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. Billy, NYC

    Sick and Tired of the GOPs pandering. Please stop preaching anti-Obama nonsense.
    God helps the mid-east. US can't do anything.

    September 20, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  2. carol

    Did Perry have a any rabbi at his day of pray??? Of course, not he care about the Jewish communtiy, NOT! People, who think Obama is anti Isreal, get their news from FOX that is owned by an immigrant and the former king of Spain, the two major stock holders in FOX, who have proved there fairness in Britain?

    September 20, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  3. Carrotroot

    The United States is currently trying to rally enough votes in the UN to vote down official recognition of a Palestinian State. For Perry to say that Obama is somehow appeasing the Palestinians, in light of what is currently happening at the UN, is a complete falsehood and the media needs to call him out on his comment.

    September 20, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  4. don

    Question is can Rick Parry find it on a map?

    September 20, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. Sheree Nall

    Hurry up 2012, we have got to get this guy out!

    September 20, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  6. a6102658

    Hey, lookie here!! Perry hates Obama...CNN, I never saw that one coming.

    September 20, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  7. Tony

    What an empty suit!

    I didn't think it was possible, but clearly Perry knows less about foreign policy than he does about the economy; and he knows dink about the economy.

    September 20, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  8. Doug in NYC

    And Mr Parry, how are you going to pay to move the embassy? We're broke, remember? You say that every day!!!

    September 20, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. Wayne

    If you're not with me you're against me type rhetoric. Wake up people..PERRY=BUSH THE SEQUEL

    September 20, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  10. Recovering Republican

    Every time Perry talks, a puppy dies. Read my lips, NO NEW TEXANS.

    September 20, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  11. Essential Campaign Tactic

    I was not sure that Perry was the right candidate for the American Presidential race, but now that he shows that he will put the interest of GLOBAL ZIONISM ahead of wrothless American people and nation, then it seems that he can participate. This is the test for every high level American high level official. PUT THE INTEREST OF THE NEW WORLD ORDER, GLOBAL ZIONISM AHEAD OF AMERICA. He passed.

    September 20, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  12. dcol

    Why is America giving Isreal 8 million plus dollars a day? This should be the real issue. Palastine has every right to want statehood. After all they were there first. No one likes a people who steals their land.

    September 20, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  13. Sandy

    Wow, Perry continues to display his ignorance.

    September 20, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenienc­e, but where he stands at times of challenge and controvers­y.” – Martin Luther King Jr

    President Obama please do the right thing in this historic opportunit­y for peace, please vote for a Palestinia­n State!!

    September 20, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  15. Texasmike

    Work with me on this one. Considering Perry has as much foreign policy cred as Sarah Palin and he can't see anything from his porch in Texas, Perry would be against Palistine, Texas becoming a state because to him, Palistine is already in the state of Texas and while he thinks that Texas can secede from the US, most southerners don't think a part of the state can secede from within the state.

    September 20, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  16. Recovering Republican

    Nearly one in five Texans live in poverty. Many jobs recently created under Gov. Rick Perry are minimum-wage. This guy is such a Republican it hurts. He does promote prayer though. Prayers for food, prayers for shelter, prayers for safe schools, prayers for surviving another day. Keep up the good work Rick. Maybe someday, you can be President, and your dream of one out of every five Americans living in poverty will come true.

    September 20, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  17. Jane

    The president is seeing both sides of this debate and problems in that area, too bad Israel and and the palestinians don't see each others side more. Jane

    September 20, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  18. maf

    @terry, va – wow, an MBA and a self-made millionaire, yet you express yourself in this manner!
    Pathetic. Me thinks you have some skeletons!

    September 20, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  19. John

    Ya'll have to remember that Israel buys a lot of weapons from the USA and Perry is in the pocket of the folks sellin' to 'em.

    September 20, 2011 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  20. SecedingfromTexas

    "......all you can do is change voter laws in your favor."
    And they are doing just that, States who now have Voter Photo ID laws include Wisconson, Kansas, South Carolina,
    Louisiana, Michigan, and the Rhinestone Cowboy's own State of Texas, among others. Perry's campaign song
    should be "I've got spurs that jingle, jangle, jingle..." all the way to the bank.

    September 20, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  21. Perry01

    What does Perry know about foreign policy? He can't even handle the Mexicans in his own backyard.The president is wisely using a different approach to find lasting solution to an age old problem. The old approach has proven ineffective, Mr. Perry, you can't keep doing the same thing and expect different results. Learn to think outside the box, Mr. Perry.

    September 20, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  22. walter

    Just like in Demolition Man What Edger Friendly said that we are cage animals we don' t like to cause harm but do just to get some food. The Palentine people are like a caged abused animal all they can do is lash out because of Isreal repeated abuse towards them.

    September 20, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  23. smith1

    perry on palestine ??? I doubt that this moron could find it on a map !!!

    September 20, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  24. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    With idiots like Perry and Bachmann it is no wonder that the GOTeatards have had to stoop to changing the voter laws to favor the RethugliKKKlan candidate in the general election.

    These morons are national and international embarrassments, and it is a shame that the new voting laws that are being proposed in states with Republican governors could very well land one of them in the White House.
    By hook or by crook huh GOP?
    God help us.
    Obama 2012

    September 20, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  25. Lucullus NYC

    Isn't it time to look to the interests of America first instead of those of poor, tiny, surrounded Israel? We poor billions of dollars into this "soverigen' nation that are used to ghettoize the native inhabitants and steal their land. Contrary to popular belief, Israel is not the 51st state and we would do well to stop treating it as if it were. The Isreali's spy on us, pay off congressment and senators to work for their interests instead of interests of America. Does anyone remember the USS Liberty? And one last thing. Everyone who thinks that the UN should mind their own business should remember that Israel is a creation of the UN, so they are minding their own business.

    September 20, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
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