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. Paul1st

    Even though Perry is not a fan of Bush, Perry avoids pointing out that much of what Obama has done in the Middle East is a continuation of Bush's policies. Hey, it's all about scoring votes.

    September 20, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    The media has done President Obama a gross injustice by allowing his polictical opponents to demonize his remarks about the Israeli borders and peace talks. What is most shameful is that Netanyahu shook his finger at Obama while admonishing him, only to turn around the very next day and repeat Obama's words, almost verbatim, to a joint session of Congress to a standing ovation.

    September 20, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  3. Havenmal

    Perry is pandering and nothing more! The US Israeli policy is not an invention of President Obama. It has been the policy of the US for the past forty years. Once again the Republicans are preaching anti-Obama nonsense!

    September 20, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  4. doug

    If you are interested in hearing Democrats be honest about how they feel about this conflict and what side they really are on there is a place for that. It's called Pacifica radio, where Democrats just spew their hate without trying to be decietful about it. 995 in NY, 907 LA, 941 in San Fran and I believe you can google them and get a stream as well.

    September 20, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  5. vet in texas

    You can tell who knows something about this topic and who doesn't. Those that bash Obama on his stance, only got their position from talk radio, and get ALL of their opinions and "facts" from those same entertainers. Just because Levine and Limbaugh say so, doesn't make it so. Bachmann knows less about this situation than Cain (had no clue of what the "right of return is), and is just spouting out of the side of her neck, and Perry's ONLY foreign experience is dinner with the former president of Pakistan and visiting the troops.........if you believe that Jewish Americans are that stupid, you probably don't know where $.99 cents came from...........a 54% approval rating among that demographic tells the whole story, and tells you who they are going to vote for. It definitely won't be "nuclear Iran" Paul, "anything I feel like saying" Bachmann, and "no idea what right of return means" Cain. You won't be able to persuade their grandchildren (whom they listen to) to vote for Perry, all you can do is change voter laws to your favor.

    September 20, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  6. Danel

    You are witnessing the bought and paid for candidate for the US presidency. Nothing new here.

    September 20, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  7. doug

    Democrats believe that honest, law abiding Americans who make a positive contribution to society that are against a bloated federal government are terrorists, as Joe Biden stated about the tea party.

    Those who strap bombs to their bellys and fly planes into building are freedom fighters to the Democrat, only Americans who don't vote Democrat are terrorists.

    September 20, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  8. STEVE

    Liked Perry, but the more i hear him speak the more he reminds me of George Bush... GOP need Romney to win the nomination, hes the only one who can challenge obama, anyone else wont appeal to independents. Simple as that.

    September 20, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  9. doug

    When it comes to his National Socialist ideology, Obama stays true to tradition.

    September 20, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    AS GM wrote:
    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.
    Lies. Do you call annexxing land by tearing down Palestinian settlements, displacing people by the hundreds and thousands, to build Jewish ones peaceful? If someone came along with a bulldozer and tore down your house, I suppose you would give them a tax cut and say thank-you very much.

    September 20, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. As GM goes, so goes the country...Unions/Democrats killed GM, now they are killing the country

    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.
    It is called the right of self defense. I suppose you expect them to sit around endlessly enduring rocket and suicide bomber attacks? Would we do the same in this country? Or would our military be used to strike back and defend us, like it was in Afghanistan?

    Frankly, at this point, I'd give Israel the green light to start confiscating land as compensation for every rocket or suicide bomber attack by Hamas and the Palestinians. If they do not want to live in peace, then go find someplace else to live. Go llive in one of the numerous other arab countries. They love to kill each other so you'll fit right in.

    September 20, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  12. al NJ

    orchestrators ?? OMG , like in evildoers ?? it's GWB all over again.
    god help us all

    September 20, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    As GM wrote:
    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.
    Do you realize that what you just wrote says that you deny Palestinians their right to exist in their own homeland somewhere? That is the entire gist of the problem. Neither side acknowledges the other side's right to exist.

    September 20, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  14. ted

    The Israeli Palestinian situation is very complex. I have read about it a lot and this clown from TexAS hasn't a clue. How many times have past administrations sponsored summits and got accords signed and the Israelis and Palestinians just go back to shooting and wrecking homes and businesses and killing each other. I haven't a clue what the outcome should be but we need to stop supporting Netanyahoo as he does not agree or support anything we want.

    September 20, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  15. Dee

    This is pathetic Perry knows nothing about Israel the Middle East he is just saying what he is told to say to seek the nomination. He certainly looks out of place even talking about Israel he could care less about these people. I welcome a debate between Pres. Obama and Perry he doesn't have a clue about foreign policy.

    We do not need a dictator or a bully to help settle the problems of the Israeli/Palestenian peoples conflict. Can you see him trying he can't even run Texas.

    September 20, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  16. Vigla

    As GM Goes... Firstly, the name you are using is just plain idiotic. GM is making record profits. So we must be doing EXCELLENT right now. Second, it's high time Isarel and Palestine reconcile their differences and engage. This issue has been a major powder keg in that region and it has hurt us internationally. It's time they came up with a solution that works. I only wish Clinton was successful back on 1999. The players were listening and we almost had peace. Spewing conservative talking points and trying to make yourself seem intelligent just isn't doing it for the rest of us... Thank you very little.

    September 20, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  17. A Kickin` Donkey

    Perry knows nothing about the history of Israel. He couldn`t spell PLO if you spotted him the "P" & the "L".

    September 20, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  18. Reggie from LA

    @Rich, has something there, reference "religious radical". Not the Christians many of the Right profess to be. What they practice is not Christianity (or similar). People who believe in or follow the doctrine of Jesus reject hatefulness toward their fellow man. I mean to be real, we all need money (in this country) to survive, but GOP and Tea condemn and scorn people who need help. THEY SCORN PEOPLE WHO NEED HELP!!. No? How about "let him die" and "people on welfare are leaches", not "they were put out of their jobs" or i forgot "there's jobs, they just don't want to work". Rich is right, RELIGIOUS RADICALS, and Pied Piper Perry is dumbing them along. Someone needs to have replaced the Beck rhetoric machine, I suppose.

    September 20, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  19. Steve, New York City

    Governor Perry. We need thoughtful, intelligent discourse on what to do about the middle east. Therefore, while your words might carry significant weight on "Hee Haw," they are not terribly helpful at this juncture.

    Of course, Perry seems to be reducing the US government to nothing more than a mouthpiece for the AIPAC, and for other super-rich, super-powerful lobbyists (and in the end, that does seem to be our sad reality).

    September 20, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "Perry weighs in on Palestinian statehood controversy"

    Good thing he's an intellectual lightweight.

    September 20, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  21. Chumlee

    Perry could not fine Israel on a map!

    He is a below average student, and surely not worldly educated!

    September 20, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  22. Alec H

    Does anyone really believe that Obama wants to throw Israel under a bus? I mean give me a break. This is why i hate the US election system. Its not about what someone does, its about how fast you can spin it to make it look like they are doing something that they aren't. And then nothing gets done, because the other side has played its hand before the river.

    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.

    And you know what the sad part is, most Americans are dumb enough to believe the gossib.

    No longer is it about the truth, i feel like we are watching to cheerleaders Run for home coming queen, spreading lies about who the other one slept with "last friday night"

    God Help Us!

    September 20, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  23. Pasqualehaven

    Perry is just pandering and playing politics. The so-called Obama Israeli policy has been the policy of the US for the past forty years. Revisionist history again! The Republicans are rewriting history to suit their views as usual . I'm disgusted with their lies both domestically and internationally. They will do anything to defeat the President , even when it means defeating what's good for the USA .

    September 20, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  24. 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.

    September 20, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  25. mrkusn

    Perry is voicing the same policies of the GW Bush administration. It is the same talking agenda. I am looking for a leader who can champion his/her own ideas instead of the dead-end thinking in Washington. Too bad the GOP far-right wing will not endorse Huntsman.

    September 20, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
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