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. james Miller

    Republican presidential want-a-be`s will criticize every move Obama makes.--- It`s politics. What`s good and right be damned-it`s politics.

    September 20, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  2. Jo

    Perry is a dense stooge.

    September 20, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  3. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    "Standing behind Perry at his news conference was the deputy speaker of the Israeli Knesset, Likud member Danny Danon,".....I ask, who does Rick Perry stands with, Isreal or America?

    September 20, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  4. CaliforniaBC

    The Jewish communittee needs to take A LOT more into account when deciding on a presidential candidate. While Isreal may well be very improtant to them, they have to look at the overall policies of the candidate and the consequences of voting for a very narrow-minded one that will not address the broader needs of the American community as well.

    September 20, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  5. Bill NY

    The only reason Rick Perry cares about Israel is that is where Jesus comes from. The holy land. Mr. Perry more than likely though, is a christian who believes that christians are Jews on steroids(new and improved). When these republicans like Mr. Perry says that Obama threw Israel under the bus, it only illustrates how truly ignorant and misinformed they are. If you take a good look at what is happening in Israel right now, you will see that Israel is throwing itself under that bus.

    September 20, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  6. sortakinda

    Rick Perry: "Wait a minute. You mean to tell ME that those people who live in Israel are JEWS? Don't have many of those in Texas. I thought the Palestinians were the JEWS. Will someon help me get this straight?"

    September 20, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  7. Rumors in Austin say Perry likes the way one of his state chefs serves up his "hot dog"!

    Did any of the Jewish attendees ask Rick (Elmer Gantry) Perry why only his "christians" were invited to his prayer service?

    September 20, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. charles bowen

    Perry wil pander to anyone or anything that will get him elected, he is a Wolf in Bush Clothing . This clown would be the worst thing that could happen to america. Charles Bowen Solomon Stone

    September 20, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  9. doug

    Say what you want about Perry but the fact remains, he is a better, nicer, more honest person than any Democrat in America today.

    September 20, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  10. Henry Miller, Libertarian

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

    Give the Israelis Long Island–kicking out, of course, everyone who lives there now.

    September 20, 2011 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  11. jb

    He should shut up, and man does he look old and wrinkled.

    September 20, 2011 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  12. GaryB

    Perry, not being a big student of history (or a big student of anything really) doesn't seem to realize that the Obama administration's stand on the Israeli-Palestinian borders is consistent with U.S. policy going back decades through both Republican and Democratic administrations. If you don't like the policy, fine, but don't act like it's somehow new with Obama, as that's just dishonest.

    September 20, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  13. Dennis

    Doesn't the Bible say "love your ememies?" I love the hypocriscy!!!

    September 20, 2011 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  14. seriously???

    Let's face it. Before New York Perry had zero opinion about Israel.

    September 20, 2011 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  15. Alex

    How dare Obama disses Israel. Doesn't he know who he's messing with? America should be ready to sacrifice it's own safety to protect that tiny nation. We should do this because clearly, America was founded as a Christian Theocracy by the Jesus fearing George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson, who were undeniably fundamentalist Christians who believed the Bible word for word. Nothing that either of the two men wrote, nor any of our other Founding Fathers, ever once considered another ultimate answer other than Christianity. Therefore, we should be ready to bear arms and sacrifice our lives and American society itself to protect the Covenant between God and the Chosen People.

    September 20, 2011 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  16. 1crusader

    What all candidates should remember is that we only have one president at a time, and everyone has the right to voice their opinion, but how its done is important.The Tea party, and Republicans as a whole, have demonstrated a lack of decorum and disrespect for the president that shows contempt for him, and a real lack of class.Whether you agree with him or not, he is the leader of this country, and he sets the official position of the United States on policy, domestic and foreign.Rick Perry's speech in the same city, New York, and at the same time of the president's visit and U.N. remarks, was tasteless, and demeaning to the office of the presidency.The substance of the remarks were also over the top and divisive It all demonstrates how detrimental the Tea Party is to America.

    September 20, 2011 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  17. Judas

    George W part 2.

    September 20, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  18. dan

    wow, It seems Israel is like a foreign territory of the USA...Mr perry if you become president I will leave the military..No more wars with the arabs..let them get the small country of their own ...otherwise if we allign our foreign policy with Israel right n wing..our boys will stay at the front line for ever..without forgetting that we are broke! no more cowboys in the white house...get some sense of reality first...

    September 20, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  19. larry

    Democrats, I understand where you are coming from in regards to Perry. Please take a look at Ron Paul's policies in regards to the middle east. He is the only person that actually places America's interests before anyone elses!! I don't agree with everything he says but the guy is the only consistent man in this race and that includes Obama, Romney, or Perry.

    September 20, 2011 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    @ Karen


    Wow, a Republican criticizing President Obama ... that's news?
    "criticizing" is correct. Notice there wasn't any name calling from the Republican. Can't say the same for people like Obama that call Americans "Teabaggers" or Pelosi calling Americans 'Nazis" or other disgraceful name calling that come from the left. Maybe these people should learn to start "criticizing" in a respectful way instead of being downright vicious to the American people.

    Karen, where have you been over the last 3 years? Our president has been called a terrorist, a Nazi, a Communist, a Muslim, etc: the parade of insults from the Right directed at the President has been non-stop. His humanity has been questioned with emails, signs a protests have compared him to Hitler, etc: where have you been hiding? Your selective memory is amazing, even for some of the bloggers I've seen here.

    September 20, 2011 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  21. KWilson67

    Not helpful when O refers to Israel's "illusionary borders"

    September 20, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  22. joseph

    PERRY SHMERRY!!! This guy's a smelly media duck! RON PAUL 2012

    "First they ignore us, then they fight us, then we win." Gahndi

    September 20, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  23. antleader

    Can't tell the truth about the Merck donation, but is a genius on middle east affairs. May we have the moderate, intelligent,
    Republicans back, the teatards are just plain stupid!!!!!!

    September 20, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  24. Vic Maffei

    Israel has too long a history of buying US legislators and blackmailing US government(s).

    Are we, the US, partners or have we become Israel's client?

    September 20, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  25. Steve in SJ

    Perry, like other Evangelicals "likes" the Jews (and I am Jewish) for his own benefit: votes, campaign contributions, and the Evangelical cause that believes that when all Jews move to Israel and embrace Jesus, the messiah will come (their messiah, of course). Some friends 🙁

    September 20, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16