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. Will

    Just in case the Republicans didn't notice, they live in the UNITED STATES. If they're that interested in defending Israel, they can move there and join the IDF.

    June 4, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  2. S. in Florida

    I'm sure Joe Lieberman is foaming at the mouth. Hopefully Obama will keep an open eye over his shoulders for Lieberman.

    June 4, 2009 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  3. Larry

    Well Boehner ...

    I place all the blame on the Israeli terrorism against the Palestine people for the PAST 45 YEARS ...

    The Palestines deserve equal justice ...

    The Palestines deserve to have ALL the land stolen from them over the past 45 years by the Israeli's ... returned to them ...

    Israel needs to take responsibility for all the wrong it has done since the sixties ...

    But surely never will ...!

    June 4, 2009 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  4. Peter

    it's about time the US took a stand on Israeli's building on lands they do not own. Thank you Mr. President, for not kowtowing to the special interests. We all know that no peace will be achieved as long as the negotiations are always one-sided in Israel's favor. In as much I would like to see both sides live in peace, it will not be achieved with status quo.

    June 4, 2009 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  5. Larry

    Once again Boehner opens his big mouth ,,, with no actual facts to back anything up ...

    Like a HOT AIR balloon ...

    Or a Rat passing gas ...

    The Party Of NO ... brains

    June 4, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  6. sandy

    The speach the President gave was fantastic. For once, a President of the United States has stood up and told it like it is. I for one am very proud of our President. We have been and will always be a friend of Israel, but they are not perfect and some of their policies have certainly not helped the situation there. This President is calling it like it is. Good for you Mr. President.

    June 4, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  7. johns

    what else...
    The GOP is irrelevant.

    June 4, 2009 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  8. Unhappy Dem

    Israel is one our main providers of intelligence on the middle east, but some of our leaders are too stupid to realize that and try to jeapordize our relationship with them to appease a bunch of false friends.If not for U.S. oil companies these camel jockeys would still be living in tents, and you see how they treat us.

    June 4, 2009 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  9. Joe Terrogano

    So it is all the Palestinian's responsibility? Israel never has done anything to fan the flames? This is the hallmark of these conservatives. You will never have peace until BOTH sides own up to their part in the conflict. Neither the Bush Administration not the Israeli Government were perfect, faultless paragon's of virtue. You are like a bunch of kids, "He did it", "It's his fault not mine". Obama is trying to start a dialogue. What are you going to do kill every Arab in the world?

    June 4, 2009 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  10. tjaman

    The Rs found nits to pick with His speech?

    NO!! You can't ... be .. serious ... .. ?

    *faints, falls over backwards in shock*


    In other news, the day ended in Y late last night following a brief flutter of anticipation just ahead of midnight that it would finally be "tomorrow."

    Ticker: Skies today: BLUE!

    June 4, 2009 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  11. dem1

    The Israelis cut off the Palestinian food supplies, block their ports and don't allow in construction aid.

    Meanwhile Hamas attacks settlements killing innocent people.

    NEITHER is acceptable. And BOTH are to blame.

    The Republican one-sided response to this is predictable and has been the same for decades. Obviously their way isn't working. The Bush administration did NOTHING to make matters better there for either side. It is time for a new approach and some accountability on Israels part.

    June 4, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  12. Right wing talking point

    Of course the GOP supports occupation of other peoples land, and calling it "self defence" makes it all that much better! No doubt that the Jewish peoples suffered horribly, but that does not grant them the right to cause others to suffer. Isreal needs to recognize the Palestinians have a right to be free in their own land.

    June 4, 2009 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  13. Bev

    Oh Good Grief! No matter what President Obama had said, the Republicans would be griping. Dialogue has to start some place. Common ground has to be established. We do share the same planet, after all, and the human spirit really does run through every culture. It was a masterful speech. One I think President Obama has been waiting to give. His words rested on principles, not on posturing, name calling, and fabrication – something some Republicans may have a lot of difficulty understanding – and therein the reason for the meltdown of the Republican Party.

    June 4, 2009 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  14. Tanmay Kumar


    This is almost ridiculous. Because an Austrian mustachioed man in Germany slaughtered millions of Jews does not make them "more" deserving of a state in the Middle East than other millions of Palestinians living in those Middle East lands for centuries. Mike Pence should go take a dip in cold water and recognize reality.

    June 4, 2009 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  15. Texas Doc

    For someone that is darker than most muslims he has got a lot of nerve. I heard he cries a lot, what a wimp. No wonder the GOP is failing so miserably.

    June 4, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  16. enough garbage from the GOP already

    Hello... is anyone listening to us? We're still around you know... hello??

    June 4, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  17. Harry

    As a Republican, I was woefully dissapointed with George Bush's failure to make any material progress or improvements or anything whatsoever in the Middle East Peace Process. It is embarrasing, that after eight years, he could accomplish nothing. It is both pitiful and pathetic that his failure to act and his lack of concern did nothing to improve the situation of the Palestinians or, the Israelis. His impotence actually slowed anything positive which could have come out of the situation. How can you be in office for eight whole years and accomplish nothing? So, the net result is that we're worse off than where we started.

    June 4, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  18. Dianne

    Boehner, Pence and the rest of you have been in office to long. You are a good reason for term limits. You donot offer change. Just keep doing what has been done and not worked. You donot have any new ideas. Keep the status quo. It has past time for America to be the real leader of the world and show fairness. We can be friends of the Middle East as well as Israel. Nobody owns or control America's ability to help make peace and friends. And Israel should not have that right either. Equality in our dealings with all, will help all including Israel to have peace. A two state solution is definitely called for. Why should only Israel be a State.Israel and the Palestinians are not victims. Both have a choice.

    June 4, 2009 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  19. kaz

    Boehner and his party are losers.

    June 4, 2009 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  20. CW

    "He seemed to … place equal blame on the Israelis and the Palestinians. "

    I fail to see what's wrong with this.

    June 4, 2009 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  21. WarrenEC

    The Muslim hate groups and the Repubican hate groups both hated the speech. It threatened their bread and butter: hate. The rest of the world seems to think it was a good start. As for the choice of war in Iraq, the Bush adm tried to sign up the CIA to say that Iraq sponsored terrorism. They refused. We should have attacked Iran if we really wanted to fight state-sponsored terrorism rather than fight Al Queda.

    June 4, 2009 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  22. ANNY

    Shame shame shame this is why the Republican party is getting no where.......

    June 4, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  23. JediMasterMatt - Bethlehem, PA

    I wonder how many members of the GOP will stand by Rush Limbaugh's comments today comparing President Obama to Al Queda???

    You might not agree with President Obama, or even dislike him or his policies, but give the President some RESPECT!!! The sky would have fallen if anyone compared 'W' to terrorists...where is the outrage from republicans? Obviously they (republicans) all need to grow 'a pair'.

    June 4, 2009 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  24. Brian in VA

    dude just don't get it.

    June 4, 2009 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  25. ThinkAboutIt

    Obama is right: Everyone needs to step up and accept responsibility for the role they've played in creating the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. If people on all sides really want peace, they will just have to deal with the reality of the situation.

    June 4, 2009 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
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