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May 23, 2011

Obama's Israel Borders Speech Becomes Fodder in GOP Primary

President Obama's speech on the Middle East included a call for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that should be negotiated around the 1967 borders. The new position (which may or may not be all that new) was quickly decried as anti-Israel by candidates for the Republican presidential nomination.

In his speech, Obama said, “We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves and reach their full potential in a sovereign and contiguous state.”

The reaction to the statement was swift among the GOP's presidential hopefuls. Mitt Romney said “President Obama has thrown Israel under the bus.” Tim Pawlenty called Obama's statement “a mistaken and very dangerous demand.”

But perhaps the quickest move came from possible nominee Michelle Bachman conducted 150,000 robocalls into Iowa and South Carolina and put out an internet campaign on twitter, Facebook, and ads linking to her website's petition to tell Obama, “You've Betrayed Israel.”

On her Facebook page, Bachmann said, “Today President Barack Obama has again indicated that his policy towards Israel is to blame Israel first…President Obama has initiated a policy which shows contempt for Israel’s concern and safety. In an era dubbed the ‘Arab Spring’ we have seen increased volatility in the Middle East region, and President Obama has only added to the heightened hostility by calling on Israel to return to the 1967 borders. I disagree with President Obama and I stand with our friend Israel 100 percent.”

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) also seized upon the statement. It asked people to join its own efforts “Petition to Protect Israel, Not Terrorists” The ACLJ said, “President Obama has sided with the terrorists — and against our friend and ally, Israel.”

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said that he was “shocked, saddened, and angered” by Obama's statement.

“The question of Israel's very survival as a state is one they face every day as they defend their borders and protect their people,” Perkins said. “Scripture tells us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 112:6), and we should pray. But we know that peace is not achieved by weakness and accommodation. Dividing Jerusalem and disregarding the present borders would not lead to peace.”

Steven Martin, executive director of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, also objected to Obama's statement, but for a different reason entirely. Martin saw the statement as just more-of-the-same, a continuation of the two-state solution rather than a “one-state solution, an Israel in which Jews and Palestinians live together in harmony.”

“In 2011, this policy only spells destruction to the Palestinians, and perhaps to the state of Israel too,” Martin said. “A two-state solution is indeed preferable. But if the time is already past, some changes must take place. Tear down the wall. Let the Palestinians share in the water. Let them work their farms. Let them travel and everywhere seek a better life for themselves. You have the land: now share it.”

Comments

Will CT make any effort to correct the mistaken notion that this is a radical departure from previous US led negotiations? Obama's position is no different than George W. Bush's position.

CT's political blog too often just serves as another mouthpiece for far right conservatism as a cultural-political ideology and not as anything resembling evangelicalism int eh public sphere.

It's a disgrace. Obama has now managed to insult both of our greatest allies and friends, Israel and the UK. It began his first month in office when he packed up and shipped the bust of Winston Churchill, a GIFT to us from the UK connected to the 9/11 attacks. Now he's setting the terms for Israel's peace negotiations with terrorist group Hamas. Add to that another week of gaffes in the UK trip, and the fact that most countries of the world either hate us now (much of this directly attributable to Obama's actions) or are laughing us to scorn. And when all this is not going on, he seems to spend a lot of time apologizing for America to the rest of the world. What is wrong with this man? It makes me ashamed to even be an American, because the world thinks he is speaking and acting for us citizens. When will this nightmare be over?

"It began his first month in office when he packed up and shipped the bust of Winston Churchill, a GIFT to us from the UK connected to the 9/11 attacks."

Fail. You're just parroting another Glenn Beck paranoid conspiracy theory without doing any confirmation of your own. The fact is, both the British Embassy and the White House have verified that the Churchill bust had not been a "GIFT", but rather a loan that expired with Bush's presidency.

The real disgrace here is that so many Christians are willing to bear false witness.

The British did not ask for it's return, and in fact, offered the bust to Obama to use for his term of office, but according to the UK Telegraph, Obama said basically, "thanks but no thanks". The paper reported that it "sent pulse rates soaring among anxious British diplomats." It was hardly only Beck who reported on how it had upset the British. Just do a search and check out most resources, such as "Newsweek", hardly a shill for the conservatives. But the main source viewing this as a snub, and perhaps they should know, was the British Press. They saw it for the snub it was, since it was offered to remain there. Obama seems to be the real teflon president, and if anyone dares say anything against him, the libs are right there to attack.