Perry weighs in on Palestinian statehood controversy
September 20th, 2011
11:30 AM ET
11 years ago

Perry weighs in on Palestinian statehood controversy

(CNN) - Rick Perry Tuesday jumped directly into the battle over possible statehood for Palestinians, slamming President Barack Obama for his policy toward Israel and how he's handled the Mideast peace process.

"The Obama policy of moral equivalency, which gives equal standing to the grievances of Israelis and Palestinians, including the orchestrators of terrorism, is a dangerous insult. There is no middle ground between our allies and those who seek their destruction," said the Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate, as he went before cameras about 25 blocks from the United Nations, where the Palestinian Authority this week will seek formal recognition of statehood by the United Nations General Assembly.

After meeting with a leading Israeli politician as well as some Jewish American leaders, Perry said that "America should not be ambivalent between the terrorist tactics of Hamas and the security tactics of the legitimate and free state of Israel. By proposing 'indirect talks' through the U.S. rather than between Palestinian leaders and Israel, this administration encouraged the Palestinians to shun direct talks."

The front-runner in the battle for the GOP presidential nomination charged that it was "wrong for this administration to suggest the 1967 borders should be the starting point for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. When you consider this suggestion was made on the eve of the Israeli prime minister's visit, we see in this American administration a willingness to isolate a close ally and to do so in a manner that is insulting and naïve."

Perry did affirm, however, his commitment to a two state solution between Israel and the Palestinians but noted that any agreement would have Jerusalem whole and under complete Israeli control. He also said that he would move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Perry's visit to New York came as the president spends three days at the United Nations, meeting with world leaders. Obama is expected to meet later this week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The two men have had some very public disagreements this year over how to move forward on the Middle East peace policy.

The U.S. vows to veto Palestinian statehood in the Security Council, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is working with other diplomats to avoid a divisive showdown on the controversial issue. And the Obama administration points out that Israel's security is a top concern for the White House.

"The United States is un-alterably, is absolutely committed to the security of Israel," National Security Advisor Tom Donilon told CNN.

Standing behind Perry at his news conference was the deputy speaker of the Israeli Knesset, Likud member Danny Danon, who has been extremely critical of the Obama administration's policy towards Israel.

Also standing directly behind Perry was Rep. Dan Turner of New York's ninth congressional district. Turner, a Republican, scored an upset victory last Tuesday in a special congressional election to capture the seat, which was long held by Democrats. Obama's policy towards Israel was a major issue in the special election, in a district that has a heavy Jewish electorate.

Perry isn't the only Republican presidential candidate to criticize Obama over Israel.

"What we are watching unfold at the United Nations is an unmitigated diplomatic disaster. It is the culmination of President Obama's repeated efforts over three years to throw Israel under the bus and undermine its negotiating position. That policy must stop now," said former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, in an email release Tuesday morning. "In his speech to the U.N. this week, President Obama must unequivocally reaffirm the United States' commitment to the security of Israel and its continued existence as a Jewish state."

And in an interview Monday on CNN's "The Situation Room," Rep. Michele Bachmann told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that "I don't believe Israel should have to give away any more of its land. The president hasn't done Israel any favors."

Primary campaign politics is a factor in this fight. Social conservative and evangelical voters are strong supporters of Israel, and they also will be very influential in choosing the next Republican presidential nominee, especially in such states as Iowa, which votes first in the caucus and primary calendar, and South Carolina, which holds the first southern contest in the road to the White House.

But general election politics is also at play. According to CNN exit polls, then Sen. Obama won nearly 80 percent of Jewish vote in the 2008 presidential election. While they only made up two percent of the voting electorate three years ago, they may be a factor in next year's general election. In potential close calls in some battleground states, such as Florida, where there is a large Jewish population, they could be the difference in determining who wins the electoral vote rich state.

According to a Gallup poll released Friday, the president's approval rating among Jewish American voters now stands at 54 percent, down from earlier this year, but still above his approval rating among all Americans.

Filed under: 2012 • Rick Perry
soundoff (388 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Do Israeli leaders actually plan to hitch their future on the Perry campaign? They will be disappointed when Perry flames out like Trump.

    September 20, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  2. ThinkAgain

    Wow, a Republican criticizing President Obama ... that's news?

    September 20, 2011 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  3. terry,va

    To even have this discussion shows how weak Obummie is. He has diss Isreal from day one and have enbolden Palestine. Obummie has shown his true colors since day one, but will now stand up for Isreal at the UN. Pure politics. He is a wolf in sheep's clothing and if the Jewish voters go with Obummie, God help them and the country as well.

    September 20, 2011 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  4. Stop the Charade

    Perry can't run the state of Texas so he should not be heard giving advice in the international arena. I'm surprised that he hasn't just told everybody to pray and everything will be allright.

    September 20, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  5. As GM goes, so goes the country...Unions/Democrats killed GM, now they are killing the country

    The Obama administration points out that Israel's security is a top concern for the White House.
    What a lie. The Obama administration's top concern for the last 3 years was how they could support the Palestinians and undermine Israel. Why do they continuously say stuff that is blatantly false? Is it any wonder why noboldy believes a word these people say anymore?

    September 20, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  6. Viet.Vet

    Perry and Mitch, its call pandering to the Jewish Lobby without facts, dang! I forgot, anything Israel do or treat the Palestinians is acceptable, anyone who disagrees is a so called anti-semitic.

    September 20, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  7. thomas

    Rick Perry

    Enron all over again !

    September 20, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  8. Dan from Tx

    The right thing to do, then and now? Move Israel into America. Much easier and cheaper to defend them.

    September 20, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  9. rich

    Perry is just wrong about Obama. He knows nothing about international politics or not much more on the USA politics. He is just a religious radical pushing his views.

    September 20, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  10. Captain America

    If you want another war – with Iran – then vote for Rick "The Turd" Perry. If you didn't get enough of the GWB presidency, then vote for Rick "The Turd" Perry.

    September 20, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  11. patNY

    Please give specific examples of how The Obama Amininstration's Mid East policy included acts of appeasement?

    September 20, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  12. SaintM

    Rick Perry's speech is being made 25 blocks from the UN–Does he know that means that his speech will not be heard at the UN or does he think his jangling spurs and loud talk will drown out the real conversation going on at the GA?

    Rick, you weren't invited to attend, and making a sidewalk speech a couple of miles away from the assemby will not make you an foreign policy force to be reckoned with. President Obama is in the building and will be listening to the world leaders as well as speaking to them. Your grandstanding speech is just that and it will not influence the serious work being done at the UN. Being 25 blocks away is as close as you'll ever get to being heard at the UN.

    September 20, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  13. dreucalypt

    Nothing but pandering going on here.

    September 20, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  14. vic , nashville ,tn

    This is just Politics

    September 20, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  15. maf

    . . . Perry is getting these meetings as the Governor of Texas???? Huh????
    The GOP has sunk to a new low and is oppositional ON EVERYTHING! There is only one goal in mind, to make President Obama fail! Despicable, self-serving, obstructionist, Karma is an amazing thing, hope you can sleep nights!

    September 20, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  16. ChuckB

    The Palestinians have never gained anything from the protracted negotiations for which the Israelis continue to dissemble and prevaricate in order to delay any resolution until they can gobble up as much of the territory as possible. Israel is not being asked to give up any of its territory. Israel has never annexed the West Bank; it is an occupied territory. The settlements are illegal under international law. Israel exists within the 1967 boundaries and no land is being asked for there. If the Israelis were serious about negotiations they would immediately prevent further settlements. Failure to do this is a show of bad faith for which the Palestinians only recourse is to petition the international community for statehood. For the U.S. to ignore or to veto any resolution passed with a majority of votes would demonstrate that the U.S. only sees the U.N. as a useful tool to sanction its self-intersted policies; democracy is only good if you achieve the results you want.

    September 20, 2011 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  17. thomas

    Perry / Netanyahu

    Remember the Alamo !

    September 20, 2011 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  18. davec.0121

    A note for Ms. Bachman: Israel is not 'giving away more of it's land'. It has 'given away' parts of the West Bank, Gaza, and Sinai that it captured in the 6-Day War in 1967, land in which no Israelis lived at the time.

    September 20, 2011 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  19. Slavetousa

    Why is Perry talking to foreign politicians? He is the governor of texas, not the texas ambassador to the un. Or am I just missing something and has Perry already won the GOP nomination, and these debates we are seeing are just for show? Is Perry already the next president of the us and this is practice?

    September 20, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  20. Patrick K. Coppinger

    Well, I really have to know, why is a governor of Texas commenting on the issue of state? Other then he is running for president and feels this is an opportunity to bash President Obama. I see and hear comments all the time about President Obama using a teleprompter to deliver speeches, (so do a lot of people including News reports) Rick Perry should learn to not only use a teleprompter but also rehearse a speech that someone else wrote, prior to giving it, Piece of advice Governor Perry” sound out the words” Did you go to the same school as George W. Bush? Focus on AMERICA Governor Perry, more so Texas. If not the riots in the streets could be here in the US not overseas. Class warfare could start because the GOP favored the rich, not the People.

    September 20, 2011 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  21. Nancy Gail

    Where can I find video of this speech?? I swear it sounded like he said 'nu-cu-ler' more than once! Speaking in Bush-isms!

    September 20, 2011 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Since many people have been misled by the spin over the past decade, allow me to point out some facts of the past decade.

    The Bush administration was the first US administration to allow Israel to do anything it wanted to do without any complaint or restraint from the US. Every US president had the same policy that President Obama has shown except for the "blind eye policy " of the GWB administration.

    Over the past decade Israeli politics has become controlled by right wing conservatives. Israel has made itself become increasingly isolated in a region where it has only two major "friends", Egypt and Turkey. Israel has alienated both countries, in particularly Turkey.

    Over the last decade Israel has exercised capricious policies regarding the Palestinians by continuing to occupy more lands, by destroying Palestinian buildings and erecting more Jewish settlements. Just as hard line Palestinians refuse to acknowledge Israel's right to exist, the hard liners in Israel have always refused Palestinian's right to exist and right of return. Too bad the US media only reports one side of this story. Neither side is blameless, and neither side is unanimous in seeking peace.

    September 20, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  23. Rob Lit both Perry and Romney have gone on record as being Pro-Apartheid.


    September 20, 2011 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  24. Sniffit

    Yawn. Care to revise your bobblehead analyses that tried to play down how much the "Israel issue" factored into the result in NY-9, CNN? I think we can officially call this the GOP's "NY-9 Stategery" now. Which one will be first to blatantly mischaracterize what Obama said about te 1967 borders? Parry, Mittens OR A CNN "JOURNALIST"?

    ""In his speech to the U.N. this week, President Obama must unequivocally reaffirm the United States' commitment to the security of Israel and its continued existence as a Jewish state.""

    You mean like Obama has done literally every single time he's spoken on the issue, Mittens? You really gotta love the "if I'm demanding it, it must mean he wasn't doing it" line of circular logic that underlies these types of comments. It's just too bad that the country is so full of morons that they fall for it.

    September 20, 2011 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  25. sonny chapman

    Israelis consider Palestinians dogs. The Nazis considered Jews vermin. What progress.

    September 20, 2011 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
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