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. Tony in Maine

    You had your chance. You all but destroyed US relations with the Muslim world. Following a foreign policy written by AIPAC proved to be disastrous and you were sent to the dumpster of history for that and several other reasons.

    Radical conservatism, whether it's labeled neo-conservatism or conservative libertarianism, is thoroughly discredited thanks to the likes of Kristol, Cheney, Perle, Wolfowitz and others. Please go away and be quiet.

    June 4, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  2. Lynn

    John "Bonehead" Boehner cares no more for Israel l and Israelis than any other crazy Repug. His hatred of the President is so deep that he just HAS to disagree even when he doesn't know what he is disagreeing about.

    June 4, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  3. Ian

    Man, Republicans really don't understand the concept of human rights.

    June 4, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  4. Kentucky Muslim

    Let Israel get upset. They can stop taking all the money we send their way every year.

    Every conflict has two sides. The American view has been one-sided for far too long.

    June 4, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  5. dan

    Pathetic. Obama only said that there is blame on both sides of the fence, which is absolutely true. To promote the idea that the Palestinians shouldn't have as much say in what happens over there, just because they elected a group the U.S. doesn't agree with, is disgusting. They were uprooted when Israel was created, and there is a real humanitarian crisis over there. Get a clue, and stop catering to the demands of what has turned out to be one of our most damaging allies. Someone needs to call attention to what's really happening in that part of the world.

    June 4, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  6. Necie in OKC

    I would expect NOthing less from the GOP...party of NO. This therefore is no surprise.

    Since "waging war on whomever we see fit" has not worked, what's wrong with diplomacy and at least attempt to get all parties to work together.

    June 4, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  7. Pragmatic

    yawn ... Every day the headline says "The GOP blasts (whatever the current event is) ... doesn't matter what the topic is ... the GOP is ready and willing to denounce it.

    June 4, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  8. Pepper from CA

    Obama could have said the opposite and the GOP would complain. Why on earth House Minority Leader John Boehner would even comment on Obama's approach to the Israeli-Palestinian question is beyond me. What expertise does Boehner have in?

    June 4, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  9. Willie

    Obama has done what previous Presidents have been afraid to do: Put Israel in-check with the understanding that they do not have a blank check and acceptance from the US on all of their actions. They are our Ally not our master.

    Israel has made some mistakes, especially with broken promises to the US in stopping settlements. However, no one should mistaken this speech as a sign that the US does not support Israel; anyone, including politicians, who believe such a notion is a fool.

    The speech marked exactly, what I think, needed to be said: There are two parts to a compromise: Give and Receive. It is time for Israel to give in order to receive.

    June 4, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  10. Alex

    Our President is now playing a very very dangerous hand. It appears he is signaling the Iranians or at least suggesting to the world that Israel is driving the middle-east problems and not the extremists or radicals. I certainly hope the Iranians do not play their hand in the form of launching more devastating missles on the Israelis in an effort to see what the US does then. Regardless, Obama's hand could be called with undesirable consequences by that nutcase running Iran.

    June 4, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  11. Leslie

    Israel will always be a friend to USA EXCEPT under this current administration. As Hussein Obama stated in his book; " if there's a political shift in the wind I will side with the Muslims." An ACORN doesn't fall too far from the tree. Like father, like son.

    Bibi Netanyahu and the whole Israel population better brace themselves for the worse especially Hussein Obama is supporting Iran for their Nuclear power plant. In the 90's Bill Clinton did the same thing for North Korea for them to build their nuclear power plant. We can see now what Kim Il Jong is doing with his nuclear power plant, he's busy scaring the heck out of his neighbors in Asia. You don't hear Bill Clinton talking what NOKOR is doing right now, the next test of NOKOR would be straight to USA.

    Hussein Obama is doing the same thing, this time his support for Iran. Israel better be prepared.

    June 4, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  12. annie for Palin

    Speech sounded to me like obama truly hates the Jews and Israel, but he sure loves his brother muslims.

    June 4, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  13. marcus

    OMG.. the republicans are not happy with a speech obama made ?? what's this world coming to.. republicans have ZERO street cred when it comes to international diplomacy.. these are the same people who sold weapons to Iran, to fund wars in Central America. these are the same people who sold weapons to Sadaam Hussein throughout the 80s.. you people need to just shut up already.. if the middle east problems are going to be resolved, every nation involved will have to acknowledge the issues it creates, and change those things.. it will NOT be resolved by continuing to make it seem like all fault lies only with one nation.. congratulations, barrack.. it's long been time to ask everyone to pitch in...

    June 4, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  14. Ted Tartaglia

    The party of NO strikes again. Boehner, you lost the last election and your concerns are not needed. Get back in your sandbox and quit bothering the grown ups.

    June 4, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  15. Sean the thinker

    I suspect thier were ulterior motives behind the criticism lodged by the Republicans. They seem to have wanted Obama to be abrasive and overly critical towards the Muslim crowd. Sure, this would appease the imperialistic idealogues who think that we are superior to the rest of the world, however this wouldn't be effective towards seeking a dialogue between the Muslims and the Americans. I think, in the end, te Republicans wanted to stop his momentum before it started......... Politics before country-the Republican motto.

    June 4, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  16. DaBird

    Obama is an embarrassment to keep saying how much America does wrong. How about tell the Muslims what America has done for the world. The Muslims have tortured FAR MORE than America.

    June 4, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  17. ran

    Israel needs to get a grip. They have a right to defend themselves but not to control another group of people (IE Palestinians). The GOP will use any issue to spread fear/hate and obstruct any effort that may cause them to lose power. I am so happy the GOP is out of power and hope they remain out until my death.

    June 4, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  18. RNC countdown in 5,4,3,2,1....

    Of course the SCARED ONES would make these statements.

    RNC=Low PMQ-Political Maturity Quotient

    June 4, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  19. Obama is selling out Israel....

    Every Jew that voted for Obama will roast in hell.

    June 4, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  20. David

    What else would the republicans do??? If they agreed with anything President Obama did, they wouldn't be 'republican' enough and would start to attack each other like pack dogs.

    The speech was about 'peace' which is something that al-Qaida, Hamas, most Republicans and Fox News are in complete conflict with, and fear the most. Without creating hate, fear, conflict, war and killing, there would clearly be no justification for either group to exist.

    Thank you GOP for siding with al-Qaida publicly while our president is in their country. You serve 'them' well.

    June 4, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  21. No Support

    The GOP is blinded by the Obama smoke screen also. I saw Obama's true color more than a year ago. Obama is the Anti-christ, Obama is a muslim who wants to destriy christianity, Obama wants the be the Black Dictator of the free world, Obama wants to ruin the American way of life, Obama is what JFK warned us of, THEY WILL SPRING UP AMONGST US. Now we have Obama, Only God can help us now.

    June 4, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  22. Bob

    Even though we have historical biblical ties to Israel, does that mean that we should side with Israel on every issue blindly. Yes Israel has a right to defend itself, but so, does everyone else............... Israel must share the blame as well..............................

    June 4, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  23. Robert

    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."

    So do the Palestinians. It's about time a US President approach the parties with a sense of balance and fairness.

    June 4, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  24. Peter E

    Under Bush Jr., his secretary of state, Condi Rice repeatedly chastized Israel over illegal settlements. Bush Jr. even sent humanitarian aid to Palestinians. Bush, in his own words, has endorsed the age old Two-State solution. This is nothing new either, it has been the official US policy for over 40 years. Obama is continuing on with exactly the same policy as has been by the prevcious administration. Calling it a drastic change, or in any way more offensive than the previous policy is just a big blind lie! Obama's policy on Israel is 100% the same as it was for Bush Jr.

    June 4, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  25. Independent_me

    The GOP (Godlessly Opposing Party) will always find fault with everything that Obama says or does.
    Obama is proving to be a true Christian who, like the Apostle Paul, respects the religion of others while identifying himself as a follower of Christ.

    He is humble (and therefore he is blessed for it is written "Blessed are the humble"), unlike the arrogant pretender, Bush. It is no wonder that he is hated by the REpublicans and that enything he says or does will come under attack. The religious leaders of Jesus' day did the same and He told them "You cannot know me because your father is not My father". Obama's God is not the god of the Republicans – that is why they hate him. Obama is a true Christian, and that is reason enough to persecute him.

    Godless Republicans. Wolves in sheep's clothing.
    Beware of them!

    June 4, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
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