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. kwatog

    So guvernor, what's your grade in world history in college? C or D?

    September 20, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  2. cf

    If Obama says "hot," Republicans say "cold." This is nothing new. Doing and saying the opposite of whatever the President says and does, no matter how foolish or hypocritical it makes them, has been the Teapublican "Let 'em die" Party's only strategy from the start.

    September 20, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  3. Tiller In Texas

    Great, another war monger. Bush sounded a lot like this. And did anyone notice Perry pronounces "ISRAAL" like Bush pronounced ""NUCLAAR"

    September 20, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  4. Drogo, who bit the dust

    This stinking terd needs to be flushed.

    September 20, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  5. skyjmpr

    Demogoguery of the worst kind.

    September 20, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  6. Drogo, who bit the dust

    This crook needs to be impeached.

    September 20, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  7. Panties

    Governor Rick Perry's is the world's Lord, God and Saviour. His old lady is really Nice, also.

    September 20, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  8. Hot Dog

    He is only stating a position that his handlers or some other pro-Israeli interest group is giving him. He will take this country backwards. It's funny that he is the same person that stated that Texas could succeed from the Union but thinks that the Palistinians can not have a statehood status or do not have a right to exist. What could be more of an arrogant position than that?

    September 20, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. Sal

    There he goes, sucking up for the jewish votes! What a system we have. 

    September 20, 2011 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  10. Jim

    Interesting! People like that "love" Israel but they hate Jews.

    September 20, 2011 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  11. David

    So Perry's stance is to blindly follow the policy of a different country just because they are an ally??? The US has many allies of which Israel is just one, to let these allies drive US policy is just silly.

    September 20, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  12. BEn275

    hey Maybe Perry can creat low income jobs for the Palestinians when they finally get a state?

    September 20, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  13. BinFL

    I will never understand those that think we have to have undying support for Israel...they are the cause of most of our problems. It is ridiculous that, after all these years, they can't make peace with Palestine. The struggle over a piece of land is barbaric to say the least. I applaud President Obama for his tough stance on Israel but unfortunately there are just SO MANY issues this president has to deal with that he can't accomplish all that he set out to do in such a short time. I'm sure that he has a peace plan but our economic and job situation has to take priority. As far as Preacher Perry...give it up man!

    September 20, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  14. JimmyFlim

    Moral equivalence... what an insult to the eternal victims, the Israelis. If only the world would realize that ALL Palestinians are bomb toting terrorists, and need to be caged indefinitely. Bebe's wet dream. Who would have thunk it... we send billions in aid to Israel, and Bebe sends a small part of it back to Perry's campaign.

    September 20, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  15. GI Joe

    Sounds to me like Haggee was speaking in his ear-piece AGAIN. Why doesn't Perry just get Bachmann to help him pray away all the world's woes?

    Those people have fought an begged money from US for 2000 years and they will do it until the end of time. The nutjobs just make things worse and give them fake reasons (gossip) to continue fighting. THEY LIKE IT or they'd stop.

    September 20, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  16. Stupidscript

    GOP = "Spend YOUR taxpayer dollars propping up a religious State that does not believe Jesus was the Savior."

    Perry, Romney and Bachmann are clearly lying through their teeth when they claim to support smaller government, otherwise how can they justify spending so much of YOUR tax money on a religious State halfway around the world? Israel does NOTHING for the USA! Every penny of YOUR tax dollars is going to a repressive government that is spending those dollar producing nuclear weapons.

    Perry, Romney and Bachmann are clearly lying through their teeth when they claim that their personal Savior (Jesus Christ) guides them, when they clearly support a whole religion with YOUR tax dollars that rejects Jesus as the Savior ... and played a not-insignificant role in His murder, according to available sources.

    Perry, Romney and Bachmann are sociopathic LIARS who will do and say literally ANYTHING just to fool GOP/TP members into putting them into office, where they will continue to spend my tax dollars on that obscene excuse for a government, among other poor choices.

    September 20, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  17. GI Joe

    We get this right-wing crap from CNN because Blitzer and a lot of the other "heads" that talk are Jewish. No other reason. Prejudice and whining is getting really old, and we have 14 more months to go. So sick of the right-wing hate, lies, fear and propaganda I can no longer watch ANY of the CNN programs.

    September 20, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. sosofresh

    Awww... that is so cute! Perry is weighing in on complicated middle-eastern policies... this is a big day for him. Let me see if I can break down Perry's stance on the Israeli-Palestinian situation for those of you who were not able to digest it in his recent address (it may have went over your head because it was so complex/sophisticated). Perry: "Israelis good. Palestinians bad terrorists." I don't have an advanced degree in political science, nor am I a member of Mensa, so I'm sure most of Perry's finer points were lost in my translation... I'm not going to pretend to be on his stratospheric intellectual plane.

    September 20, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  19. Lewis Goldstein

    The major factor in Perry's (and all the other born again, apocalyptic candidates and supporters of Israel) support of Israel is their insane belief that for Jesus to come to earth again, the temple of Solomon in Jerusalem has to be rebuilt and so they need Israel (and the Jews) as part of their belief system. They don't really care about Israel, or the Jewish people except for teir own insane and devious plans for destruction of everyone who believes differently than them. Of course, their plans are all fiction based on fiction. And in their story, once the temple is built and Jesus returns, then the Jews will not be needed and they can also be damned to eternal hell. These apocalyptic, republican politicians are about as smart and compassionate as the priests in the Middle Ages. And their concern for Israel is purely selfish and nuts.

    September 20, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  20. DN

    I just want to remnid US politicians that first and foremost they should pledge allegiance to the US, not to Israel.

    September 20, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  21. John

    Republicans keep their outrage about the 1967 boarders, not mentioning that has been the US postiion for years. Under Bush the clown, CLinton, Bush 1 and Ford, all called for the SAME thing. Republicans just like to be against America on everything!

    September 20, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  22. JohnQ

    It's amazing that CNN thinks that this is news. We have been a solid ally of Israel for years, why would this even be news worthy? The Palestinians are from Jordan, so Jordan should make room for them, instead of demanding land from Israel.

    September 20, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  23. musings

    Wow, he had me gagging at "moral equivalence."
    Is he saying that all Palestinians are terrorists, and that all Israelis are innocents?
    Does he know any history? What would British troops think of Israelis circa 1946-48? They'd regard the Irgun as a terrorist organization, wouldn't they? So there's your history of the innocent side, and it stops too soon to make the point that Israel is not always in the right. Are the Palestinians always in the wrong? How could a person seeking the office of President think so simplistically?

    September 20, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  24. Mr. Moderate

    Again, Evangelicals like Perry and Bachman are only strong supporters of Israel because they need the Jews to be converted or exterminated as part of the rapture. It is a core tenant of their faith. And Obama is an enemy is Israel?

    September 20, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  25. Steve

    What a buffoon. And, what an embarressment to the U.S. of America.

    September 20, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
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