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. Robin Bray

    Statehood should have never been granted to Texas. A group of Terrorists who killed innocent Mexicans and invaded and stole their homeland.

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

    The Israelis have continually thumbed their noses at the US by building settlements on the West Bank and in east Jerusalem while we have asked them to not do so. As a Christian, I am in favor of a Palestinian state and would like to see our economic support for Israel decrease if their policies continue to be in opposition to a peaceful region. Perry is an idiot and doesn't deserve this much attention.

    September 20, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  3. Tony in Maine

    This whole pro-Israeli schtick of the evangelical right is rooted in a delusion that the Jews had to be in Israel before God's Chosen (evangelical Christians who go to THEIR independent Baptist church) could be lifted into heaven. They really don't give a rats patoot about Israel, people of the Jewish faith or anyone but themselves.

    September 20, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  4. Kris L

    Not surprising that Gov Perry would completely generalize a whole group of people and demonize them without even knowing what the hell he was talking about. Considering how previous administrations gave tacit support to people like Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, Pinochet, etc, etc, etc, how can anyone generalize a group of people as terrorists?

    September 20, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  5. JHaas

    Finally some intellectual clarity. America needs it bad. Sarah Palin at energy dept, Donald Trump at commerce and John R. Bolton at the State dept and There's hope for the USA.

    September 20, 2011 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  6. ungato1

    Your Latest News ticker "Perry's pro-Israel rant" suggests more a "CNN's anti-Perry rant". Not surprising considering CNN is a decidedly pro-Democrat anti-Republican media outlet. When is it your turn to be thrown under the bus?

    September 20, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  7. BlackPanthers2020

    This man ( Perry ) is not to be trusted ! He's the kind of person who would say or do anything just to garner a vote . How come the media hasn't took the gloves off on this guy because most people , even the people in his own state know's he is a crook !!!!

    September 20, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  8. rdg18

    As thomas above said:

    Perry USA
    Netanyahu Israel

    No more demorats in public office.

    September 20, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    from the article:
    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.
    Funny thing how when Netanyahu said exactly that to the US Congress he recieved a standing ovation.

    For those who do not know. Since the 1967 War, Israel has always held that any negotiation must begin with recognition of the 1967 borders. In other words, the Israelis are demanding that no negotiations take place until the other side comes to the table accepting the fact that Israel exists within its's own borders. Many militant groups do not recognize the borders ast all, and totally reject them as being legal or valid. That is why the 1967 borders are used as a starting point. It is not a land deal at all, which is how Netanyahu tried to mischaracterize President Obama's remarks.

    September 20, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  10. effelbee

    This man is unqualified to speak on international relations, and way out of bounds for criticizing a sitting President and the State Department's policies about which he know nothing but presumes anything he wants. Dangerous nonsense.

    September 20, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  11. Mike from MN

    These lunatic Christians really think that unconditional protection and turning a blind eye to Israel will win them praise from the Jewish-God "Jesus".

    More governance based on a 4000 year old fairy-tale book.

    The last a lunatic Christian was President, he took this country on a CRUSADE TO RID THE WORLD OF EVIL-DOERS.

    Do not let these crazy Christians and Jewish lobbyist run this country ever again!

    September 20, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  12. Not All Docs Play Golf

    The 2 state solution is simple....let the Palestinians have their land, and let the Jewish zionists have Brooklyn in the summers and Miami in the winters.

    September 20, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. steven harnack

    I can't think of any other instance where a candidate for political office stands with a politician from another country and insults and misquotes our President. Unbelievable!

    September 20, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  14. Joe

    I wonder what all these Southern so-called Christians are going to do when Jesus tells them he backs the Palestinian cause.

    September 20, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  15. GrogInOhio

    Note to Israeli politicians... Rick Perry is a flash in the pan who will crash and burn in a few weeks ala Michele Bachmann. Tying yourselves to him would not be wise. Just a thought...

    September 20, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  16. desi

    Perry's foreign policy credential: "I can see Mexico from my house"

    September 20, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  17. ja

    good perry is not president, he was talking of texas leaving the united states, who want to here the spew from his mouth

    September 20, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  18. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    To establish how much Perry knows about the situation in the Middle East, someone should ask him to explain the Balfour Declaration. 100 bucks says he's never heard of it, and if he has, he won't explain it correctly.

    September 20, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  19. Eli Goldrosenblumstein

    Good for Perry. Let me just write him a check right now.

    September 20, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  20. Wowsors

    Perry is an imbecile.

    September 20, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  21. swindler

    Maybe Perry and Ed Koch should run for office in Israel–or go on a date.

    September 20, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  22. Dirk Waldon

    I've been pulling for Israel all my life up until these republicans started dividing everything that this president does. Man! I may as well switch from from the Christian religion thang and go with the majority religion. It can't be half as bad as the nuts that following these Southern cross bearers.

    September 20, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  23. iDEA

    The US should just buy Baja California from Mexico and then move all the Jews there. Its isolated, has great weather, good fishing, and sandy beaches. The Jews can then build as many temples as they want and do all the sacrifices they need. Its a win-win situation and would probably be cheaper then funding World War 3.

    September 20, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  24. RAWoD

    Well at least he doesn't claim to be able to see Israel from his yard.

    September 20, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  25. Guest

    It's tyme we put a real Man like that there Perry in the white House and kik some of you no whats. The DOG MAD comunistic Liberols, the anti Gun, anti Chistian crowd, the scientists and thar satan beliefs like evolutiun, Globel warmin, math, space travel (let Chiner and India do that, Thar a bunch a loosers), who needs it, what a bunch a Bull, a bunch a globel whinners. It's just a excuse to give them stupid scientists jobs. They gotta go, prays be the Lord God allmighty. We need a CREATIONIST to gide this country to the light, thars to much Science bein learnt in our Socialistic Schools. Why this guy Perry can wack coyotes dead when runnin. Amazin. Once he's in office he can deregolate everythin, Oil drillin off the east and west coast and alaska, open it up, why thars enouf wood in alaska to be clearcut to supply chiner with chops stick for 200 years, then he can tak Texas outa the Union and go tell the USA to Uk itself, if ya all get my drift. There aint nothin you meelly mouth, weak Liberols can do neather. We don't waunt knowlegde we waunt CERTAINTY. A cople more things, get rid of social security, we got to many old poeple anyway. there all a bunch of communists. And here comes the big one. It's time to go to War with Iran, it'll be good for the aconomy, more contractors more weapon, more money. Nuke em, what a hoot.Of course we gotta bring back the draft, thats good cause we got to many sissys standin on the sidelines.

    September 20, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
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