Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry Tuesday gave a wide-ranging speech supporting Israel, condemning a U.N. vote on Palestinian statehood and charging that President Barack Obama had “appeased the Arab Street.”
“We are indignant that certain Middle Eastern leaders have discarded the principle of direct negotiations between the sovereign nation of Israel and the Palestinian leadership, and we are equally indignant that the Obama Administration’s Middle East policy of appeasement has encouraged such an ominous act of bad faith,” the Texas governor declared.
“The Obama Administration has appeased the Arab Street at the expense of our own national security interests. They have sowed instability that threatens the prospects of peace.”
During questions, Perry explained that his Christian beliefs guided his foreign policy.
“I, also, as a Christian, have a clear directive to support Israel,” he said. “So from my perspective, it’s pretty easy. Both as an American and a Christian, I am going to stand with Israel.”
Perry later added that he supported the Jewish housing settlements outside of Israel’s borders.
“Those are about the sovereign nation of Israel making the decision about those lands,” the governor told reporters. “If they are lands that belong to Israel then that is their right.”
In 2009, Obama told Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that the settlements, which some consider to be illegal, needed to stop.
Perry also suggested that the U.S. should withhold funds from the U.N. if they vote for Palestinian statehood.
“I think there are a number of things that we should do if the U.N. does, in fact, vote to allow statehood in direct conflict with the Oslo accords. One of those is obviously having the United States send a clear message to the U.N. that we’re not going to support you with our dollars anymore.”
He ended the press conference with the claim that the president had contributed to violence in the Middle East by apologizing for American exceptionalism.
“For three years, the Middle East has heard a wavering and aimless foreign policy and they’ve seen it all to often out of this White House, apologizing for America, apologizing for America’s exceptionalism,” the candidate insisted. “I think that message has been the driving factor in the instability in the Middle East.”
Watch this video from CNN, broadcast Sept. 19, 2011.