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. Jaywing

    "Rick Perry is a 'border' expert....Texas has the most secure border in the 'free world.'"
    Yes, indeed... no one from Oklahoma, New Mexico or Lousiana has ever jumped the fence into Texas! Of course, who would want to?

    September 20, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. Spence

    With AMUSEMENT, and perhaps a little bit of nausea, that one looks at the like of Perry and the other RepubiClones, falling all over themselves to see who's more pro-Israel. You can sure that America's interests are seldom Israel's, Perry's vomit-inducing fauning notwithstanding.

    September 20, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. 5041360

    looney tunes is on the loose! keep talking, rick- i

    September 20, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  4. GOP Hates Middle Class

    Slick: just invite Israel to move into Texas, then secede to form the nation of Texrael.
    What a clown, so Bush-like it's scary.

    September 20, 2011 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Alec H wrote:
    Did you know? that in Britain, when running for parlament, if you run an Ad that is proven to be a lie, and you win the seat, you have to go to a recall. Why can't the US do that. I mean are there any ads or press conf that have any grain of truth to them anymore.
    That would be nice! I am sure Democrats would be for it, and Republicans would be against it.

    September 20, 2011 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  6. Larry C Wilson

    Remember the King David Hotel.

    September 20, 2011 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  7. normajean

    whats the don't print mine anyway

    September 20, 2011 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. Paul

    "Pro-Israel Rant"? Could CNN be more obviously anti-Israel? So, I guess the ultra-liberal folks at CNN think that any speech that supports Israel, or criticizes Obama for being anti-Israel, is a "rant". You so-called objective journalists should be ashamed of yourselves, with your wannabe subliminal messages. Why not have the guts to come out and say how you really feel? Something like "We hate the jewish state of Israel, and we wish it didn't exist". At least that way you could be more respectable by virtue of candor, although you'd probably have to give up your phoney-boloney jobs in the process. Let's see if you've got the guts to even post this. I'll be keeping an eye on you. ­čÖé

    September 20, 2011 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. Buster Bloodvessel

    Man! That is so simpleminded, considering that it's the 'middle ground' that they are fighting over. Does he not know people are calling him stupid? And stuff like "Thomas Jefferson, who were undeniably fundamentalist Christians who believed the Bible word for word" makes his followers look stupid as well. Is this guy joking or something? Jefferson a fundie?

    September 20, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  10. Dennis

    Metron, when President Obama said America is not a Christian nation, he was only speaking the truth. The facts are that as of this writing less than 50% consider themselves Christian. This does not mean he hates Christians, but only is acknowleding the facts that most Christians have so turned off the nation by their hypocriscy, nobody wants to be associated as one. LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR? Really? The hate I see being spewed by these self-righteous bigots makes me embarrassed to be called a Christian. So, if we are now a non-Christian nations, we have only the Christians to blame.

    September 20, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  11. RemainCalm

    As if the foreign policy this Texas wackadooddle supports has worked so well to keep Americans safe.

    September 20, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  12. Boosker Beluski

    America, we must get it out of our heads that we are a satellite nation of Israel. We can't piggyback on their Zionism to allow us to feel better about killing the First Nation. Let that little nation stand on its own just like we must. Our support only gives Israel validation to continue torturing Palestinians. It must stop. We need our money more than Israel.

    September 20, 2011 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  13. Naztaja

    I am beginning to think as poorly as Obama has done, he is guaranteed re-election with the level of over the top rhetoric regarding the president. I would rather have a crippled president than the hot tea pot full of wackadoodle crazy who crippled the president...he has not yet been allowed to do his job free of infantile criticism. Criticism is fine....just be smart about it because its just gonna make me vote for him the more crazy these tp's get!

    September 20, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. nagrom

    Gee Do you think Perry will convince Israel to give up Judism and become an evangelical convert? Just food for thought. I mean he wants to move the embassy to Jerusalem. It is inhabited by Muslims Christians and Jews. Go figure.

    September 20, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  15. Drew Williams

    Big-mouth, militaristic blather like Perry's on Israel resonates with the right-wing crowd ... and why shouldn't it; while real people are fighting and dying in some sand hole, they get to stay back here with their little flags and yellow ribbons,lecturing us about patriotism and "real Americans."

    September 20, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |

    Typical GOP name calling without any substance. No real plans because he doesn't have a clue about the history or substance of the previous talks. This administration isn't suggesting anything that every other administration has suggested. But then again, how would Perry know this or any other policies being a dirt water gov. So name calling is the best he and every other GOP candidate can do. He should be quite though, he's making a fool of himself.

    September 20, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  17. rrinbr

    Nuke Jerusalem! Then there would be nothing to fight over.

    September 20, 2011 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "Jefferson a fundie?"

    You have to understand...they wake up in the morning and decide what they want the world to be like and then set about convincing themselves it already is that way...there's no talking sense with them by trying to point out contrary facts, reality, etc.

    September 20, 2011 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Jenna NYC

    I lay the blame for this fiasco squarely at the feet of President Obama who stated last year at the United Nations that he supported statehood of the Palestinians. He treated Netanyahu abominably.
    Netanyahu acted rudely by shaking his finger in President Obama's face as if he were a two year old kid. You are twisting Obama's words just as badly as Netanyahu did and still does.

    The President called for peace talks that would lead to the eventual creation of a Palestinian state. The creation of a state is the inevitable solution, whether you, Netanyahu or any other hard liner like it or not. The alternative is more death and destruction coming from both sides.

    September 20, 2011 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  20. Nick

    This is easy. Jews need to learn to take care of themselves. They abandoned that land, then after Europe didn't want them after WW2, they went back and took it back over and in doing so...made enemies with every country around them. The US sticks up for them because the media is so jewish driven and lets face it...Jews have money. From a pride standpoint, how can Israeli's have any pride? They exist because big brother (USA) allows them too. In addition, because of the USA being their big brother and coming to their rescue...we have exposed ourselves to Terrorist attacks. If you listen to the Terrorist leaders speak, they have nothing against the US...they have EVERYTHING against our supporting of Israel. So there you have it.

    September 20, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  21. Barney

    Folks, it's about right and wrong every time. If you really think Israel has been right in its policies 100% of the time you are a complete fool. This is not a simple issue. It requires a creative solution that starts somewhere. What are your ideas? Or, do you just want to be a critic. You know, someone who is never a part of the solution and has no integrity whatsoever because they never have to do anything? It's that simple mindedness that has America where it is right now.

    September 20, 2011 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  22. John Tucker

    Obama has increased aid to Israel while allowing them to extend settlements and make land deals. Its been Israel first the whole time even when it goes against US interests. Hardly ┬Ęthrowing them under the bus.┬Ę We are cutting our own programs to finance them at levels unheard of in aid circles.

    September 20, 2011 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  23. Dylan

    I'm one conservative that will not be voting for Perry in the primary. He could have had my vote but lost it. This Texas traitor seems to care more about Israel than America. Either he has been bought off or should move to Israel, because that's where his loyalty appears to lie.

    September 20, 2011 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  24. The Decider

    Does Michelle Bachmann know about this? Did he get $5000.00 for verbally vomiting? This guy is sooooooooooooooo dumb he can't figure out if he should use his hand or toilet paper.

    September 20, 2011 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  25. GOP - The disease that keeps on giving

    So somebody wrote a series of Bash Obama speaches about Isreal
    and handed them out to Slick Perry, Natasha (backpeddle) Bachmann, Paul (I am still breathing) Rand,
    Newt (pollywog) Gingrich, Mitt (Clark Kent Hair) Romney
    and those other groupie GOP wannabees.
    Did Sarah (once youve gone black) Palin get one ?

    Obama bad, throw Isreal under bus, blah, blah, doom and gloom
    read my lips...........

    September 20, 2011 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
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