Pres. Obama makes his key Middle East speech at Cairo University in Egypt. In his speech, Obama called for a "new beginning between the United States and Muslims," declaring that "this cycle of suspicion and discord must end." (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
In reaching out to the world's one and a half billion Muslims with today's historic speech, it's unclear if President Obama is also pushing away America's long-time ally Israel.
Speaking in Cairo - the president recognized the U.S.'s unbreakable bond with the Jewish state and the horror of the Holocaust, but also talked about the suffering of the Palestinian people. He described their situation as intolerable and stressed the need for a two-state solution.
President Obama called on Palestinians to abandon violence - pointing to America's own civil rights history and saying it was a "peaceful and determined insistence" that brought about equal rights.
And, he once again called on Israel to stop building settlements; and to allow Palestinians to live and work and develop their society. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already rejected President Obama's call for a settlement freeze.
But experts suggest that this demand from Mr. Obama will make Arab leaders listen. They say although the U.S. has been opposed to Israeli settlements for decades, past American presidents have allowed Israel to keep building them. And some believe that if "no" really means "no" this time around, it may be easier to form a regional coalition against Iran.
Speaking of Iran - Mr. Obama repeated his belief today that the Islamic Republic has the right to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes - another statement that is probably not sitting too well with the Israelis.
Finally, for the first time in a long time, a visit to the Middle East by a sitting U.S. president did not include a stop in Israel.
Here’s my question to you: Is Pres. Obama reaching out to Muslims at the expense of America's relationship with Israel?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
If President Obama did anger Israel, so what? Where are they going to turn? We can support the nation of Israel without rubber stamping everything they do. Their treatment of Palestinians enrages the Arab world. We cannot advocate the rights of only some. I agree with our president that Israel must improve its treatment of Palestinians, and I'm glad the pressure of the U.S. is being brought to bear on this human rights issue.
Susan from Medford, Oregon writes:
The president is not pushing the Israelis away. He is demanding that they stop illegal settlements in the land that will become Palestine. If the Israelis are ever to get peace, they must give up the West Bank, and they know it. They too are stuck with a very vocal group of right-wing nut cases who would rather tear down the country than engage in honest negotiations.
To some extent, yes. The reaching-out will be at the expense of Israel, but for far too long this country has acted like Israel was the pillar around which everything Middle East had to be built. Israel has taken that position and our unwavering support for granted and gone too far in many instances over the past several years. Balance needs to be restored and Israel's standing needs to come down a couple of pegs to have any chance of bringing balance and peace to the region.
Mark from Berwyn, Pennsylvania writes:
He'll reach out to Muslims today, but when his re-election nears, he will certainly reach out to Israel. He'll need the Jewish vote. He is your run-of-the-mill politician: he says whatever will get him votes, from whoever is voting. It's the same sad, sorry tune we always hear from our political "leaders". He's nothing special.
Jack, What expense? America has relationships with many countries: some good, some bad. Enough kissing up to Israel already. Move on, please! Muslims are here to stay, let’s work with them.
The U.S. has been reaching out to Israel at the expense of US/Muslim relations since 1967. It's time to reverse the trend.