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. Phil-Little Rock

    If the problem could have been fixed before, Shmuel, it would have been. Don't blame Obama for your own country's failures. Stop picking on Palestine and then running to the U.S. for help when they come to kick your butts.

    July 24, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  2. Jimmy in NYC

    Yep, there are nitwits in every section of the globe. He was probably sent by one of McCain's staff!

    July 24, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  3. Danny G. Boca Raton, FL

    I feel un-easy about Obama speaking like this abroad, that responsibility should fall upon the president, if president bush has not endorsed the trip in this manner I feel is disrespectful. I don't care much for president bush, but he is still president until January 2009. I believe it sets a bad presedent for others to talk on behalf of America regardless of whom its president is. I respect his strategy and I believe it may ultimately work. Good luck Sen. Obama.

    July 24, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  4. It's Time

    Why does one heckler out of a country of millions get a news story? Oh, I know...because the media is trying SO hard to find something negative to write about Obama's hugely successful tour across Europe and the Middle East. Who cares? Obama is not trying to sell Jerusalem, and those of us with even half a brain know that.

    July 24, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  5. richard

    why is CNN always a day late with news?

    July 24, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  6. American

    Wow...Obama is in a city of MILLIONS...and ONE person disagrees with him. What great newsbreaking work CNN! Bet there was a lot of investigative reporting on that one. Come on...there must be more news than this. Now all the REPUGS will come out of the gutter for this story....and by the way, correct your caption under the photo.

    July 24, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  7. Voting Obama

    I love Obama.... No matter what people say, especially those who find the most dumbest things to say about him(just because they are butt hurt), he still stays so humble. He is a true and real person and I respect him. GOD bless you Obama and your family!!

    July 24, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  8. William, from Cali!

    If you don't "stand" for something; you will "fall" for anything. You can't satisfy "everybody" all of the time, that's not reality!

    July 24, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  9. Wayne

    So one person heckling Obama is the story and not him going to the Wall?

    How about you use header like: "Obama payed respect at the holy land"

    ah, CNN

    July 24, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  10. Substance not Rhetoric

    McCain totally redefines what the surge is...Nothing
    McCain cancels oil rig visit in the midst of his advocacy of off shore drilling because of weather but we all know it's because of a 12 mile oil spill and the french quarter smell like gasoline...Nothing

    ONE MAN heckles Obama out of thousands....Top of the ticker

    And the whine about bias press converage.

    July 24, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  11. Carl from MI

    "Jerusalem is not for sale"? Was Obama planning on buying up property there? Maybe this guy confused Obama with Donald Trump?

    If he was trying to address the issue of SHARING or DIVIDING the city between Palestinians and Israelis... then Obama's not the guy to vent his complaints to. His own gov't needs to get off their butts and work out a win-win solution. If they can't even do that.. then maybe they should build a wall down the middle until they can all grow up and learn to compromise.

    July 24, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  12. Independent

    I don’t understand why Israelis are yelling at our leader. They get our unconditional support whether they do things right or wrong. Because of them we have bitter relationship with Muslim world and other western countries. They also get our billions of dollar of aid (arms and finance). We get nothing in return. What else they want from us?

    July 24, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  13. Angus McDugan

    Let's see who will spout the racist label first?

    July 24, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  14. Scott L

    Obama will get crushed in November. Good luck Dems!

    July 24, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  15. Obama-Junkie, IL

    That's funny. CNN reports on one heckler in Jerusalem while McCain held a town hall meeting yesterday with seating capacity for 1600 folks and there were still a reported 1000 seats empty.

    July 24, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  16. Susie McCain

    I smell trouble.

    July 24, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  17. Ricky - Hispanic/Educated and voting for Obama

    OK so one man heckled him. That one man is not important. What is important are the tens of millions who will be voting for Obama in November.

    July 24, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  18. Samuel

    McCain did not visit the Western Wall early thursday. It was Obama. Yep...... it was Obama.

    July 24, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  19. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    Oy, somebody needs to read William Blake's "A New Jerusalem".

    July 24, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  20. Ian

    They want him to re-confirm his position? They know he's a politician, right?

    July 24, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  21. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    The contrast between Obama's current trip overseas and McCain's last trip over there is astounding. McCain roamed around thumping his chest, patting himself on the back, and getting his facts wrong (thank goodness Joe was there to whisper in his ear and straighten him out periodically). In short, he did nothing to advance America's standing in the world. Obama is showing us and the world what he means by restoring America's reputation and leadership in the world. He handles himself well on the world stage and I believe this trip will serve to begin a new age of diplomacy and understanding in the world. Obama is the right guy, in the right place, at the right time. His brand of leadership is exactly what is needed at this stage in history.

    July 24, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  22. webster208

    I am sure the Obama camp will be coming out with a statement that the heckler was a racist. That's their explanation to every criticism of Obama.

    July 24, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  23. Anonymous

    The picture of Obama accompanying the story is titled, "McCain visited the Western Wall early Thursday." Are CNN employees really that clueless?

    July 24, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  24. jenny

    I think someone should fix the caption. It's not Mc Cain in the picture

    July 24, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  25. OBAMA Supporter all the way

    One out of thousands is a pretty good ratio. I wonder if McCain paid this guy off. LOL

    July 24, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
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