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. Anonymous

    Israel is an Albatross around our necks. Cut them loose.

    September 20, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  2. CCMars

    "There is no middle ground between our allies and those who seek their destruction."

    The phrase, "it takes one to know one" comes to mind.

    September 20, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  3. Lolo

    These Faux news listeners are really funny. You people have no idea what you are talking about. Just keep spreading the lies, hate and fear like you always do. You Republicans want to handle world problems to keep wars going, but can not take care of the USA problems. Go suck a lemon.

    September 20, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  4. Duke One

    Perry is being attacked by both parties which means he's the right man for the job ! PERRY/RUBIO 2012 !!

    September 20, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  5. Kwesoe

    It's easy to pander to the Jewish vote with lies and deceits. Perry's speech shows that he has no understanding of the Mideast conflict. How can he support a two state solution and still be biased toward Israel. A true mediator is honest, frank and impartial. Israel need to hear where she has gone wrong just as the Palestinians need to take responsibility for their errors. That's what true leaders do, that's what Obama is doing.

    September 20, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  6. Sean Russell

    Funny how Perry talks about being a friend to Israel and Jews, yet he hangs out with anti-Semites like John Hagee. I think Israel could do without 'friends' like that.

    September 20, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Rick Perry is a moron!!

    September 20, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  8. dshelly

    Good old Rick. Boy I can't wait to hear what he says next. The guy is a moron

    September 20, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. w l jones

    Strange coming from a man wont to secede from the union and get closser to you know who.!!!! have the nerve to be critical of the president. Enough said.

    September 20, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  10. marcia

    Shut up, biased CNN! You are ranting about Perry's ranting!!

    September 20, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  11. ken

    Does this sucker even know what Palenstine is? Does he even know how far it is until you reach the edge of the earth and fall off?

    September 20, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  12. 1crusader

    I think that this is all sheer political opportunism on the part of Perry and Romney.I won't even mention Bachmann What has the president actually done that is anti- Israel ? If he is as pro-Palestinian as they suggest, then why isn't he callling for Palestinian statehood at the U.N. with the rest of our allies such as Great Britain, and rivals such as Russia, instead of being in the minority in defending Israel?

    He has given some straight-talk to both sides, but at the same time, he has made it perfectly clear to the world that Israel is our life-long ally, and we will defend her to the end.The idea of accusing the president of siding with Hamas, and other terrorist groups is absurd; and only comes from the tenets of Tea Party ideology and rhetoric that says that the president is a subversive, is secretly a Muslim, and is sympathetic to radical Islam.

    September 20, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  13. K3Citizen

    It would be real nice if the republicans treated Americans like they do the Jewish people.

    September 20, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  14. Sequoia

    Yawn. Typical right-wing idiot who thinks being subserviant to Israel is strong leadership and sound foreign policy. Republicans are bass-ackwards on everything, but ESPECIALLY foreign policy. These idiots want to return to the Bush era when a visiting US President caused mass anti-American protests even amoung our allies. They're morons. Team Obama all the way on foreign policy. Remember when he quietly got Osama and Republicans were sad about it? Ha Ha.

    September 20, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  15. Jere

    How about we ask Osama bin Laden about the President's policy of "appeasement."

    September 20, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  16. Tom

    If Israel is your primary concern go live in israel. last i checked they are not the 51st state. The religious wackos thinking they are defending Israel so Jesus can return are are a political nightmare!

    September 20, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  17. Busted

    So the country who has been caught spying on us twice is someone we should be sacrificing our young soldiers for. I don't think so, the GOP lost me on WMDs their scaretactics won't work again.

    September 20, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  18. Luke

    Not all Palestinians support Hamas – in fact, Hamas itself opposes the UN statehood bid that has got Mr Perry's dander up

    September 20, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  19. Greg

    Will Israel make a bet on Perry? Is that a joke or something? Israelis are so stupid when it comes to US. They have no clue how things work here. If it was not for Greater Israel lobby here USa would turn away long time ago after many many insults we, as a whole country, had to take from israelis. And by the way, Mr. Perry, Abbas does not represent Hamas. You might color-blind, but the world is not black and white. But then, most Repuiblicans are color-blind when it comes to complicated issues.

    September 20, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  20. Thinks2010

    What else is new? If Jesus came back, the Republicans would find something about it with which to criticize President Obama.

    September 20, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. jnpa

    I really don't believe Perry ever had any position on this until one of his aids wrote all of this down, shoved it in his hand and said "say this"!

    September 20, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  22. ruby gumshoe

    This doofus is doing nothing more than panderng to the heb'es in the US in order to get their votes.

    September 20, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  23. Yarmulke=Hijab

    For those stupid Americans who cannot see how manipulative the Jewish lobbying is, you have no cure, really. In what universe should American policies be dictated by Israel? How's Israel an ally when America does most of its businesses with Saudis and other countries in the middle-East, and US only sends billions to Israel, including weapons, to inflame the situation? Let the desert-dwellers fight it out. If the Jews in the US feel so loyal to Israel and think that American policies should revolve around them, go back to Israel. At times, the Jews only demonstrate that Hitler might have been right in his assessment of these big nosed pests.

    September 20, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    Your "Fact: [that] 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" is astonishingly naive. So your argument goes that because the native American's couldn't show legal deeds to their lands that we actually had the right to remove them forcibly from their land? Did we have a deed? Did the Israeli state have a deed other than the bible?

    September 20, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
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