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ISRAEL: Bush thrills Israelis, angers Obama

May 15, 2008 |  3:29 pm

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President Bush received several rousing standing ovations during his speech Thursday to the Israeli Knesset.

Not everyone was quite  as enthused.

Several Arab Knesset members staged a walkout before the speech, and one Palestinian activist angrily dubbed his speech "a love fest" for the Jewish state.

To be honest, there was a lot of love in the air between Bush and his Israeli hosts.

Stating that President Harry Truman recognized the new Jewish state 11 minutes after David Ben-Gurion’s declaration of independence, Bush said, “Israel's population may be just over 7 million. But when you confront terror and evil, you are 307 million strong, because America stands with you.”

Bush's speech also caused waves back in the U.S.

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama angrily responded to what he contended  was an unfair swipe at him by Bush. In a not-so-veiled shot at Obama's stated willingness to negotiate with Iran, Bush mocked what he called "the false comfort of appeasement" and said:

"Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along.  We have heard this foolish delusion before."

White House officials denied the remark was directed at any one person, but Obama fired back within hours, accusing Bush of distorting his position and employing "the politics of fear."

—Ashraf Khalil in Jerusalem

Photo: George and Laura Bush. Credit: Agencia Brasil

P.S. The Los Angeles Times issues a free daily newsletter with the latest headlines from the Middle East, the war in Iraq and the frictions between the West and Islam. You can subscribe by registering at the website here, logging in here and clicking on the World: Mideast newsletter box here.

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