With a divisive United Nations debate over Palestinian statehood looming, GOP presidential frontrunner Rick Perry is blaming rising tensions in the Middle East on President Obama, saying the Democrat's Israel policy is "naive, misguided," and dangerous. Perry argued on Tuesday that Obama's insistence on using Israel's pre-1967 borders as a starting point for negotiations on a two-state solution amounts to "appeasement," and the Texas governor vowed to strongly defend Israel if he's elected. Would Perry do a better job than Obama in the Middle East?
Perry might succeed where Obama has failed: "The Obama Administration has been notable for exerting pressure on Israel," says Aaron Goldstein at The American Spectator. But Israel isn't the problem. There can be no peace deal, or even serious negotiations, until the Palestinians formally recognize Israel's right to exist behind secure borders. While it's questionable whether a President Perry could win such a concession from the Palestinians, at least he "would put the pressure where it belongs."
"Perry: Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state"
Actually, Perry's radical views won't help Israel: Rick Perry doesn't speak for all Israelis, says Chemi Shalev at Israel's Haaretz. By dismissing negotiations based on the 1967 borders and supporting "an unprecedented carte blanche for Israel to build in the settlements as much as it pleases," he's simply parroting the views of "staunch Israeli right-wingers." Injecting the issue into the presidential campaign in this way will only hurt the "already fraying unity of the American Jewish community, and that won't do Israel any good.
"Texas Gov. Rick Perry: Like a Likudnik"
Either way, Perry is unfairly painting Obama as anti-Israel: Perry is twisting Obama's record on Israel, says Ben Adler at The Nation. The Texas governor says that the president "has 'failed to insist' that the Palestinians recognize Israel's right to exist and that it cannot declare statehood unilaterally" — neither claim is true. Perry's just trying to reinforce the "right-wing fantasy" that Obama is anti-Israel, when in reality he's as strong an ally as George W. Bush ever was.
"Rick Perry plays to right-wing fantasy that Obama opposes Israel"