Obama's Jerusalem Speech 'Offensive,' Say Some in Knesset

Friday, 22 Mar 2013 02:07 PM

By Michael Mullins

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President Barack Obama's speech on Thursday to more than 1,000 Israeli students in Jerusalem was not well received by several Knesset members who objected to its tone toward Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and how it characterized the Middle East peace process.

In his speech, Obama told the nation's youth to encourage its political leaders to "take risks" for peace.

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"Political leaders will never take risks if the people do not push them to take some risks. You must create the change that you want to see. Ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things," he said. "That’s where peace begins — not just in the plans of leaders, but in the hearts of people."

Knesset Member Miri Regev, who belongs to Netanyahu’s Likud-Beiteinu party, called Obama’s speech "offensive to Netanyahu," The Blaze reported.

"I was surprised by his words about a Palestinian state, that he didn’t mention the word 'Jerusalem' and that he said, 'Leaders must bring peace,' as if Netanyahu doesn’t want peace," she said.

Regev also criticized that the president's speech was geared toward left-wing students, saying that Obama should not have "gone over their heads."

"I thought Obama arrived with a greater understanding of the diplomatic process between us and the Palestinians, but I see that he hasn’t changed his stances, not about settlement construction and not about two states for two nations, and decided that the young people must influence their leaders to put public pressure on the government so it will implement [Obama’s] agenda," Regev said.

Likud lawmaker Moshe Feiglin agreed with Regev, describing Obama’s speech as "a lot of filth."

Others say Obama promoted the Palestinian state too much.

"A Palestinian state is not the right way. The time has come for new ideas and creativity to solve the Middle East conflict," Israeli Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett said. "Anyway, a nation does not occupy its own land."

Not all Israeli politicians agreed with Bennett.

Tzipi Livni, justice minister of the Hatnua party, an Israeli liberal party, described Obama's address as "important and inspiring."

"It is our job to implement our Zionist vision as is reflected in his eloquent words for the young people of Israel – those who were in the Convention Center and those at home," Livni said.

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Related links:

Obama Tries Schmoozing in the Holy Land

Obama Winds up Israel Trip With Visits to Symbolic Sites

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