In a speech at the U.N. this morning, President Obama made it very clear that the United States — specifically, his administration — does not support the Palestinian effort to achieve recognition as a sovereign state at the United Nations. He’s pledged to veto any such resolution, but today asked the General Assembly to not even bring it to a vote. “I am convinced that there is no shortcut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades. Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the U.N.— if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now.” Instead, the president emphasized that direct Israeli–Palestinian negotiations are the only way forward.
The president may have evenhandedly name-checked both Israel and Palestine, but it was the “friend of Israel” bit that was most vital politically right now. His speech came close on the heels of Rick Perry’s Jewish outreach effort in New York yesterday, where the Texas governor repeated the word appeasement in relation to Obama’s Israel policy — it’s a word that sets many Jewish voters on edge, of course, and (as John Heilemann explored in this week’s cover story) now’s not a great time to further alienate that particular demographic. Obama’s speech, naturally, not only didn’t even glance in the direction of the word appeasement, but was pitched (nearly explicitly) to counteract the perception that Perry’s promoting. Still, Jewish voters weren’t the only group Obama was concerned with nodding to. The Times reports:
That’s true, of course; and as we get closer and closer to 2012, Obama is putting Obamian interests at a very close second.
Related: The Tsuris [NYM]
Earlier: Rick Perry Schmoozes Jewish Leaders in New York
Obama, at U.N., Explains Rationale for Opposing Palestinian Statehood Bid [NYT]
Transcript of Obama’s Remarks to the U.N. General Assembly [WSJ]