June 4th, 2009
05:55 PM ET
13 years ago

GOP chastises Obama's speech over Israeli-Palestinian issue

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama's speech to the Muslim world on Thursday faced mixed reaction abroad - and a very clear directive at home from Republicans and conservatives: The United States cannot ruin its relationship with Israel.

Speaking in Cairo, Egypt, the president took on the heated and controversial Palestinian-Israeli conflict by endorsing a two-state solution and urging compromise between "two peoples with legitimate aspirations."

The United States, he said, "does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements."

Those Jewish settlements are spread throughout the Palestinian-controlled West Bank. Israel maintains the settlements are needed, while Palestinians say they are an obstacle to the peace process.

Calling America's "strong bond" with Israel "unbreakable," he said, "It is based upon cultural and historical ties and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied."

House Minority Leader John Boehner on Thursday blasted Obama's approach to the Israeli-Palestinian question.

"He seemed to ... place equal blame on the Israelis and the Palestinians. I have concerns about this," the Ohio Republican said. "The Israelis have the right to defend themselves."

Boehner's Republican colleague, Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, added that "there was a sense in here of a moral equivalency between those who are driving for a Palestinian state and the state of Israel."

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Filed under: President Obama • Republican
soundoff (161 Responses)
  1. FORMER republican, NEVER again!

    President Obama is right, Isreal has gotten away with far too much for far too long. And honestly boehner is a joke. We cannot afford to go back to the same FAILED republican ideologies and fear tactics and lack of diplomacy no longer. That is part of the reason this country was ruined.

    June 4, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  2. Billy J in Texas

    Man... never miss a chance to be stupid in public, do they. I am from Texas and I have had it with these guys. It's like we have an entire party full of conservative Pelosi's. Bumper sticker quotes, and partisan bile....... I don't like it from her and I hate it from a party that used to have a clue.... a looooong time ago. What a disappointment. If I didn't believe in public schools and roads I would vote libertarian.

    June 4, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  3. Idiot_Pelosi

    I now have OBAMA Toilet Paper in all my bathrooms.

    It has his picture and the phrase "Socialism Stinks" throughout the role.

    Now, I finally have the perfect Obama tribute.

    June 4, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  4. RJ

    If we gave as much in money and resources to the Arab world as we do the tiny state of Israel, they wouldnt hate us so much! We give Israel over $1,000,000 a day in assistance. I understand that what happened to Jews back in WWII was wrong but people have been wronged all over the world! Did we go and liberate the Irish from the British after hundreds of years of domination in every aspect????, no we did not! Did we go and liberate Cambodia after Pol Pot murdered well over 20 million people????, No we did not! Did we liberate the Russian people after Stalin killed as many as 50 million?????, No we did not so why do we keep holding the hand of a state who eccentially holds the Palatinian state hostage both economic and socially????? Did we kick these tyrannts out of their country and give it to someone else, No we have not! Isnt the rest of the world just as important as Israel is???? Now we understand a little better of the Muslim Plight and what we havent done to help them!

    June 4, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  5. tom owens

    I guess since they did not have the will and desire to do whats right , then you blast those that see the need. The gop would at this point condemn the greatest liberal that ever lived " JESUS ".

    June 4, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  6. GOP or RIP?

    "He seemed to … place equal blame on the Israelis and the Palestinians. I have concerns about this,"

    No, he simply said that the settlements are not legitimate and hamper the peace process. Is this turning the US's back on Israel? No.

    I know the GOP hates responsibility more then passing up a tax break for the rich, but come one. People of the world are sick and tired hearing from the US the we (and Israel) are always right, and it's our way or the highway. He never said Israel doesn't have the right to defend itself.

    Obama gave an admiral speech today. Will it solve all the worlds problems? Of course not. Was it away to open up dialog with those that did not appreciate how the US treated them for 8 years and who may have closed their ears – Yes.

    Just because the right needs Jews to possess their own country in the Holy Land before Jesus can return, doesn't mean Israel is never wrong. Of course this is the only reason the right is concerned about Israel (except for their large contingent of Jewish senators = one)

    June 4, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  7. tom owens

    I guess since they did not have the will and desire to do whats right , then you blast those that see the need. The gop would at this point condemn the greatest liberal that ever lived " JESUS"

    June 4, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  8. Lee-- Dallas, TX

    Did anyone hear the comment Ari Fleischermade to CBS about President Obama's speech being 'too balanced'...?

    This is beyond the realm of sensible. How in the world of true diplomacy does one be 'too balanced’? The right-wingers are becoming more and more like the nut-jobs the far left paint them out as being. Ari the comments you made today personify stupidity and the [lack of] reigns in which it was allowed to run free during your bosses Administration.

    For this type of comment to not be challenged on a wider scale would be a detriment to the conversation the American people need to have about the direction various groups and individuals would like to see this country move. Talk about not walking the talk of fair and ‘balanced.’

    June 4, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  9. daisyinatlanta

    Alienation is something GOP very good at. Do something. Come up with a good idea for the country and the people. Something more constructive... for God's sake. GOP is really a party of the no good.

    June 4, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  10. Carmen

    Building settlements is not a method of self defense.

    June 4, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  11. arithmetic is liberal

    Calling America's "strong bond" with Israel "unbreakable," he said, "It is based upon cultural and historical ties and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied."

    Spare me.

    Republican support is not rooted in Israel's tragic history.
    It's rooted in their wishes to be Raptured.

    June 4, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  12. Terry, Cape Coral, Florida

    Oh yeah, House Minority Leader John Boehner and his plethera of foriegn policy experience and Presidential experience knows only one thing to say to the President when it comes to anything...NO!! What a moron...

    June 4, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  13. S.B.

    I agree with Obama. If we are going to have peace in the Middle East, it's going to have to be a two-way street, not just always blaming the Palestinians and giving Israel a free ride. Those settlements are a good example. The Israelis know they're in disputed territory and keep building them anyhow. It's time we took a fair and unbiased approach to Middle East problems instead of backing Israel no matter what they do. The recent conflict in Gaza is a good example. They invaded Gaza, committed many atrocities, and should have to pay the price for their mistakes, but whenever the subject comes up in UN talks nothing is done because the US always backs Israel.

    June 4, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  14. Gabe

    Boehner needs to shut up. If Canada or Mexico decides to start building towns on U.S. territory and saying it's theirs, we'd fight back. Every day Palestinians can't even drive through some of the streets leading up to the settlements, they have to drive miles around it. So yeah, it's both Israelis and Palestinians fault. A two state solution would be best and everyone can live within their borders. Boehner needs to go live in Palestinian for a while, he'll change his tune.

    June 4, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  15. dave_c

    Obama 'ruining' our relationship with Israel? So what? I never fail to marvel at the arrogance of the Israelis in expecting the US to do their bidding, no matter how much it conflicts with our national interest. Israel certainly needs the US far more than the US needs Israel. While I am not advocating abandoning Israel, they definitely need a reality check. After all, this is an 'ally' that has bombed one of our ships, spied on us, and sold our technology without our permission (remember the AWACS plane they were going to sell to China?) , and reneged on agreements (i.e., the two-state solution)Perhaps they should be a little concerned about what the US thinks for a change.

    June 4, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  16. Chris

    The Israelis do have a right to defend themselves. But they don't have the right to continue building new settlements which they promised they would stop back in 2003. If Israel would stop building new settlements it would be a great first step in the peace process.

    June 4, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  17. Lori

    Israel and Palestine both share blame for the escalating violence that has plagued the region for decades. The old Palestine is evil and Israel is perfect rhetoric serves no one in the region and has gotten NOTHING done. The GOP has pretended that Israel is their ally (in words) but they did nothing to help that region (in action) in the 8 years allowing the violence to further escalate! Plus, no where in the President's speech did he place blame on any one country nor take sides. Time to stop taking sides. You cannot take sides and then expect the other side to comply feeling as if they are being bullied. These aren't children, these are nations run by adults. Time to come up with workable solutions. I pray that this President can make some significant changes in that region.

    June 4, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  18. joe smith

    any one who knows Mr. Boehner, knows he gets his nods, and money and votes from some well heeled districts who play favourites on the middle-east issue, so it's no wonder where the sarcasm is coming from.. that's why this problem refusses to go away after thousands of years..but, hatred, bias, mistrust are not apart of the 21st century..or is it..

    June 4, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  19. Rob

    Why is it that people in this country are so ungracious. Liberals got so upset with the previous administration, but now that President Obama is in the office anyone who disagrees with him is somehow a jerk. I used to see bumper stickers that said "Disent is patriotic" (a comment I happen to find logically nonsensical). Where is that sentiment now? And I've got to tell you, the broad brush strokes that the left is using to paint all republicans with is getting pretty old. If you're so forward looking why is every conservative made out to be Cheney, Rush or Rove? There are lots of things that conservatives can do better (putting a hood on Rush Limbaugh for one), but the liberals in this country aren't any better. One example is the smug way that they assume that anyone who disagrees with the President's policies should be shouted down. This attitude will lead to a "sooner-than-you-think" surge in the Republican party, so keep it up, guys.

    June 4, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  20. carlos

    like I said before, beener why don't you go ahead and jump on an alligator's open mouth? hehehehe

    June 4, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  21. Alicynx

    This is becoming ridiculous – even best friends need an intervention sometimes. Israeli settlements in the West Bank are morally wrong, they fly in the face of previous pacts and directives, and serve no purpose other than to prove to the Palestenians that their land can be taken away at any time – that they do not even own the land their homes are built on.
    Israel has a right to defend itself, but that does not mean pre-emptive strikes, using banned weaponry, on civilian (and innocent) populations. Before you start the argument of "there are no innocent civilians in the West Bank" think for a moment – are there children, women, and men there who are nonviolent? You betcha there are. Are there Israelis who object to the attacks, who endorse a Palestinian state? Absolutely! Both sides have done very wrong things to further their cause, but we only call the Palestinians on the carpet for it. I for one am happy that we finally have a sensible and intelligent leader who is calling it like we all see it, but some are too afraid to admit, and reminding Israel that they are not the golden child who can do no wrong in the eyes of the US.
    On a separate note, why is there this expectation of blind US devotion to Israel? Why does the United States act like its beholden to this tiny nation, halfway around the world, and measure all of its acts in how it goes with or against Israeli opinion? Any attempts at explanation would be appreciated. Perhaps I'm just too young to remember a previous incident where they saved our arses or something?

    June 4, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  22. CBH

    What else is new. I expected a negative reaction from the GOP. No big surprise.

    June 4, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  23. JediMasterMatt - Bethlehem, PA

    I don't know why these Washington politicians can't see the forest through the trees...either we're going to let Israelis and Palestinians keep killing each other for another 50 years or we need to help them reach some sort of compromise...Doesn't Washington understand that NOTHING has worked so far, we need a different solution if you want Mideast Peace.

    June 4, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  24. Angie

    boehner, both are to blame. as you repugs should know by now. NOBODY is perfect. there are things both sides can do to have peace.

    June 4, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  25. Mel of Alexandria

    The bone head GOP still cannot get it. That which we deny to others we also deny ourselves. Israel must be able to live in peace and the Palestinians deserve no less.

    June 4, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
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