Republican Candidates Slam Obama On Israel

NEW YORK (AP) – Wading into a tense foreign policy dispute, Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry on Tuesday criticized the Palestinian Authority’s effort to seek a formal recognition of statehood by the U.N. General Assembly and assailed the Obama administration’s broader policies in the Middle East.

In a 10-minute speech in New York, Perry pledged strong support for Israel and criticized President Barack Obama for demanding concessions from the Jewish state that Perry says emboldened the Palestinians to seek recognition by the U.N.

“We would not be here today at this very precipice of such a dangerous move if the Obama policy in the Middle East wasn’t naive and arrogant, misguided and dangerous,” Perry said. “The Obama policy of moral equivalency which gives equal standing to the grievances of Israelis and Palestinians, including the orchestrators of terrorism, is a very dangerous insult.”

Perry also criticized the administration’s belief that any negotiations should be based on the borders Israel had before a 1967 war that expanded the Jewish state. Perry called that stance “insulting and naJive.”

Perry also expressed support for building Israeli settlements on that land, an issue that has been a stumbling block during previous negotiations. And Perry said that the entire city of Jerusalem should be part of Israel, a move that would make key religious and historical sites part of the Jewish state. Israel captured East Jerusalem from the Palestinians in 1967.

Perry even suggested he would move American diplomatic personnel out of Tel Aviv and instead recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. “As the president of the United States, if you want to work for the State Department, you will be working in Jerusalem,” he said.

In a statement before Perry spoke, GOP rival Mitt Romney called the jockeying at the United Nations this week an “unmitigated diplomatic disaster.” The former Massachusetts governor accused Obama’s administration of “repeated efforts over three years to throw Israel under the bus and undermine its negotiating position.”

“That policy must stop now,” Romney said, calling on Obama to unequivocally reaffirm the U.S. commitment to Israel’s security and a promise to cut foreign assistance to the Palestinians if they succeed in getting U.N. recognition.

Both Perry and Romney said the U.S. should reconsider funding for the U.N. itself if the global body recognizes a Palestinian state.w

These and other Republican candidates are intent on showing they stand strongly behind Israel, an effort to appeal to Jewish voters and donors who play a pivotal role in presidential elections. They are also appealing to evangelical Christians, who play a key role in the Republican primary process and who support Israel for theological reasons. Perry on Tuesday his own Christian faith is part of his support for Israel.

“I also as a Christian have a clear directive to support Israel, so from my perspective it’s pretty easy,” Perry said when a reporter asked if Perry’s faith was driving his policy position. “Both as an American and as a Christian, I am going to stand with Israel.”

The U.S. has promised a veto in the Security Council, but the Palestinians can press for a more limited recognition of statehood before the full — and much more supportive — General Assembly. The Obama administration has pushed hard for countries around the world to block the Palestinian bid, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday there was still time to avert a divisive showdown.

Obama has been criticized by Republicans and many pro-Israel activists for seeming to push the Jewish state harder than the Palestinians to make compromises to achieve peace. Among other things, Obama has called on Israel to cease building housing settlements in the West Bank and to negotiate the scope of the Palestinian state using 1967 borders as a starting point — a diplomatic position the U.S. has long maintained but one that has never before been explicitly embraced by a U.S. president.

Complaints about Obama’s Israel policy helped a Republican, Bob Turner, win a special election in a heavily Jewish and Democratic New York congressional district last week.

“It’s vitally important for America to preserve alliances with leaders who seek to preserve peace and stability in the region,” Perry said. “But today, neither adversaries nor allies know where America stands. Our muddle of a foreign policy has created great uncertainty in the midst of the Arab Spring.”

Obama is also in New York on Tuesday for meetings on the sidelines of the General Assembly. He planned to meet later in the week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


One Comment

  1. dan says:

    “Wading into a tense foreign policy dispute, Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry” discovers he brought a knife to a gunfight.

  2. nunya says:

    He’s from TEXAS, we all have guns here as well as the BIG Bowie knife.

    1. alrha says:

      Texas do have lot’s of HUNGRY people.

  3. Big al says:

    Perry is such a moron. God help us if he becomes president.

  4. YRofTexas says:

    Romney and Perry & other Tea Party members are not backing Israel for political clout and votes. It is because it is the RIGHT thing to do. Israel has the US as their strongest allie, and if we cast them aside…if we force them to concede land to non-Jews, then we are destroying the state of Israel and not honoring their sovereignty.

    The Bible conveys a strong message that those who bless Israel will be blessed. Clinton wanted to press Israel to be cut up into pieces, and 9/11 shortly thereafter followed because the US turned it’s back on Israel. God did not make 9/11 happen; He ALLOWED it to happen as a show, a warning that any country that disallows Israel to exist, tries to split her up, will stop being blessed and protected.

    You may not care for any of the Republican candidates, but their show for Israel does set them apart from a majority of the Democrats. The US must MUST protect and honor Israel!

    1. AC says:

      oh brother… “He allowed it” really… your god allows ALLOT of bad things to happen… better get the sand out of your hair and look at reality for what it is.

  5. MuckRaker says:

    Exactly why should Israel be a state and Palestine not be one? I believe they have both been around for the same amount of time in history. The blame solely belongs to Israel for Palestine finally moving for statehood and I back that 100% (no affiliations to either side).
    If Perry believes the Palestines are terrorist, then he believes his own kin where terrorists to European Nations, to Native Americans and finally to Mexico. A foe is no more than a foe no matter what side your on. Under handed tactics have been with us since the dawn of time.
    Sure Perry has no problem with them building settlements on disputed land, he saw nothing wrong with taking Texans land for his profits either trying to make toll roads.
    Perry may be blinded by so-called faith, yet he is no better than those who Jesus had a grievance with in Jewish temples who also had so-called faith. If you stand behind Israel when they are clearly in the wrong, your not going to reap a golden reward just like those in Jewish temples probably did not for not staying in the right. Blessing Israel and backing them when they are clearly in the wrong are horses of a different breed.
    I do agree 9/11 had a basis in Israel killing kids for years for throwing rocks, yet it went on to oil and mililtary men trying to change women in a different type of society or abusing them. Then throw in a little extremist beliefs and you shall reap what you have sown or allowed to be sown.
    As a leader of this Nation you must set aside your own personal religious beliefs, because you are representing a Nation that is not made up of just 1 religion and some who also have no faith.
    As for spelling or being politically correct, who cares-we all bleed and die the same way no matter how educated or non-educated you are. Common sense will always remain more important than any amount of education you can get which is often flawed with bias.

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