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.

    Mittens has already chosen his VP candidate, and Perry is giving foreign policy speeches. Vote for a true leader, Obama 2012!

    September 20, 2011 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  2. Sequoia

    Clearly, this loser has zero credibility on anything related to the real world outside of America's taint, Texas, and even there he failed.

    September 20, 2011 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

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

    Specifics of an Obama Administration appeasement from the wannabee secessionist? Probably not going to happen, Pat.

    September 20, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  4. Thinker23

    To all those complaining about Israel and Israeli actions:

    Fact: Israel recognized the right of every Arab state including the still non-existing Palestinian state to exist since 1948. The Arabs rejected and continue to reject (with two exceptions) the right of Israel to exist.

    Fact: Israel offered Palestinians peace and a sovereign independent state ni 1948, 1967, 1978, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2009 and the Palestinians REJECTED each and ever one of them.

    Fact: despite all the cries to the contrary NO ONE was able to SHOW THE LEGAL DEEDS proving that the land of Palestine belongs EXCLUSIVELY to the Arabs.

    Fact: despite all the cries to the contrary THERE IS NO LAW prohibiting Jews to live in certain areas while allowing Arabs to live there.

    Fact: despite all the cries to the contrary blockade and occupation of enemy territory during a war is COMPLETELY LEGAL AND ACCEPTED.

    September 20, 2011 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  5. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Perry's motto, "If at first you don't secede, run for president."

    September 20, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  6. RedMan

    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 |

    Smartest post EVER.

    September 20, 2011 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  7. Dreamer96

    What are the three big banks in Israel the U.S. is going after,,hmm, So Obama is going after larges amounts of cash hidden from U.S. Federal Taxes by some of Israeli's biggest banks, and do you think Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not have full knowledge of these dealings....What about the fact we have sold some of our best weapons and intelligence technology to Israel only to have Israel sell it to China, and other countries the U.S. would not deal with,,,again Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not fully aware of this....If Perry and Rommey are actively engaging in talks with Israel I hope they understand they are under observation by the Israels and any dirty secrets they might have are already, or will be very soon known to the Israelis...And Israel will not hesitate to use them. Yes Israel is a strong U.S. allie, but they also spy on the U.S. and are always collecting information about us.

    This is much more than Sunday School Diplomacy, this is real world dirt and grime. Israel does not want the U.N. to send peace keeping troops to Israel, but will not make a deal with the Palestinian leadership either, and soon Jews will be a minority in Israel.. What will happen then?

    September 20, 2011 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  8. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    To me, the "orchestrators of terrorism" include a government that will demolish a building because the family of a man ACCUSED of a terrorist act lives there; a government which blockades a territory only allowing what food, medicine and building supplies they want to go in; a government that puts up a "security fence" that separates a farm plot that a family has worked for generations from their home forcing them to travel additional miles through checkpoints to get there; a government that forcibly evicts people from the land they have lived on and worked for centuries to allow expansion of the "homeland". In general, a terrorist government is one that legislates the practices of Apartheid and Ethnic Cleansing on a minority population within its borders. By definition, that includes Israel. As long as we back these mindless actions by a clueless government we will have the undying hatred of Islamic peoples throughout the world.
    Perry, as an Evangelical, believes the End Times will be approaching and the Israeli homeland is key to what he believes will occur. Do we really want as President someone who is hoping that Armageddon occurs?

    September 20, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  9. Ann Marie

    Great just what we need, a GOP Rethug on steroids talking diplomacy.

    September 20, 2011 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  10. As GM goes, so goes the country...Unions/Democrats killed GM, now they are killing the country

    Over the past decade Israeli politics has become controlled by right wing conservatives.
    Hmmm... could have been the constant rocket attacks and suicide bombers that caused Israelis to take a tougher stance.

    Over the last decade Israel has exercised capricious policies regarding the Palestinians
    Israel has done what it needs to survive while being surrounded by enemies that have sworn to drive them into the sea.

    the hard liners in Israel have always refused Palestinian's right to exist and right of return.
    Total BS lies. They have not refused their right to a PEACEFUL LAND. The Palestinians have repeatedly shown they have no intention of living in peace with Israel with continuous rocket attacks and suicide bombings. And nobody in their right mind could support Israel as a country and allow "the right of return". Israel would cease to exist as a country and that can't happen.

    September 20, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  11. ggwindsor

    the middle east is a big money maker for the industrial military complex there will never be peace as long as american tax payers keep paying the bills

    September 20, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  12. steve

    How does a traitor that allows illegal immigrants mainly from Mexico to stop naturally born citizens from getting a post secondary education, because he finds it easy to do so in Texas. Now he campaigns like he has already secured the Republican primary's and can take the lead on Foreign relations across the middle east which his policy would only lead to a full scale war against Israel and has the gall to act like he has Israel's best interest,where he plainly has no interest in Texas !
    He is more dangerous than those clowns we had from Texas the Bushes!

    September 20, 2011 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  13. Noodle Nose Johnson

    I think Perry would make a great President – of Israel. Way to Pander Cowboy!

    September 20, 2011 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  14. retrostar1000

    If Perry and other Republicans/Tea Partiers really wanted to get attention, they would say they actually AGREE and SUPPORT some of Obama's policies. That would blow peoples' minds.

    September 20, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  15. Brian

    You're an idiot Perry if you think Isreal isn't as big a part of the problem as Palestine. The two are equal partners in terrorism, and it's about time we stop turning a blind eye to it.

    September 20, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  16. Jake

    from someone who is unable to keep the peace in Texas! (land of the free!)

    September 20, 2011 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Old Yeller sticking his snout where it doesn't belong; sniffing up every crotch and wagging his tail in his futile attempt to win over the populace.
    New Yorkers don't take kindly to old rabid dogs.

    September 20, 2011 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  18. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    C- student Rick Perry probably knows as much about this subject as Sarah Palin does. In fact I think he's trying to switch the attention off his SS flubs and the Tea Party's dislike of his giving instate tuition to children of illegals that he had to do something and as long as it's anti-Obama it gets press. And the right wing sheep will follow.

    September 20, 2011 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. Socrates

    Perry is Bush and Cheney together on steroids. This guy will used not only the Jewish lobby to become president but also the Martians. He is do predictable. I am already missing Bush.

    September 20, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. Socrates

    Perry is Bush and Cheney together on steroids. This guy will used not only the Jewish lobby to become president but also the Martians. He is so predictable. I am already missing Bush.

    September 20, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  21. Ed - Rochester, NY

    When it comes to the complicated matter of Middle East relations, I'll take the current intellectual over the pompass and pious Perry any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

    September 20, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  22. Chief Sitting Bull

    Perry is rehearsing so when he declares Texas as a sovereign State, he will be the Prime Minister there...

    September 20, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  23. skarphace

    It would be unfortunate if Obama loses not because of the economy but because he refused to court the Jewish vote. Do you want Isreal determining our next President? If so, support Perry.

    Who is the only Republican candidate who would stand up to the Jewish lobby as President?

    You guessed it: RonPaul2012. com

    September 20, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  24. DA

    Personally, I could give a hoot about Israel they don't want to make any effort towards any type of peace in the ME!!! If you folks would do a little research you would see how the current conditions in Palestine are no different than the Apartheid that was in South Africa, which America was totally against. While I am not advocating the violent actions the Palestinian have used in the past or currently, use Israel has been just as lethal. They just so happen to use the law of "they hit me first" so let me hit them back. However what is missed is the fact that Israel has been hitting first for a long time, which may not be lethal in nature but are just as bad. When you take people homes, force them to go through various check points in what use to be their land, and deny other countries to give them food what is worse? I mean what you think people were going to do stand around and just take it? I am not saying we should turn our backs on an ally however are they really helping or hurting the relationship?

    September 20, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  25. mesamick

    P.Rick "Scary" Perry thinks just because he can see Arkansas from the TX statehouse he's got "foreign policy chops"...

    September 20, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
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