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In NYC, Perry criticizes Obama on Israel

Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry criticizes President Obama’s foreign policy while affirming his support for Israel.

In his first major foray into foreign-policy specifics, Texas Gov. Rick Perry today blasted the Obama administration's "policy of appeasement" towards Palestine, and he assured Israelis that "help is on the way" in the decades-long conflict in the region.

Surrounded by Jewish leaders -- as well as newly minted GOP Rep. Bob Turner, who won last week's special congressional election in New York -- Perry derided the White House's Middle East policy as "naïve and arrogant, misguided and dangerous" and repeatedly lambasted President Obama's position that the 1967 borders established between Israel and Palestine, with land swaps, be the starting point for further peace negotiations.

"The people of Israel and the people of this world will never question where I stand when it comes to Israel," Perry declared to applause at a press conference in New York City.

Borrowing a line made famous by then-presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, Perry added, "I hope that you tell the people of Israel that help is on the way."

During the press conference, which came as the United Nations considers Palestinian leaders' bid to be formally recognized by the international body, Perry said that he supports the continued building of Israeli settlements and that he advocates for a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Asked about whether he views support of Israel as a "theological" matter, Perry noted the strong alliance between that nation and the United States before adding: "I also, as a Christian, have a clear directive to support Israel."

Perry has recently faced criticism for appearing uninformed or offering muddled statements on Middle East policy. In a Time magazine article published earlier this month, Perry suggested that Palestinian leaders must recognize Israel's right to exist -- an agreement already made in the Oslo Accords of 1993.

*** UPDATE *** NBC's Justin Kirschner has more on today's event:

Also in attendance and standing behind Perry -- in addition to Turner -- were New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Democrat; and a Likud Party member of the Knesset, Danny Danon.
 
Turner, dubbing himself the "messenger from the 9th Congressional District," blasted the Obama administration, saying, "They have been vacillating and at times hostile to Israel, and that is not acceptable." Turner also agreed with Perry's statement that the U.S. should consider pulling its funding from the United Nations if the Palestinian vote goes through, saying to NBC News that removing funding "should be a weapon at our disposal."

Hikind went a step further, saying that U.S. funding for the U.N. should be completely cut. He added, "I don't know what they succeed at doing."
 
Danon, the only Israeli to speak at Perry's press conference, pre-butted the assumed passage of the General Assembly resolution, saying that recognition of the Palestinians at the U.N. would merely make them "a Facebook nation."