Obama tells Muslims: Don’t vilify Israel

WASHINGTON (JTA) – President Barack Obama urged Turkish students to help overcome the tendency in the Muslim world to blame Israel.

Obama told university students at a round table in Istanbul on Tuesday that he was committed to bringing about an Israeli Palestinian peace, whatever the difficulties, and appreciated Turkey’s role in helping to broker such a peace.

"It will depend on young people like you being open to new ideas and new possibilities," he said. "And it will require young people like you never to stereotype or assume the worst about other people. In the Muslim world, this notion that somehow everything is the fault of the Israelis lacks balance — because there’s two sides to every question. That doesn’t mean that sometimes one side has done something wrong and should not be condemned. But it does mean there’s always two sides to an issue.

"I say the same thing to my Jewish friends, which is you have to see the perspective of the Palestinians," Obama continued. "Learning to stand in somebody else’s shoes to see through their eyes, that’s how peace begins. And it’s up to you to make that happen."

Obama later made a surprise visit to U.S. troops in Iraq.

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