US President Barack Obama made the United States look weak when he failed to stand up to Arab tyranny and Iran in his speech to Arabs and Muslims, US critics from the right charged Thursday.
House Republican Minority Leader John Boehner welcomed the president's "thoughtful and optimistic" speech in Cairo but voiced concern about his points on non-Arab Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Even though Israel has a right to defend itself against terrorism, "he seemed to place equal blame on the Israelis and the Palestinians," Boehner told a press conference.
"How he (Obama) can allow, put in the same sentence, put them in the same box, I have concerns about that because Hamas is a terrorist organization that has been funded by the Syrians and the Iranians," he said.
"Where he continues to say he will sit down with the Iranians without any preconditions -- I just think that that puts us in a position where America looks weak in the eyes of their rulers," he said.
Danielle Pletka, writing for the neo-Conservative American Enterprise Institute, called his speech a failure to stand up for US principles of democracy and a "capitulation" to repressive Arab regimes.
Obama's delivery of the speech standing by "a giant picture of Egyptian autocrat Hosni Mubarak ... can be read only as an endorsement of the Arab world as it is -- the rule of the one over the many," Pletka added.
Pletka also accused the president of trafficking in "the moral equivalency that denies right and wrong."
Pletka faults him for equating the "Palestinian pain of dislocation" with the persecution of the Jews even though the entire Arab world rejected the decision 60 years ago to create two homelands for the Jews and Palestinians.
She also lambasts him for equating the "overthrow of the virulently anti-Western Mohammad Mossadeq in 1953 with the hostage taking of the Islamic Revolution in 1979."
Obama, Pletka charged, stooped to "the mindset of the region's leaders" and failed to "acknowledge either America's symbolic importance or to advance our vital national interests."
Liz Cheney, the daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney and former principal deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, also faulted Obama for "moral relativism" on Iran.
"Iran is the largest terrorist sponsoring state," she said.
The president's stand on Iran could be "viewed as weakness" if his push for unconditional talks fail, Cheney said.
Overall, she found "some troubling rhetoric" in his remarks even if she granted that they were "well delivered" and help send a message that the United States is a land of opportunity.
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