Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

Obama: I Won’t Stand for Delegitimization of Israel

President Obama said he would not countenance Israel’s delegitimization and called on the world community to back Israeli-Palestinian peace with deeds and not just words.

“Many in this hall count themselves as friends of the Palestinians. But these pledges must now be supported by deeds,” President Obama said Thursday, addressing the opening of the United Nations General Assembly session.

“Those who have signed on to the Arab Peace Initiative should seize this opportunity to make it real by taking tangible steps toward the normalization that it promises Israel,” he said, referring to the 2003 Saudi-sponsored plan which would offer Israel comprehensive peace in return for its withdrawal to 1967 borders.

“Those who speak out for Palestinian self-government should help the Palestinian Authority politically and financially, and – in so doing – help the Palestinians build the institutions of their state,” Obama said. “And those who long to see an independent Palestine rise must stop trying to tear Israel down.”

The Obama administration has made increased Arab support for the peace process a central plank of its efforts to arrive at a deal within a year, and Hillary Rodham Clinton, the secretary of state, has been making the case in one-on-one meetings with Arab leaders at the U.N.’s annual signature event.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that efforts to delegitimize Israel are a major obstacle to peace, and Obama made it clear he too adopted this view.

“After sixty years in the community of nations, Israel’s existence must not be a subject for debate,” he said. “Israel is a sovereign state, and the historic homeland of the Jewish people. It should be clear to all that efforts to chip away at Israel’s legitimacy will only be met by the unshakeable opposition of the United States.”

Obama praised the courage of Netanyahu and Abbas, devoting a third of his prepared speech to the topic.

He repeated a call on Netanyahu to extend beyond next week the ten-month partial settlement freeze which helped bring Abbas to the talks.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.