July 24th, 2008
08:58 AM ET
14 years ago

Obama heckled at Western Wall

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/24/art.obamawall.jpg caption="Obama visited the Western Wall early Thursday."]

(CNN) - Barack Obama has been greeted by enthusiastic - at times even wild - crowds throughout his trip abroad, but at least one man wasn't happy with the Democratic presidential candidate's visit to one of the most sacred spots in Jerusalem early Thursday morning.

During an unannounced visit to the Western Wall - during which he was escorted by the Wall's rabbi, Shmuel Rabinovich, a man only yards away from the Illinois senator repeatedly yelled "Obama, Jerusalem is not for sale! Obama, Jerusalem is not for sale!"

The comments come a day after Obama reiterated his stance Jerusalem should remain the capital city of Israel. Though he noticeably did not repeat his headline-grabbing June comment that the city should remain “undivided.”

Watch: Obama steps gingerly in Israel

Shortly before he arrived in Jerusalem Wednesday, a group of religious leaders there charged him with flip-flopping on the status of Israel’s capital, and called on him to re-commit to that position.

"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," he told reporters Thursday.

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.

After a brief prayer, Obama walked to the Wall and left a note, as is custom, before placing his hand in the Wall and bowing his head. Meanwhile, the heckler continued his chant as Obama left the site.

Others who had gathered around attempted to obscure the heckler's words with chants of "Obama, Obama."

Obama's visit at the Wall lasted about 10 minutes. Obama noted later to reporters that his visit there was “rowdier than the last time.”

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (311 Responses)
  1. pip

    The hat, called a skullcap, kippah, or yarmulka, is a traditional Jewish garment, worn especially in holy places. It is also tradition for nonJewish men to wear one as a sign of respect in a Jewish setting.

    OMG – Obama isn't Muslim – he's a Jew!!

    July 24, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. Laura

    I'd rather hear Candidate Obama talk about issues in OUR country: Illegal immigration and its drain on social services, healthcare, and education; repeal of NAFTA and calling Mexico's leaders into question regarding crime and illegal immigration; bringing manufacturing and labor jobs back to our country; erasing our continuing and growing trade deficit with China and Korea; and keeping our billions in aid HERE in OUR country! I don't care about a heckler in Israel. And come on CNN, stop bowing to Oprah's wishes!

    July 24, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. Voter

    This "heckler" certainly hit the nail on the head!

    Kudos to CNN for actually publishing something negative about the Prince of Peace.

    Too bad your television counterparts are so smitten that they don't tolerate anyone who is not.

    July 24, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  4. Michelle

    Thank you for actually posting something negative
    about Mr. Photo Op Obama.

    Maybe he should take up male modeling where he can preen and prance to his delight.

    Frankly, I want an experienced leader, not a rock star or poseur.

    And since WHEN does a US Senator tell the press what it can and cannot do?

    Could we please have some investigative journalism and vetting?

    July 24, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  5. ummm

    The "skullcap" Sam is referring to is actually correctly called a kippah or yarmulke. It is worn by Jewish men to demonstrate respect and reverence for God. It isn't a Muslim piece of clothing at all, although some muslims do wear a hat-like article called a topi at times. Geez. If your going to insult this candidate, try to get your religious artifacts straight. He was at the wailing wall, a Jewish religious site for goodness sake!

    Oh, and CNN, thanks for wasting copy space on a lone heckler...it really makes me want to take another look at McSame's campaign now.

    July 24, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  6. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Well, Obama has said Jerusalem will remain capital of israel (like he gets a vote), will remain undivided, yet must work out a solution with the Palestinians, who also claim the city as their capital. Sounds like mutually eclusive answers to me. Obamian logic I guess.

    July 24, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  7. carolflowery

    I seem to remember Obama saying Hillary's visits around the world while First Lady werent anytihng for to use experience, hmmmm, well, i guess it works for some

    July 24, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  8. mayahh

    From ' The I Have A Dream Speech, BY Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    I have a Dream that every valley shall be exahalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places shall be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together...


    July 24, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. Christian

    WOW. The world has turned and left us here.

    Heckler in America: Go home darky!
    Heckler in Jerusalem: Jerusalem is not for sale!!

    July 24, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  10. PUMA 4 HILL

    Ahhhh, poor baby. Negative news for Obama? I thought this was taboo.

    Obama boy... I can see the strings attached as Kerry, Kennedy and the MovOn.Org thugs make you dance.

    Wake up America.

    July 24, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  11. Danielle, TX

    Wonder how much the McCain camp paid the heckler. Wouldn't surprise me at all, since they're trying their hardest to place the spotlight on them.

    July 24, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  12. Happybob

    Good job, Mr. Hussein, the President of a this free, great country. Europe should learn from us

    July 24, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  13. Honest Black Man

    Funny, It doesn't mention the anti-christ being heckled in Revelations?!?!? Maybe...... HE isn't the one?



    July 24, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  14. Sam

    They are expecting 100,000 enthusiatic supporters at Berlin today for Senator Obama, and CNN reports on one heckler.

    Thanks again CNN for contiuning to report what is significant (not!)

    July 24, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  15. kevin from alaska

    Hillary is so great.

    So I'm voting for McCain.

    July 24, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  16. connolly

    Why is this even news?! The BBC mentioned this as one sentence in their report of Obama's visit. Can't we get some more information on the nature of his visit, rather then focusing on the actions of one heckler from one moment? What is going on here? Lame.

    July 24, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  17. Frostlanta

    Hillary backer for McLame

    "Hillary is loved and praised wherever she goes. She is so masterful in global diplomacy from her years of experience at the Whitehouse and Senate. She was robbed of her right to be President. Dark forces stole it from her."

    WHAT DO YOU MEAN "Dark forces stole it from her"? Seems a little racist to me.

    July 24, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  18. Dora

    Orthodox Jews in Israel and USA do not trust Obama at all and see him as another Jimmy Carter. Just one guy in Jerusalem yelled, but a lot are have the same feelings.

    July 24, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  19. RJ from NJ

    Israelis can spot a liar and a phony from a mile away.
    Hussein deserves to be heckled wherever he goes.
    And the more he talks, the more we all see how there is nothing behind this man.

    July 24, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  20. He who heckles last, heckles best

    Remember when the guy walked by Dick Cheney in New Orleans and said something like, "Hey Mr VP, go #$%& yourself"?...now that's a heckle for the ages....

    July 24, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  21. katiec

    Barack Obama MUST be the next president for our countries
    It is not going to be easy due to swiftboating, prejudice,
    bias and ignorance in some ways.
    puma, do you know how tiresome you are. You really
    are not worth comment but you keep pushing your
    ridiculous stance to extremes and do nothing but
    degrade yourselves.
    Read where puma was started by a Mccain supporter.
    Check out archives in Huffington Post. Names names,
    donations made to Mccain etc.
    So try to tell us you are a Democrat. HA

    July 24, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  22. A Post 9/11 Navy Veteran

    Sam Holtzman July 24th, 2008 11:23 am ET

    He's wearing a skullcap! That makes him a Muslim, right? I can't wait to see the headlines.

    You idiot! You stupid idiot! That is a kippah! When you visit holy sites such as the Wailing Wall, you have to have your head covered, REGARDLESS of your religion, you big dummy!

    July 24, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  23. Independent

    Why CNN is not publishing my comments? I am complying with your policy, oh may be this is part of CNN unconditional support to Israel too.


    I don’t understand why Israelis shouting at our leader. They get our unconditional support whether they do things right or wrong. We veto all the bills at UN that Israel doesn’t like. We give them billions of dollar aid every year. We are facing bitter relationship world wide because of our unconditional support to them. We get nothing in return. What else they want from us?

    July 24, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  24. Jimmy Alderson

    I love this picture of Obama. I'm inspired to see our new President paying respect to the cultures of our allies!

    July 24, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  25. Billy Lamb

    Meanwhile Bush has to pre-screen everyone at his events because if he didn't he would be faced by entire crowds of chanting angry – well I don't know if Hecklers is the right word.. Shouting ANGRY MOB? Yeah.. that's closer to it.

    This guy was probably a paid operative trying to generate a bad news story so you clowns could pick up up and try to run with it like the incredible tools that you are. Keep it Up CNN – keep forcing your own irrelevant garbage on us like we didn't know better.. and you will soon become extinct as a channel. Just you wait.

    Bill Lamb,
    Riverside, CA

    July 24, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
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