Republican presidential contender Rick Perry took aim at President Barack Obama's policies in the Middle East Tuesday, capitalizing on discontent in New York's Jewish community. NY1’s Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
Texas Governor Rick Perry told a New York crowd of staunch Israel supporters Tuesday that he's on their side.
"The people of Israel and the people of this world will never question where I stand when it comes to Israel,” said Perry.
Orthodox Jewish leaders in the New York area helped organize the event in response to a possible vote by the United Nations to recognize Palestinian statehood.
"The Obama administration and their Middle East policy of appeasement has encouraged such an ominous act of bad faith,” said Perry.
The president's defenders say it's easy to throw around the word “appeasement” but that there's no evidence of it.
Obama spent the day meeting with foreign dignitaries in the city, sitting down with Afghan President Hamid Kharzai and members of the new transitional government in Libya.
"We will now stand with you in your struggle to realize the peace and prosperity that freedom can bring,” said Obama.
Behind the scenes, the president is pushing to prevent a UN vote on Palestinian statehood, but he’s expected to have the US Mission veto any such recognition if it occurs.
Obama supporters in the Jewish community say his administration has demonstrated unprecedented support for Israel.
Those supporters were not apparent in the room earlier Tuesday.
"I hope you will tell the people of Israel that help is on the way," said Perry.
The Republican Presidential hopeful stood with two members of the Israeli Knesset and with freshman Congressman Bob Turner, who made Obama's Middle East policies a major issue in his special election this month.
Perry and Obama both say Palestinian leaders must affirm Israel's right to exist and renounce terrorism while the Texas Republican announced that Jerusalem should be united under Israeli rule and that Israel should build settlements where it wants.
"As an American and as a Christian, I am going to stand with Israel," said Perry.
President Obama had called for a settlement freeze in order to resume peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis.
A Jewish leader who the Obama campaign referred NY1 to said opponents are using Israel as a wedge issue and completely misrepresenting the president's record.