Perry and Obama on Palestine

The president’s speech to the UN General Assembly is here; Rick Perry’s speech from yesterday at a pro-Israel rally is here. Will Saletan argues that Perry’s rhetoric on an issue he’s pretty new to (he mispronounced “Palestine” as “Pahl-ee-steen,” like the town in Texas) emboldens extremists. He knows better than I do. Reading the text, I hear just another voice in the chorus that has changed how Obama talks about Israel.

Here’s Perry, with more from the Q&A.

Palestinian leaders must publicly affirm Israel’s right to exist, and to exist as a Jewish state… I do support a two-state solution only if the nation of Israel and the Palestinian Authorities do sit down and have direct negotiations between each other and under no other circumstances would I accept that and support that.

Sounds a little like cant, because this was established in Oslo. But here’s Obama.

The Jewish people have forged a successful state in their historic homeland. Israel deserves recognition. It deserves normal relations with its neighbors. And friends of the Palestinians do them no favors by ignoring this truth, just as friends of Israel must recognize the need to pursue a two state solution with a secure Israel next to an independent Palestine.


America must make it clear that a declaration of Palestinian Statehood in violation of the spirit of the Oslo accords could jeopardize our funding of U.N. operations.

Obama, quietly explaining why the administration worked against a resolution acknowledging Palestinian statehood.

I am convinced that there is no short cut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades. Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the UN - if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now.

Perry has more saber-rattling (laser sight pistol-rattling?) than Obama, of course, and he mischaracterizes what the administration is actually doing. But you have to work hard to miss how Obama talks about Palestine now, after months of heightened and opportunistic attacks on his soft tone.