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. za

    who cares what this idiot has to say. he just wants to get favor from AIPAC

    June 4, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  2. Lila

    The formation of Israel was a knee jerk reaction by the US and other Christian nations for their tacit approval of the anti Semitism of Nazi Germany. The end result of that silence was the killing of 6,000,000 Jews. Israel is the Jewish homeland but we must now deal with a problem that has gone on for far too long. We need to see rights of the Palestine people and their need for their own homeland.

    June 4, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  3. Had It

    The Isrselis come here with their hand out wanting money for all their goodies and then they intimidate other humans with their nukes.

    They are bullies (like the republicans in this country) and I don't care how much their feelings are hurt.

    June 4, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  4. HJA

    "The Israelis have the right to defend themselves"

    Yes they do. However they have gone way beyond that. I like what a Jewish "freedom fighter" said on a History channel show.

    "One man's terrorst is another mans" freedom fighter"
    I guess it depends who is fighting for freedom.

    June 4, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  5. Patty in the CA mountains

    Of course they did....did we expect different?

    June 4, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  6. Candy West Virginia

    And so do the Palestinians! They have a right to defend themselves too. Anyone who has read the history of the Isreali Palestian conflict would never side with Isreal.

    June 4, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  7. Jon in CA

    Of course Obama sees a moral equivalence between Palestine (read: Hamas) and Israel.

    Obama also sees a moral equivalence between Islamic terrorists attacking the US and our own military. Obama (campaign trail) said, "We're air-raiding villages and killing innocent civilians".

    Obama sees a moral equivalence between Iran obtaining nuclear technology and OUR having nuclear technology.

    He FAILS to understand the danger of terrorists and rogue nations who seek to exterminate Jews or willing to kill millions of innocent people to advance their religious zealousness.

    Obama is a-moral, therefore has no connection to differences.

    June 4, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  8. Jose

    Gimme a break! I'm sick and tired of our 'special' relationship with Israel. Obama clearly doesn't play favoritism and tries to be fair and balanced. Israel is not that innocent. The GOP is so incredibly out of touch.

    June 4, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  9. Army Girl

    What do you expect from the GOP. A party of complainers with no solutions. Mr President, you cant please everyone so keep doing what you do?

    June 4, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  10. catmom

    Did anyone really think Republicans/conservatives would say anything positive about anything President Obama says or does? This is why they are becoming more and more irelavant. They are so predictable, everything related to President Obama is wrong, period.

    June 4, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  11. Terry from Texas

    Who killed who first? Was it a Jew, therefore making the middle eastern conflict the fault of Israel? Or was it a Muslim, therefore making the Muslims the culprits?

    Whoever it was, he is now long dead and forgotten. It does not matter.

    June 4, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  12. Austin

    I love it when politicians act like any lack of pandering at all when it comes to Israel will ruin our relationship with them. Negotiating peace means recognizing where both sides are right and where both sides are wrong. Doing so will not destroy our relationship with Israel. Politicians who suck up to them like this are political panderers that are doing nothing to improve the situation.

    June 4, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  13. james

    It's called balance. Actually, Israel is the one that can't afford to ruin it's relationship with the U.S. Nothing done in the last 8 years made Israel any safer.
    I like the President's approach and am confident that if the need arises to defend Israel or respond to any threat to the U.S., Obama will carefully think through our options and respond in kind.

    June 4, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  14. elana

    Go right ahead Republicans! Keep your"Partisianship" close to your vest for the next 7 years and 4 months! By that time, there will be a FULLL Congress of Democrats! The American people can be and most are very grateful for Barack Obama! His approach to democracy and peace around the world will go down in the history books and will certainly go far to heal the wounds that were made by the joined at the hip Bush/Cheney and Condelessa Rice and their "twisted" world peace philosophy, putting some on their "Axis of Evil" list, mistreating and waterboarding prisioners, etc. etc.!!! Thank you, Mr. President! Your speech today was AWESOME!!

    June 4, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  15. Carlos

    Comrades be careful when you critique Abu Hussein because he can do no wrong. Right cnn?

    June 4, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  16. LacrosseMom

    What else is new? Of course the GOP will "chastise, criticize, demean, rant, disagree with... etc., etc." with President Obama! Who is going to "break" the Israeli-American relationship?? No one.

    NO ONE is DENYING Israel a homeland! Dear God! Ridiculous!

    Its clear to anyone with a brain, that Israel must decide between their nation's security or destruction. I read this statement today in the NY Times:

    " For Israel, now is the time to lay aside once and for all, the unrealistic vision of a Greater Israel. Israeli interests in the West Bank and Gaza, security and otherwise, can be accommodated in a ***settlement*** based on Recolution 242. Forswear annexation; STOP settlement activity." - James Baker, to the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (the pro-Israel lobby) MAy 22, 1989

    Even back in 1989, the then Republican white house knew, and acknowledged that the settlements must stop. The only hope Israel has for security is for the Palestinians to have a homeland. Its interesting that the rightwingnuts in Israel are treating the Palestinians no better than they themselves were treated!

    June 4, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  17. Alex In Wisconsin

    And the Republicans would do what differently? other than get on their knees for Israel and throw the Muslim community under the bus.

    On a day where i was thinking good things about the GOP, they have now undone all the praise i was thinking about giving them for their attempts at fixing the budget.

    Attention all pro-lifer, it is damaging to your message about how life is sacred when the Republican party belittles the suffering and deaths of Palestinians. All President Obama was saying is that both sides of the issue have suffered. You can't blame Palestinians for the Holocaust and the world has tried and executed those responsible and have already forgiven Germany. Lets stop grasping straws and get down to solutions.

    June 4, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  18. Crazy ass human being

    Yes, "Boner" – -Israel does have the right to defend themselves, but
    not at the expense of killing every Palestinian. Hamas, yes. Palestinian citizens NO. That is exactly what they did- -and they talk of their own genocide- -hypocritical?

    June 4, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  19. DPavel

    Big surprise: Obama sees 2 sides to an issue and areas of gray. Republican leaders see the world in black and white and are willing to compromise.

    June 4, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  20. Johnny DC

    Simple mathematics - there are way more blacks in the American electorate than Jews. The Democratic Party has decided the best chance to remain in power is to sail Israel (read: "Jews") up the river in exchange for a cool, younger, urban look. It will slowly start to paint the Israeli - who are coincidentally whiter in color - as the aggressors in the Israeli-Palestinian war, and show more sympathy for the terror-driven Palestinians as the oppressed.... coincidentally something the African American electorate can sympathize with.

    Baaaaa. Open your eyes, sheep. Real wide.

    June 4, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  21. Lynn

    So what is the GOP saying; that Israel can do whatever it wants including defying International Law with cluster bombs, take land that is Palestinean land and at their whim open and close the border to humanitarian aid? And then whine when it suits the GOP that other countries aren't following UN sanctions that suit their agenda. The hypocricy is overwhelming at times.

    Actually there is a moral equivalency for a Palestinian state and an Israel state, period! So what exactly IS the Republican's PLAN for peace. Just have Israel,steal the Palestinian land, write up their desires for a "peace"plan and starve and bomb the Palestineans until they sign?

    CNN: The Republicans are in no position to "chastise" the President!

    June 4, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  22. Linda from Minnesota

    If the conservatives have any brain at all, they will be quiet. Our president is loved throughout the world and is raising our status in the world. The GOP has no ideas, no clue and continues to self destruct. Fine with me. I am so proud to be an American again.

    June 4, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  23. katiec

    Well we certainly did not expect the GOP to admit that President Obama's speech was widely approved in Cairo and the world, that striving for peace is better than an unjustified war and making friends, not enemies is the goal of the American people.
    Regardless of our presidents success the republicans will try to tear it down just like they are trying to tear our country down with their party first tactics and obstruction of everything whether it has merits or not.

    June 4, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  24. Lynda/Minnesota

    Good-bye CNN Ticker. The influx of FOX News drones has lost my interest in CNN altogether . . .

    June 4, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  25. bozo obama

    where was Michelle??? I guess she felt she wouldn't look good in a burka..I will never apologise to any muslin for their god's curse on humanity.

    June 4, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
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