Tuesday, July 22, 2008

McCain - Barack Obama's Jerusalem Backtrack

Today, as Barack Obama prepared to travel to Israel, he told CBS' Katie Couric that he had never backtracked on the status of Jerusalem. Please find below a statement from Randy Scheunemann, McCain 2008 Senior Foreign Policy Adviser:

"Barack Obama claimed his position that Jerusalem should remain the 'undivided capital' of Israel and his subsequent backtracking 'was no shift in policy' but that he just 'phrased it poorly.' Yet he had stated this policy position before, and presumably at least some of his 300 foreign policy advisers worked on drafting and vetting his speech to AIPAC. Barack Obama's various positions and unconvincing explanations cannot give Israelis or Americans much comfort about his ability to understand and explain, much less lead, on complicated diplomatic issues."

Today, As He Prepared To Travel To Israel, Barack Obama Claimed He Had Never Backtracked On The Status Of Jerusalem.

Barack Obama: "There Was No Shift In Policy Or Backtracking In Policy" Concerning The Status Of Jerusalem.

CBS's Katie Couric: "You said not too long ago that Jerusalem should remain undivided. And then you backtracked on that statement. Does that play into the argument that some believe that someone more experienced would not have made that kind of mistake?"

Obama: "Well, if you look at what happened, there was no shift in policy or backtracking in policy. We just had phrased it poorly in the speech. That has happened and will happen to every politician. You're not always gonna hit your mark in terms of how you phrase your policies. But my policy hasn't changed, and it's been very consistent. It's the same policy that Bill Clinton has put forward, and that says that Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel, that we shouldn't divide it by barbed wire, but that, ultimately that is a final status issue that has to be resolved between the Palestinians and the Israelis." (CBS, Barack Obama Interview With Katie Couric, http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/07/22/eveningnews/main4283623.shtml, 7/22/08)

Yet, After Saying At The Annual AIPAC Policy Conference In June 2008 That Jerusalem Should Be "Undivided," Barack Obama Has Since Backtracked.

At The Annual AIPAC Policy Conference, Barack Obama Says Clearly That Jerusalem Should Be The "Undivided" Capital Of Israel. Obama: "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided." (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks At The Annual AIPAC Policy Conference, Arlington, VA, 6/4/08)

· One Day After The AIPAC Conference, Barack Obama Said The Future Of Jerusalem Would Have To Be Negotiated By Israel And The Palestinians. CNN's Candy Crowley: "I want to ask you about something you said in AIPAC yesterday. You said that Jerusalem must remain undivided. Do Palestinians have no claim to Jerusalem in the future?" Obama: "Well, obviously, it's going to be up to the parties to negotiate a range of these issues." (CNN's "The Situation Room," 6/5/08)

· "Facing Criticism From Palestinians, Sen. Barack Obama Acknowledged Today That The Status Of Jerusalem Will Need To Be Negotiated In Future Peace Talks, Amending A Statement Earlier In The Week That Jerusalem 'Must Remain Undivided.'" (Glenn Kessler, "Obama Clarifies Remarks On Jerusalem," The Washington Post's "The Trail" Blog, www.washingtonpost.com, 6/5/08)

Barack Obama Actually Has A Record Of Saying Jerusalem Should Be "Undivided".

In An American Jewish Committee Election Questionnaire, Barack Obama Said "Jerusalem Will Remain Israel's Capital, And No One Should Want Or Expect It To Be Re-Divided." "The United States cannot dictate the terms of a final status agreement. We should support the parties as they negotiate these difficult issues, but they will have to reach agreements that they can live with. In general terms, clearly Israel must emerge in a final status agreement with secure borders. Jerusalem will remain Israel's capital, and no one should want or expect it to be re-divided." ("Barack Obama Responses," American Jewish Committee, http://www.ajc.org/site/c.ijITI2PHKoG/b.3878133/, Accessed 7/22/08)

In A 2000 Position Paper, Barack Obama Stated That "Jerusalem Should Remain United And Should Be Recognized As Israel's Capital." "Third, he addressed the issue in 2000 in a position paper on Israel as part of his unsuccessful congressional campaign that year. In that paper, he stated, 'Jerusalem should remain united and should be recognized as Israel's capital.'" (Rick Richman, "Obama's Redivided Jerusalem," New York Sun, 7/16/08)

Israeli Papers Have Noticed:

Jerusalem Post: "Obama Backtracks On An Undivided J'Lem"
("Obama Backtracks On An Undivided J'Lem," The Jerusalem Post, 7/15/08)

Jewish Telegraphic Agency: "Obama Backtracks On Undivided Jerusalem."
("Obama Backtracks On Undivided Jerusalem," Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 7/13/08)

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