decision to make.

    *undivided, my mistake

    July 23, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  13. Obama Supporter from Texas

    This is why you have my vote. Go Obama!!

    July 23, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  14. Nom Deplume

    Now, suddenly, he is dissing the very people he said we should be sitting down and talking with???

    I know Obama wants to appear centrist in order to win over the jews and bitter rural folk, but come on, what happened to diplomacy and being an honest broker???

    July 23, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  15. jr

    So when Obama misspeaks it's "Poor Phrasing," and when McCain mispeaks it's because of his age or some other contrived reason.

    If Obama thinks that these phony overseas photo Op's are going to change the fact that he has no foreign policy experience he's sadly mistaken.

    July 23, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  16. ProudToBeDemocrat

    I do not have any doubt Obama is going to bring peace to the Israeli and Palestinian people ,so they can live in peace and harmony next to each other after all history tells us they are the same people decendents of Abraham with different views. In fact we are all same in the eyes of the Almighty God.

    July 23, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  17. Texas Trail Dog!


    July 23, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  18. Obomination

    This man speaks with a forked tongue so twisted and convoluted, that only rubic's cube master can untangle his statements. It's all designed so he can backtrack, restate, update, make clear, reverse course, define a new approach without taking a hit for it, and you all are buying into it. First he says Jerusalem WILL be the capital, undivided. Then, he says it shouldn't be divided, then he states it should be up to the parties involved! Well, why is he injecting himself into the situation if it's up to the parties involved? Does he bring any clarity to the issue? NO!! Just more jibberish. Exactly the sort of double and quadruple talk you can expect from him if elected. And make no mistake, he already considers himself CROWNED Cult Master in Chief.

    July 23, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  19. Walt, Belton,TX

    Just more of the same ole salt and pepper BS.

    July 23, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  20. Crush Rush

    No one on Earth can decide Jerusalems status,but Obama better decide to prosecute anyone found guilty of committing crimes in the present administration before he takes office or he wont get my vote.No pardons for any reason.Pelsosi didnt have the guts.

    July 23, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  21. Dave C - NJ

    I was sick of the 2000 "media clown."

    His name was John McCain.

    July 23, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  22. Realistic

    The surge worked period. Yet Obama stubbornly refuses to admit this fact. We don't need another stubborn – refuse to listen to anyone else President. We need someone with an open mind who will admit it when he's wrong and be open to new ideas. Send this slick politician back to Chicago in November!

    July 23, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  23. Dave C - NJ

    Does "experience" mean sitting in the senate for decades and backing failed Bush policies over the last 8 years?

    July 23, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  24. Kathryn Irby - Metairie, LA

    Go Obama, go!!! Obama in 2009!

    July 23, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  25. Hoping for a peaceful Israel

    It makes me happy and proud that Obama is experiencing Israel and making positive strides with both the Jews and Palestinians there. I agree that Jerusalem should remain undivided so that we continue to strive for civilized unity and not violent, walled separation.

    Thank you, Obama. You are acting presidential, and I applaud you!

    Also, I was moved to see Obama's photo at Yad Vashem.

    July 23, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
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