Obama rejects controversy over his stance on Middle East peace talks
May 22nd, 2011
11:32 AM ET
11 years ago

Obama rejects controversy over his stance on Middle East peace talks

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Sunday that any controversy over his remarks last week that Israel-Palestinian negotiations should start from pre-1967 borders and include land swaps was "not based in substance."

In his first speech as president to the main American-Israeli advocacy group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Obama sought to reassure the vital U.S. Jewish lobby of his administration's commitment to Israel's security while also making clear his desire to kick-start the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at a time when the entire Middle East landscape is changing amid the so-called Arab Spring demonstrations.


Filed under: AIPAC • Israel • President Obama
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    I was hoping that we as American's are smarter than having to have everything explained to us. I am Jewish with family in Israel for the last 40 years. They did the Kibbutz thing and never came home. They have friends of all faiths and races and just want to get a long. If it were not for the leaders that get elected...Peace would rein through out the Middle East by now.

    May 22, 2011 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  2. ss26mar

    there will be a war in the middle east within a year thanks to obama
    has any one noticed that saudi arabia is mad at us, the UAE, yemen, egypt, tunsia, turkey, iraq, libya, morocco, britain, france, germany, china too - what happen to the guy that was going to repair our relationships

    May 22, 2011 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  3. lee frandsen

    Obama's speech to AIPAC told them just what they wanted to hear. He rephrased, almost apologized, about "misinterpretations" of his Thursday's speech. By selecting only those parts of that speech, decorated with more rhetoric that would sound wonderful to the AIPAC members, he managed to temporarily satisfy his audience and push reality further into the future.

    May 22, 2011 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  4. Junk man

    Maybe Obama is starting to realize what has been obvious to the rest of us for almost 4 years. He just talks too much.

    May 22, 2011 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  5. Anonymous

    He's right. Another Fox News smear. His remarks were the same ideas that have been endorsed by Clinton & Bush.

    May 22, 2011 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  6. Four and The Door

    Spoken like a true lawyer. Backpeddler extraordinaire. And necessary because this remark he made about taking the borders back to 1967 was crazy stupid. He finally realized I suppose that his perspective became too much against Israel and it would not play well in places where he needs support for any chance in 2012.

    May 22, 2011 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. vic , nashville ,tn

    I watched his speech last Thursday and today
    Its simple world is changing we have to ahead of these changes to protect us and Israel
    Example Now Hosni Mubarak is gone he was key partner in Mid East peace

    Obama is right some are born to criticize what ever Obama say we can’t stop

    May 22, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  8. maikl

    Obama not my President and never will.He is political crook, use race card and promise, promise,promise. Can anybody tell me What good for America he did? Nothing, nada.

    May 22, 2011 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  9. opedanderson

    All supporters of the State of Israel. If you voted for this man in '08, take notice. The reason you cannot see too well today is because the view isn't good from underneath a bus.

    Make no mistake. Obama showed his true feelings toward Israel in that speech.

    May 22, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  10. WallyG

    Interesting, now Obama claims he didn't say what he said, despite video, audio, released to the press transcripts etc;. Whgo voted for this boob? Is it possible this mentally lazy, intellectually uncurious, unqualified, inept, incompetent, in over his head actually got elected by a "majority" of the American people? Which one of you is willing to repeat that gross error in judgment again?

    May 22, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  11. WyCoSkylark

    "Not based in substance"? So sick of this arrogant, dictatorial, empty suit and his dismissive manner towards anyone who disagrees with him. Still waiting to learn what (if any) community he ever organized before being anointed President by the MSM. Talk about a lack of substance!

    May 22, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  12. B

    The Elephant in the room is, and alway has been, the Israelis refusing totally to make any concessions what-so-ever to advance the arrangements for a realistic peace settlement with the Palestinians .

    You can not have it all your own way and expect change and the Israelis refuse to change anything !

    May 22, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  13. Karen

    diplomatic failure. Forcing our allies to negotiate with terrorists. I am so disappointed.

    May 22, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  14. w l jones

    We need to re-educate ourself in the Englisg language as well take some basic law. The president made himself clear on his vision what take to get peech process moving between the parties. I am dismay at people at people taken every word he say out of contemtuous.

    May 22, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  15. American

    President Obama called for the same policy with our Israelis allies as past Presidents Bush, Clinton, etc., but uber partisans are playing politics (again) and do not deal with facts.
    Shame on these politicians and Fox "News" (propaganda).

    May 22, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  16. dronald

    For Obama to back-pedal and kiss up to the powerful Jewish lobby group is disgusting to me. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Evidently not possible even for this president.

    May 22, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  17. Howard

    Obama will try to tap into the never ending anti-semitism, which has run rampant throughout Europe for centuries, in order to gain support for his anti-Israel policies. Adolf and Barack have more in common than you may think. Next, he'll try to control the media in the U.S.A. ... and, then all dissent, by also trying to control the internet.

    Obama must have felt the negative shock waves for his insane, stupid request to Israel, that they basically commit suicide. I'm assuming, and I'm hoping, it resulted in American Jews backing away from their Obama 2012 reelection financial support. I have a feeling Obama will start to do his characteristic FLIP / FLOP on this position, in order to get back part of the BILLION dollar campaign money he has been bragging about. If Obama's policies and governing have been so good, why does he have to buy the election with a Billion dollars ???


    May 22, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  18. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    @ Howard.. I am one of the "South Florida Jews" that everyone seems to reference. We are and always have been supporters of the President. When you reference Hitler you lose our attention. We get mad and stop listening to people like you. The only question I have is, I have given "gelt" every Saturday of my younger life to plant treed in Israel. Maybe someone can tell me where my forest is.

    May 22, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  19. bill

    We all heard what you said, barry.

    May 22, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  20. joinamerica

    I am becoming increasingly concerned that Barack Obama is mentally ill. He is obviously a pathological liar. And a narcissist.

    He is destroying our international relations.

    May 22, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  21. FM

    Those who are distorting what the President meant on Thursday and today have their hidden agenda. No one can initiate the negotiations without having where to start. Negotiating the border which existed in 1967 is the the starting point!

    May 22, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  22. Tharpie

    Obama does not speak for me. I do not believe that Israel should withdraw to 1967 borders. I will stand with Israel, and our President had demonstrated his antisemitism time and time again. TAKE IT BACK!

    May 22, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  23. Dee

    The President is not back peddling he is trying to tell the Israeli/Palestenians the world is changeing and they need to get on board before it is too late. With technolgy and uprisings by the younger generations these leaders need to change their old views and come up with a Peace solution before it is too late.

    The younger generation can relate to President Obama in this social-media change today, this is the message he is sending, use 1967 as an example for an Israeli and Palestenian states. The message is very clear it needs to happen sooner than later.

    No matter what this President says it is not right in the eyes of some segments of America and whether you like him or not as someone posted he is your President he was elected the President of the United States.

    May 22, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  24. Annoyed at both sides

    Ok. #1. The exact same speech plus more vocabulary lessons. People need to analyzed his first speech and you'll see its identical. #2. Isreal needs America much more than America needs Isreal. And beleive me, Netanyanu knows this because there is a large portion of the Isreali population that loved Obama's stand on this. So, Netanyahu has his work cut of for him back at home. #3. Palestinians are not stupid. They want peace with Isreal and they want Hamas and Fatah united with PLO. But, the PLO is a democratic group so they will be sympatetic to peaceful processes. This brings me to #4. Border agreements in Isreal/Palestine is largley linked to the movements witnessed in the Arab spring movement. I suggest the sooner that Isreal settles border dispute the easier it will be because the Arabs in Egypt, Tunisia, Lybia, Syria etc...who are seeking their freedom are largely in favour of the Palestinians getting their freedom/land/or whatever they deem a symbol of libration from the Isreali. Isreal has to trust that a democratic PLO backed by democratic Palestinian population will be fair to the process. I suspect that relying on old logic that Hamas is a terrorist organization will strengthen Palestinian resolved to let the Arab spring take care of these issues and I don't think that is wise. So, Netanyahu has got to make a move now and not allow politics inside Palestine harness the voices of the Arab revolutionaries thats has been witnessed thus far.The situation will be more dangerous if they wait and I think that is why, Obama has taken a proactive step in speaking up nooooow before Iran and Syria capitalizes on the Arab spring any further.

    May 22, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  25. daisey

    Any poster who thinks that this policy is no different from Bush's does not know what he is talking about. In a 2004 letter, Bush wrote that we would not ask Israel to change their borders. Ever. Look it up,

    May 22, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
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