Obama Gives Final Burial to 'Undivided Jerusalem' Statement
Obama Gives Final Burial to 'Undivided Jerusalem' Statement

Barack Obama, the Democratic party's nominee for U.S. President, retracted the statement he made at the AIPAC Convention in June, about the need for Jerusalem to remain Israel's undivided capital. Obama had already qualified the statement the day after he made it, but in a new CNN interview he effectively retracted it, blaming "poor phrasing" and careless syntax.

Comments on Jerusalem begin at 6:30 minute mark in above video. Can't see player, click here.

Interviewer Fareed Zakaria asked: "One area where you're outside the international consensus -- and certainly, perhaps, some others -- is the statement you made in a recent speech supporting Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel. Now, why not support the Clinton plan, which e

"It is an example of us making sure that we are careful in terms of our syntax."

nvisions a divided Jerusalem, the Arab half being the capital of a Palestinian state, the Jewish half being the capital of the Jewish state?"

Obama replied: "You know, the truth is that this was an example where we had some poor phrasing in the speech. And we immediately tried to correct the interpretation that was given.

"The point we were simply making was, is that we don't want barbed wire running through Jerusalem, similar to the way it was prior to the '67 war, that it is possible for us to create a Jerusalem that is cohesive and coherent.

Sin of syntax

"I was not trying to predetermine what are essentially final status issues. I think the Clinton formulation provides a starting point for discussions between the parties.

"And it is an example of us making sure that we are careful in terms of our syntax. But the intention was never to move away from that basic, core idea that they -- that those parties are going to have to negotiate these issues on their own, with the strong engagement of the United States.

"And if you look at the overall tenor of that speech and what I've said historically about this issue, you know, Israel has an interest not just in bunkering down. They've got to recognize that their long-term viability as a Jewish state is going to depend on their ability to create peace with their neighbors."

In the same speech to AIPAC, Obama said that he would never compromise on Israel's security and promised: "I will do everything in my power – everything – to ensure that Iran does not achieve a nuclear weapon."

See video below of Obama's original statement.

Cartoon controversy

Besides dealing with the left-wing's criticism of Obama's "united Jerusalem" statement, the Obama campaign was riled this week by the cartoon on the cover of the latest New Yorker magazine. The cartoon depicts Obama in Muslim garb and headdress, giving a fist-bumping handshake to his wife Michelle who is dressed in camouflage clothes with an AK-47 and ammo-belt slung over her shoulder. They are shown standing in the presidential Oval Office beneath a portrait of Osama bin Laden while the American flag burns in the fireplace.

The magazine issued a press release saying that the cartoon "satirizes the use of scare tactics and misinformation in the presidential election to derail Barack Obama’s campaign.” However, Obama's campaign said that while the intention may have been satirical, "most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree."