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. AndYetStill

    That's hilarious. "There is no middle ground between our allies and those who seek their destruction." And a few moments later, "Perry did affirm, however, his commitment to a two state solution between Israel and the Palestinians....." This guy is a pro at double speak, and he's completely full of crap.

    September 20, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  2. Canuck

    Perry says he's a Christian – how can he support the apartheid state of Israel and still profess he has Christian values?

    September 20, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  3. midleclssfan

    We're spending too much but lets pander to a group that's costing us billions. Typical Republicon Hypocrisy.

    September 20, 2011 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  4. SwilliamP

    Governor Perry is an ideal choice to continue and expand the international goodwill the US earned during the George W Bush presidency (sarcasm intended).

    September 20, 2011 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  5. anthony78

    Perry's motto, "If at first you don't secede, run for president." thanks Palladin, had to repeat that one!

    September 20, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  6. Paul

    The Israeli's brought terrorism to the region in the 30's and 40's. They are responsible for the mess. I am not anti-Israel, but I don't understand why we need to be in lock-step with them. The Palestinians have as much of a right to exist and govern themselves as Israel. I wish they could co-exist under one nation, but I think it is clear to everyone that because of resistance on both sides that is not likely. What is the problem of allowing the Palestinians to be recognized as a nation in the same manner that Israel was recognized as a nation?
    Can't we hold all of our allies accountable?
    The situation now is the result of Netanyahu's obvious reluctance to actually compromise, his tactics have been to delay and obfuscate, not to actually negotiate. Why must we play Netanyahu's game?

    September 20, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  7. Hugh Allen The use of the name 'Obummie' doesn't add a single ounce to your argument, but has the reverse effect. Obama is the first US president ever to remotely stand upo to the poisonous Israeli lobby and to try and moderate the USA's disatrous and uncritical support for Israel. The reason why the USA is so widely distrusted is because its support for Israel is so much out of keeping with any sense of natural justice. What was legfitimate defense in 1967 is now a straightforward annexation and theft of land to which Israel has no claim whatsoever.

    September 20, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  8. Sickofdeadbeats

    This guy is just another swaggering texan with nothing to show except sheer ignorance. If Americans vote for another Bush clone we can just kiss this nation goodbye on the global front. How can any rational American even entertain this p...o..s...?

    September 20, 2011 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  9. Republican Trash

    God the GOP makes me sick, why do they have such a huge erection for Israel? Its bad enough these guys a right wing religious zealots, but now they are constantly on their knees servicing their Jewish Gods. A note to the Republican party, please get of your knees, its starting to get a little degrading for you.

    September 20, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  10. Hasek39

    Just another fine example of political reality in America. If you want to become president, then you need to appease AIPAC and all other Jewish lobbies and pwer brokers that you will provide unconditional love and support to Israel. Why? So you can get the money and media exposure you need to win. The bigger question is why Israel, a country of a few million people, receives such a priviledged position in the American psyche? Surely America has more important geopolitical relationships that don't require the American taxpayer to cough-up $20 billion in annual "support". The sad fact is that the Jewish lobby controls virtually all levels of meaningful US government. Israel could care less about the United States and the average American could care less about Israel ... but thanks to those we empowered in government and with our resources, our hard-earned money and reputation is being swindled to the Middle East. What's worse, our resources are being used to steal land and destroy non-Jews in their efforts towards self-determination and statehood. Something that America is supposed to champion.

    September 20, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  11. gorgothmog

    Perry and Bachman have no business commenting on this. They are intellectual lightweights of the highest order. Dumb as a bag of rocks. As for Turkey and Egypt isolating themselves from Israel, WHAT SURPRISE!? We will defend Israel in a war, of course, but the political mess they are in was bought through arrogance and hubris, by thumbing their noses at Hillary Clinton in complete contempt.


    September 20, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  12. Joe YOU LIE Wilson

    Yeah, Obama loves terrorists and hates America. Thats why he ordered that Navy Seals put bullets in the heads of most of Al Qaeda leaders. Even George W Bush said that Israel and Palestine need to recognize each other's right to exist. Wow... what a horrible thing to say. Obama clearly hates America and Israel, according to Rick Perry.

    September 20, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  13. BigSir

    Another self-serving politician hoping for everything that comes with a pro-Israel stance.

    September 20, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  14. MiketheElectrician

    Perry slams Obama..hmm you think?.. Perry is a hick who needs to get back to Texas and produce jobs, other than flipping burgers.

    September 20, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  15. Linda

    Who is this moron and why is he talking about international politics? Obviously he knows nothing about much except how to lie about jobs he created- while Texans are falling into poverty faster than any other state, and how to execute people, guilty or not and then cover it up. And he claims to be the man of God?

    September 20, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  16. Republican Trash

    Who cares what Israel thinks anyway? Why is that a factor in every election? You don't see me courting the 49ers Organization vote do you? Why is essential that we include Israel in our lives?

    September 20, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  17. MiketheElectrician

    Hmm, lets see, Palestine has been around for thousands of years, and Israel is created in the 1940's with a majority coming from European countries..Hmm, who has more legitimacy.

    September 20, 2011 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  18. A. Goodwin

    I can't wait to see Rick Perry or Romney debate President Obama on foreign policy. Obama is going to squash them like BUGS!!

    September 20, 2011 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  19. Carrington1

    The simple fact is that the Palestinians are our implacable enemies and Isreal is our friend. We can give the Palestinians money from now to doomsday and it will buy us nothing. The Palestinians commit one atrocity after another and it is okay. Isreal retalitates and it is barbaric. So, Rick Perry came out and had something to say about these simple realities. Good for him!

    September 20, 2011 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  20. chill

    Perry is not so stupid that he doesn't know he is lying about the Obama Administration treating Hamas as they do the Israelis. The everyday Palestinians who are suffering under occupation do deserve something better, and there are implications far beyond Israel and Gaza the longer this issue festers. Both sides have blown opportunities repeatedly. Perry is just another Republican playing to the most ignorant parts of his base.

    September 20, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  21. BlackPanthers2020

    Foe all of you israel lovers , look what Nazi's have done to them during WWII , and everyone feels bad that they were pushed off to concentration camps and things of that nature , So how come a race of people that were almost wiped off the planet , Now in turn they are essentially doing the same thing to the Palistinian' would think that jews would have learned a good lesson and would treat thier fellow human beings much better ....but I guess they didn't learn anything from the Nazi's , and even though I dislike the idea of oppression maybe the Nazi 's were on to something by exterminating so many jews because if you haven't notice Israel is doing the same thing to it's they are no better !!!!!

    September 20, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  22. gov perry

    Thinker23...FACT: ur a moron....palestinians lived there before moses & the exodus. The palestinians still have the deeds to their land...unfortunately israel is full of "lawyers" that change the laws to suit them...much like they do in their own religion..

    Oh, btw...i endorse this msg

    September 20, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  23. As a Jew . . .

    I don't trust perry one bit. By the way Israel is very important, but first and foremost I'm and American.

    September 20, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  24. Danny

    Hopefully the existing or the next president that the Arab Spring could boast our economy if we play our cards right. Let's not isolate ourselves and think logically for a change. So Mr. Perry, you will not do better if you were the president.

    September 20, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  25. Semper Fidelis

    It is sooooo refreshing to have a politician who has the moral fibre to speak his mind. After GWB who couldn't string a sentence together to flip-flop Obama who just wants to be popular :" If you love me help me pass this Bill" tripe at a recent rally.
    GWB and Obama are equally embarrassing. Perry tells it like it is.

    Obama arranged a meeting with the 'Pro-Israel' lobby in May. It was televised so we could see a mass of Jewish people cheering for Obama's 1967 border plan.
    The problem was – the meeting was arranged for the Jewish Sabbath – so PRO ISRAEL Jews weren't able to be there. The ones cheering were American Socialist Jews.

    I can't see Perry doing that! Give him a chance or face ruin in a years time

    September 20, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
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