President Obama’s Middle East Speech Rattles Israelis, Palestinians Alike

Prominent Leaders, N.Y. Pols Blast '1967' Plan From All Angles

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — President Barack Obama stepped right into the line of fire Thursday, laying out a controversial Middle East peace plan that has both the Israelis and the Palestinians unhappy.

He’s urging Israel to pull back to 1967 borders, which has always been rejected, and he wants the Palestinian state to be demilitarized.

Obama’s speech was met with shock and dismay here in the Tri-State Area from people on both sides of the issue, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

The Israelis and the Palestinians haven’t agreed on anything since the state of Israel was established in May 1948. But on Thursday they did agree on one thing — Obama blew it in his speech on the Middle East.

“I think in Israel the reaction to the ’67 line will be very vocal. I think people will be critical and concerned about it and the fact that the president laid this out,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, executive director of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

That was an understatement. Jewish and political leaders were stunned when the Obama became the first American president to say that the boundaries of a Palestinian state should go back to the 1967 borders, before territory reclaimed by Israel in the Six Day War.

“Steps toward a lasting peace, with real security, cannot start with pre-existing conditions on Israel, said New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

“The Palestinians have said in 1967 and every year since that they want Israel not to even exist. That’s the problem,” added Rep. Anthony Weiner.

“I think the fundamental philosophy of the United States should be trying to help our ally in the region, to help democracy and freedom. That means being an ally of Israel. The Palestinians have made it clear again and again they prefer violence to peace.”

But while supporters of Israel are upset by the president’s demand for the Palestinians to recover territory taken by Israel in 1967, Palestinians in New York City said they are equally upset by the Obama’s insistence that the state of Palestine be a demilitarized state.

“I think that Rabbi Hillel once said that you should want for your neighbor what you want for yourself and I think to put the Palestinians at a disadvantage, in may ways, I don’t think will bode well for peace in the long term,” said Zead Ramadan, the president of Council on American-Islamic Relations: New York.

Ramadan said Palestinians need guns to protect themselves from many others in the area.

“I think to leave a nation defenseless … I think there’s a multitude of times in history when defenseless nationals have always been attacked. They have to protect themselves from the neighboring Arab nations, from intrigue, and infiltration.”

This is only the first of many times in the coming days the president will confront the problem in the Middle East. He will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, but then is scheduled to talk to a major Jewish group over the weekend, where you can bet the questions will be thick and tough.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Marcia Kramer
  • Ava

    Oh, but it will. Instead of reading the Koran maybe you should read the Bible.

  • FENIAN13




  • Tom

    Well let’s at least agree to start referring to the Israeli “Settlers” for what they really are – SQUATTERS!

  • Erik

    I don’t care about the religious aspect of the Jews vs. Muslims. I do think however that both the Israelis and Arabs are completely unwilling to progress in peace negotiations because they both receive free money for continuing this stalemate. The Israelis receive billions in US grants (that means they don’t have to return the money – not a loan) and the Palestinians receive the same from other Arab states. To me the constant mantra: Israel is our friend, only democracy… is pointless. What has Israel done for US lately, or even ever? Are there any concrete examples of how we have benefitted from the relationship with that state? And how is Israel a democracy if it’s own citizen’s rights are based on religious affiliation. I think that US commitment to Israel has become unreasonable over the years, and the only way to see a change in that region is to stop financial support from flowing to that country.

    • Mark

      Do you have a cell phone? do you know people with cancer and other diseases they have the top scientist in the world. fact not opinion check it out!! their military and spies have saved the us many times already (they told the us many years ago about osama)

    • May Sakr

      I totally agree with you Erik .

    • what he said!

      Erik. You are a wise man and an objective and calm narrator of simple truths. Much better than I can articulate.

  • Isreal Is US Friend

    It amazes me at how many fellow Americans do not understand the value Israel provides to the US. We support them because we have to. They are the only democracy in the middle east, surrounded by 22 arab nations that have one thing in common. The destruction of Israel. Thank the Good Lord the true Americans running this country will never turn our back on Israel. What a wonderful country and people! AMEN

    • whatever

      Billions a year and – never mind trillions on latest wars and thousands of our soldiers’ lives. THAT’s what we get for this one-way “friendship”. For what? An occupation? They are not our friend, but they love us. Lobbyists? Dual citizenships?

    • Average Joe

      U.S. taxpayers give Billion$ and Billion$ to Israel……more than any other country…..while unemployment and homeless are at record high.

    • holly c. mcpherson

      AMEN!!!!!!! I agree with you 100%!!!!!

      • holly c. mcpherson

        i meant that i agree 100% with the person that titled their comment “israel is u.s.friend”:)

  • AsbiA

    A brave speech from an equally brave American President in years..Viva OBAMA!!!

  • Garth

    Israel is an enigma for the whole world….A country that can’t get along with any of its neighbors, and is incapable of cleaning up its own messes without involving the U.S. and every other free nation. We are hated in that part of the world because of our support for this country. I personally think, let what happens over there happen. Not worth the constant loss of life of our guys, and the idiotic political grand standing that the leaders over there take. We have tried to negotiate peace on behalf of this country over 5 times and each time is a nightmare. Stand on your own two feet, and stop crying to us when something goes wrong. We have got to stop being the worlds cop………



      • Eric

        I love how the anti-Semites and isolationists are reliably sent into a frenzy over anything about Israel.

        So, isolationists — how’d that work out in preventing World War II? Not so good, huh?

        And for the anti-Semites, Israel is our friend because it is the best example of a democracy in the entire Middle East, and does far better at protecting its Arab minority within its pre-1967 borders than any other country in the region does at protecting its minorities!

        Yes, the occupation is wrong, but so too are the repeated attempts at Israel’s destruction (the 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973 wars, anyone? Bueller?) which brought about said occupation in the first place. Israel has shown a willingness to return occupied territory such as the SInai Desert when it gets a real peace in return, as with the Israel-Egypt peace of 1979.

        I’d feel the same way if, for example, Palestine was an Arab majority democracy surrounded by 22 mostly dictatorial Jewish countries all calling for its destruction.

        Israel’s democracy is not perfect anymore than ours is, but it IS better, by any measurable standard, than the way its many enemies run their countries.

        In the end, I think that’s the difference that is most important here, and why support for Israel in this country is so broad and so deep. We can stomach the occasional ugly foreign policy realpolitik of support for despots, but uncomfortably at best — most Americans including President Obama prefer allies such as Israel with whom we feel a strong sense of common commitment to democratic ideals.

  • stephi

    God, please save us from this man. When the muslims in the middle east start acting like human beings and except that there are other religions. They want respect for their religion but they don’t respect other people religion. All the energy they spend on killing people should be put to good use in helping their people.

  • dyinglikeflies

    He said “’67 border with land swaps”. That’s the Olmert plan, the Clinton plan-there’s nothing new here to get crazy about. What is good for Israel is he said Israel does NOT need to “negotiate” with Hamas.

    • researchrants

      Shhhh, don’t confuse them with facts.

  • Average Joe

    U.S. taxpayers give Billion$ and Billion$ to Israel….more than any other country….while unemployment and homeless are at record high.

    • Aviv Rosenthal

      You are a racist and bigot.

      • Mike

        No, we need to stop the insane stream of money to Israel!

      • A disgruntled American

        Uh, no. He’s just stating facts. Israelis (and their apologists) need to stop pulling the anti-Semitism card whenever their actions, which violate international law, are questioned. Our politicians need to stop pandering to AIPAC and the Israeli lobby in the US and stop sending our money to Israel.

  • v

    Actually this is nothing new–Obama is just the latest in choosing oil (because that is what we are really talking about here) or the most expedient way to the oil over the real human rights issue here: Israel must continue to defend itself against violent Arab neighbors.

    • KPMc

      Israel and human rights in the same sentence. Now that’s funny.

  • DanTe

    Nuke them all.
    Let the gods sort them out.

  • T

    Presidenet Obama has once again displayed for the world to see his ignorance of world affairs and the problems in the Middle East in particular. As a citizen fo the United States, I am appalled and ashamed of this administration. We have only one ally in the Middle East, Israel. When we turn our back on Israel, we delve even deeper into the abyss that is called global equality. We as a nation are not like many other countries. We, at least were once, are a nation that recognizes good and evil and stand on the side of good. I am saddened that our president has so little wisdom.

    • oh so wise. eatme.

      Your allegiance as a citizen of US – dual citizenship or not – is to the US and US interests, which in no way shape form benefit from this one-way, $ lobby driven, pushy, relationship.

  • Nazira

    please let me know why christian and churches are being blow up in the middle east by moslems? Muslim countries are racists themselves. Good luck practising any other religion in muslim countries without fear of being killed. They don’t tolerate any other religion but their own. I

  • Rabbi Meyer Abramovitzca

    I have no doubt Obama is a true jew hater.

    • RabbiD

      He aint. But what if he was. Who do you hate. And why does anything in the slightest in disagreement with Israeli policies and behavior lead to an antisemitism charge. This is so offensive to those that actually suffered terribly from the same.

    • Mike

      You bring up a good point…why are there so many Jew haters?! Israel is a spec on the globe, yet there is so much american involvement, and funding. Maybe that is why. Not sure.

    • The 71st rabbi of talmud

      I have no doubt that the palestinians are more jewish than the jews in america and the European Ashkenazim jews that roam israel today. I am palestinian, and I am muslim by tradition, and before we where muslims we were jews. And we know your halacha and your hypocrite ways of life. See the truth, hear the truth and firmly reject the truth is what you are. We even speak better hebrew the right away. As we used to call infidels goyim, The israelis are the goyim, as he declared the children of israel hypocrites scattered amongst the nations for a reason.

      • Rabbi Meyer Abramovitzca

        You may be right, at least the Jews smell much better than you people. Would I rather be a jew or smell like a camels ass? I will stay a jew.

        • KPMc

          Have you been on crowded bus in Borough Park lately? Or shopped on 13th ave in 90 degree summer heat? Those long black coats and excessive hair aren’t exactly conducive to being “summer breeze fresh”

          Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

        • Mike

          Well, there are Jews that smell worse than a camels ass. Ever ride the subway with a Hasidic in august? Wearing the black coats and hats like it is the dead of winter! Just sayin’, gets ripe.

      • Ernest

        Shut oy yaca, haca, lacha, and get back to your shack. Israel is a speck in a sea of desert. THe arabs can have the whole desert, just not Israel.


      • The 71st rabbi of talmud

        I also accept the 1967 borders, most palestinians do. Don’t expecet all palestinians to accept israel is a friend when their husbands, wives and children die and are humiliated every day because 400 settelers in an area surrounded by arabs to be treated kindly. Its unnerving.

        Zionsim is racism. Zionism is being a athiest with the jewish character. So when you goyims finally realize and open your eyes that most palestinians will recognize the 1967 borders we can all live in peace, or you can move back to williamsburgh. Simple as that. No ifs ands or buts. You can beat the arabs 100 times, if you lose 1 more time its over. Take my advice take the 1967 peace accords

  • nathan

    If both sides are mad then its a good solution.

  • Joe

    Well welll well,….the Jew hater has now shown his true colors….

    will the jews in this countery stop supporting this man???

    • Steve

      Ahhh – so any politician that does not agree to be Israel’s poodle must be anti-semitist?

      Bush ’41 had the same problem (but unlike his moron son, at least “he tried” to be impartial).

    • joes electric dreamcoat

      Well well well. You sir are an angry idiot. I think AMERICANS can support who they want and hopefully have the Good Ole USA in mind when expressing themselves.

  • Sam Reiver

    Is Obama going to apologize to Israel? He does to rest of the world for our actions past and present.

    • J

      So going back as far as 170 BCE to the earliest period of Anti-Semitism is probably out of the question, right? The murdering of Jews by Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Babylonians, Arabs, Muslims, Christians, and Nazi’s in excess of over 14 million people is probably not considered right? The fact is, Israel has a right to exist without the input of another country. The West Bank is in Israel, Gaza was Israel until Sharon decided that the Arabs Extremists needed to have the piece of land, and of course Golan Heights is in Israel. These are not arbitrary places; they are all in Israel and belong to Israel. Can you explain why the Arab Nations during the 1946/1947 UN negotiations decided that land offering to Arabs wasn’t adequate? Israel was willing to not have Jerusalem or most of our Holy Sites to appease Arabs; of course those were Zionist negotiating the deal that Arabs rejected unanimously. Then just after the announcement of the Independence, the new country was attacked by 7 Arab Muslim countries. The result was a larger Israel, that being the buffer zone. During the peace negotiations with Jordan the land was offered back to them minus Jerusalem but they wanted nothing but peace. Egypt and the five other countries agreed but were leery, yet Syria was the only country that wanted their land back. Why didn’t Egypt and Jordan want their land back?
      Russia provides just as many weapons to Lebanon and Syria. Why would a country offer citizenship to people that are hell bent on killing that country?



  • Alexander

    eli why do you feel everyone enjoys the home entertainment that you prefer ? Israel should get a a real taste of the arab spring only then will it learn to discuss by sitting across the world.

  • badman

    Obama can do whatever he wants on Israel. What are American Jews gonna do… vote Republican?!

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