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. m smith

    Diplomacy a word the GOP does not understand. Of course they will not approve. They will play the Israeli card even though they wish Israel would stop it's building and start working toward piece. We are not abandoning Israel but it is time to try and work for peace.

    June 4, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  2. mw

    What does boner know? He is on the losing team. The President did a great thing in his speech in Cairo. NO one in repugnant party smart enough to think of such a wonderful speech and gesture.

    June 4, 2009 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  3. What's new?

    President Obama's speech to the Muslim world will be recognized as one of the greatest speeches by a world leader. People of intelligence and vision recognize this. The party of no – solutions or sense can just shut up!

    June 4, 2009 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  4. mw

    Boner always expressing "concerns" about the President's views, but has no clue himself on what to do about anything. Just fuss, fuss, fuss like the newt and the limpbo.

    June 4, 2009 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |

    Boehner and republicans are really amazing. Not once in his speech did Obama change americas policy towards israel. He did state the obvious that both sides have to give.

    June 4, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  6. Stu-Florida

    Can you imagine that? The GOP chastises something President Obama says. Who would have figured.

    No matter what he says the GOP will ALWAYS chastise him. What a bunch of Limbaughs!

    June 4, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  7. Peter E

    For those who think Obama is making up his own policies, please read the unanimous UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. The US was signatory to these resolutions and they have been our official, unchanging policy towards Israel for the past 40 years. It has been exactly the same under Reagan, Clinton, or Bush Jr. as it is now with Obama. Bush Jr. himself has repeatedly urged Israel to stop its settlement activities, and has endorsed the Two-State solution, speech after speech! Bush Jr. knows the difference between Israel defending itself, and aggressively expanding into others' territories. Illegal settlements have nothing to do with defense. If anything they've proven to be procative every single time. Why are you outraged now at Obama if you weren't outraged then at Bush Jr?

    June 4, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  8. debbie in Glenside PA

    What concerns is this Republican referring to? Since when is any conflict resolved by getting stuck on the blame game? Ask any happily married cou[pl and they'll tell you that the way out of conflict is to let go of blaming the other person–take ownership and see the other person's views and work toward a solution from there. Why is it that those that speak loudest against any attempts at peace are the same folks that have avoided any type of miltary service themselves? Enough of this Republican "bad guy" stance that seems to think its appropriate to take on the world and promote more conflict. The bully in the playground may have been feared for the wrong reasons but never respected. This President is so strong he doesn't need to behave that way. This speech was brilliant. Its about time someone had the strength and courage to see all sides of an issue. Its time to move forward toward peaceful co-existance. There are no other choices. None.

    June 4, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  9. Mark NJ

    When does the populace get rid of "STARCH FACE & ITCHY". There was no mid east strategy during the repulican rule except to start wars and murder people. The Isreali Arab conflict will last forever as long as the Isreali's continue to expand their borders under the guise of security and militant Arabs not to accept the State of Isreal. The effort of this President is to tell it like it is instead of cow towing to the separate interest. It's refreshing when truth not posturing is the rule of the day.

    The old school republicans just do not understand that the American people can understand the difference between rhetoric, ignorance, and the truth.

    You republicans are pathetic. Get a brain!

    June 4, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  10. Pat, CA

    Good fo the GOP!!!!!!!!!!! The blame is squarely on the Palestinians, who refuse to REFUTE Hamas - a killing machine!

    June 4, 2009 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  11. GOP = 21st century dodo

    Yeah we gotta stay friendly with Israel, but that doesn't mean everything they do is right. About time someone called them out on their insistence on building settlements where they said they wouldn't

    June 4, 2009 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  12. Peter E

    Quote from Bush Jr., March, 2003:
    'For its part, the new government of Israel - as the terror threat is removed and security improves – will be expected to support the creation of a viable Palestinian state – and to work as quickly as possible toward a final status agreement. As progress is made toward peace, SETTLEMENT ACTIVITY IN THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES MUST END. And the Arab states will be expected to meet their responsibilities to oppose terrorism, to support the emergence of a peaceful and democratic Palestine, and state clearly they will live in peace with Israel.'
    Obama is just taking Bush's policies and repeating them, almost verbatim. So stop this sensless partisan bickering!

    June 4, 2009 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    John tan man Boehner ;

    no surprises here!

    June 4, 2009 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  14. Earl

    The GOP attacked Obama for taking his wife to a Broadway play and for putting mustard on a hamburger. Anything they say needs to be taken with a ton of salt.

    June 4, 2009 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  15. tony

    John tan man Boehner ;

    no surprises here!

    June 4, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  16. MK

    I am incredibly proud of my President.

    June 4, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  17. Mike

    The Israelis are a thorn in the side of peace in the Middle East. They are self-serving, care nothing about compromise, and do whatever they can do derail any attempts of cooperation with other nations.

    They proved where they stand by assassinating their greatest leader, and then voting in one radical after another.

    And what have they done for the USA? Nothing. They have spied on us. They have lied. They have used us as protection for polices in occupied territories that smack of Germany in a certain era.

    Obama is 100% on the mark, and I'm glad he has the guts to speak out about a two state compromise. The GOP shows the cowards they are by trashing this plan. I wonder, would they have voted against the very creation of Isreal like they are against a Palestinian state? I think not.

    June 4, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  18. CAW in MD

    It is amazing how people only see what they want to see. "The Israelis have the right to defend themselves.", says John Boehner, apparently content with stating only the merely obvious. The question then becomes - do the Palestinians have the right to defend themselves from the Israelis? One would think this is equally obvious, but apparently Boehner doesn't think so. He should be required to explain that position.

    June 4, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  19. Right Leaning Independent

    He is not speaking for me. I support Israel, our friends for too long to abandon. I am ok with trying to create a dialogue with Muslims but not at the expense of Israel. You may speak for a portion of the USA but NOT ME...

    June 4, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  20. Brian

    Obama leads into every speech or interview he gives on the Israel/Palestinian conflict with some variation of how the US is a staunch ally of Israel and there is an unbreakable bond between our counties. The GOP should be ashamed of trying to drive a divisive wedge into this sensitive issue for their own political gain.

    Obama is doing what many, many administrations before him have been to cowardly to do (including G.W. Bush, Clinton and Bush Sr.)... actually try to find a solution to the crisis in the middle east as opposed to throwing gas on the fire.

    Anyone questioning his motivations or approach are doing so for their own personal gain and not for the betterment of the poor people in that region whose lives are being shattered by the violence... Israeli and Palestinian alike.

    June 4, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  21. The clown made his speech.....

    but the killing goes on.... and Obama continues to fire missiles into Pakistan and Afghanistan...and people continue to die......Obama is only good for speeches-not actions.

    June 4, 2009 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  22. floydfix69

    really then get your a== es over and show us how its done, he's build the framework for talks you idiots. his speech was great and you couldn't have done it. he a good pres. and he doing a fine job, the world in mess now,hes not going slove the problems the people are, were all one tribe, like it or not. and iam a hillybilly, gop.

    June 4, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  23. liberal gal

    When will the republicans(oops I meant russlicans) ever get on board. CHANGE! CHANGE! CHANGE!
    If it doesn't work then lets try something new. The Party of NO. I smell fear. You know they say people are afraid of change(republicans)
    Go smoke on your cigars and SHUT UP!!!

    June 4, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  24. floydfix69

    gop if you dont work with this president you'll destory the party,oh my fault you all ready have.

    June 4, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  25. carol kesling

    is the GOP ever going to be happy about anything OUR PRESIDENT does????????????????????????? if they dont have anything nice to say they should SHUT THE HELL UP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ENOUGH ALREADY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 4, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
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