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Peres: Israel "Is An Island"; Obama Gets Israeli Medal Of Distinction; Is America Obsessed with Murder?

Aired March 21, 2013 - 14:30   ET


SHIMON PERES, PRESIDENT OF ISRAEL: Dear president, you noted in your address today that peace is the greatest hope, I share your vision. Your call to reopen the way for the implementation of the two-state solution agreed by all of us.

As you said, a Jewish state, Israel, an Arab state, Palestine, if I'm not wrong, next year seats our prime minister, he was just re-elected. He opened his address by reiterating his commitment to the two-state solution.

Dear friends, I have seen in my life I have the right to believe that peace is attainable. As you felt today, I know, this is the deep conviction of our people. With our resolve and your support, dear Barack Obama, we shall win and it will happen.

Mr. President, I'm privileged to bestow upon you the medal of distinction. It was recommended by a committee of seven permanent Israeli citizens, headed by our former chief of justice, and includes our former president.

It was my view to be glad to accept their recommendation. You inspired the world with your leadership, from a grateful nation to a very great leader. God bless America. God bless Israel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Thank you, President Peres. I now have the privilege to advise the president of the United States, honorable Barack Obama, to receive the presidential award of distinction from the president of the state of Israel, his Excellency, Shimon Peres.

And now we will begin the conferment ceremony of the presidential award of distinction. Please, be seated. President Obama has been nominated for this award for the following reasons.

Barack Obama served as the 44th president of the United States of America. He was elected to his first term in 2008, capturing the world attention and the heart of the American people.

In 2012, he was elected to a second term. Barack Obama's presidency has been distinguished by his need to lead an ongoing fight for equality in the United States of America and for the promotion of democratic values, human rights, solidarity, and peace all over the world.

In 2009, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his special contribution and efforts to strengthen national diplomacy and cooperation of people. Through his personal story and agenda as president of the United States, Barack Obama served as the beacon of democratic values and exemplifies the spirit of equal opportunity in America, inspiring people all over the world.

During his tenure, President Obama has made a unique and significant contribution to the security of the state of Israel, both through further strengthening the strategic cooperation between the countries and the joint development of technology to defend civilian populations against missiles and terrorism.

The Iran drone system is a prominent example of his cooperation, saving lives of many and ensuring the safety of citizens all over Israel. For these reasons, Shimon Peres, president of the state of Israel, will confirm Barack Obama, president of the United States of America, the highest civilian award of the state of Israel, the presidential medal of distinction.

Ladies and gentlemen, please, raise a glass with the presidents.

To the United States of America and the president of the United States, a great friend of Israel.

Thank you, President Peres, you may now go back to your seat. Just don't drink too much. Now, ladies and gentlemen, I have the honor to invite our guest, the president of the United States of America, Barack Obama, to deliver his remarks.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you so much. President Peres, Prime Minister Netanyahu, first lady Sarah, distinguished guests and friends, this is an extraordinary honor for me, and I could not be more deeply moved.

And I have to say after the incredible welcome I've received over the last two days and the warmth of the Israeli people, the tribute from President Peres, the honor of this medal, I mean, as you say -- now, I'm told that it's taught you shouldn't pronounce all the praises of a person in their presence.

And Mr. President, if I praised all the chapters of your remarkable life, then we would be here all night, so, let me simply say this about our gracious host. Mr. President, the state of Israel has been the cause of your life, through bitter wars and fragile peace, through hardship and prosperity.

You've built her, you've cared for her, you've strengthened her, you've nurtured the next generation, who will inherit her. These giants are left us, only you are with us still. The founding father in our midst, and we are so grateful for your vision, your friendship, but most of all, for your example.

Including the example of your extraordinary vitality every time I see your president, I ask him who his doctor is. We all want to know the secret, so with gratitude for your life and your service, and as you prepare to celebrate your 90th birthday this summer, and since I'm starting to get pretty good at Hebrew, let me propose a toast, even though you've taken away my wine.

Come on. Bring another one. So -- a toast -- that's good wine. We'll just -- actually, you know, we should probably get this out of the photograph. All these people will say I'm having too much fun in Israel, just a few more words, Mr. President.

You mentioned this medal is presented in recognition of progress towards ideals of quality, opportunity, and justice, but I am mindful that I stand here tonight because of so many others, including the example and the sacrifices of the Jewish people, in a few days, as we do, will break and hide a piece of Matzah.

It's a great way to entertain the kids, Malia and Sasha, even though they are getting older, they still enjoy it, and there are lots of good places to hide it in the White House. But on a much deeper level, it speaks to the scope of our human experience, how parts of our lives can be broken, while other parts can be elusive, how we can never give up searching for the things that make us whole.

And few know this better than the Jewish people. After slavery and decades in the wilderness and Moses gone, the future of the Israelites was in doubt, but with Joshua as their guide, they pushed on to victory. After the first temple was destroyed, it seemed Israel was lost, but with courage and resolve, the second temple re-established the Jewish presence.

After centuries of persecution and progress, the Shoah aimed to eliminate the entire Jewish people, but the gates of the camps flew open. There emerged the ultimate rebuke to hate and to ignorance, survivors would live and love again.

When the moment of Israel's independence was met by aggression on all sides, it was unclear whether this nation would survive, but with heroism and sacrifice, the state of Israel not only endured, but thrived. And during six days in June and Yom Kippur one October, it seemed all you had built might be lost, but when the guns fell silent, it was clear the nation of Israel lives.

As I said in my speech earlier today, this story from slavery to salvation, of overcoming even the most overwhelming odds, is a message that's inspired the world. That includes Jewish Americans, but also African-Americans, who have so often had to deal with their own challenges, but with whom you have stood shoulder-to-shoulder.

African-Americans and Jewish-Americans march together at Selman, Montgomery, freedom rides together, bled together, gave their lives together. Jewish-Americans like Michael Goldman alongside African- American James Cheney. Because of their sacrifice, because of the struggle of generations in both our countries, we can come together tonight in freedom and in security.

So, if I can paraphrase the psalm, they turned our mourning into dancing, they changed our sack cloths into robes of joy. This evening, I'd like to close with the words of two leaders who brought us some of these joys, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Keshel was born in Poland and lost his mother and sister to the Nazis. He came to America, he raised his voice for social justice, he marched with Martin Luther King, and he spoke of the state of Israel in words that can well describe the war of equality in America. Our very existence is a witness that man must live toward redemption, he said.

And that history is not always made by man alone. Rabbi Prince was born in Germany, expelled by the Nazis and found refuge in America. He built support for the new state of Israel. And on that August day in 1963, he joined Dr. King at the march on Washington.

And this is what rabbi prince said to the crowd, in the realm of the spirit, our father has taught us thousands of years ago that when god created man, he created him as everybody's neighbor. Neighbor is not a geographic concept, it is a moral concept. It means our collective responsibility for the preservation of man's dignity and integrity.

President Peres, Prime Minister Netanyahu, friends, our very existence, our presence here tonight, is a testament that all things are possible, even those things that in moments of darkness and doubt may seem elusive.

The stories of our peoples teach us to never stop searching for the things that justice and the peace that make us whole, and so as we go forward together with confidence, we'll know that while our countries may be separated by a great ocean, in the realm of the spirit, we will always be neighbors and friends.

I very humbly accept this award, understanding that I'm accepting it on behalf of the American people, who are joined together with you. May God bless you and may He watch over our two great nations. Thank you very much.

LEMON: President of the United States, Barack Obama, receiving the highest award -- highest honor that you can receive in Israel, it is the presidential medal of distinction, receiving that medal from president of Israel, Shimon Peres.

The president of Israel says Mr. Obama received that award because of his friendship with the Israeli people, because of his support for the two-state solution, because of his support for the Iran dome missile defense system, and because of his promotion of peace across the world.

In Mr. Peres' words, culminate in the 2009 Nobel Peace prize. The president joking and saying he's getting much better speaking Yidish and Hebrew and then ending saying "here's to life."

We're back with our "Hot Topics" panel here on CNN in just a moment.


LEMON: All righty, time for the buzz stories here on CNN. For the next 10 minutes, we're going to get into the hot topics of the day. So, with that said, I've got to ask, is America obsessed with murder? Is America obsessed with murder? I think we might be. Here's why I ask. The Jodi Arias trial that's happening right now, she is the woman who viciously killed her ex-boyfriend in what she now says was self defense. Guess what, ratings are soaring at our sister network, HLN, which is showing the trial.

Then the Casey Anthony trial, Anthony was acquitted of killing her 2- year-old daughter. But wasn't America tuned in for the whole thing? I don't know. Many Americans watch forensic files, CSI, one of the most-watched trials in history, remember the O.J. Simpson trial?

And now Fox hopes to cash in on that case with a series called "The Run Of His Life: The People Versus O.J. Simpson." It's based on CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin's book of the same name. The show will go behind the scenes of the trial of the century.

To talk about this now, my crew is back, changes sometimes. Some of the boos weren't here earlier in the week, author and fitness expert, Donna Richardson Joyner. Hello, Donna. Peter Shankman --


LEMON: Peter Shankman, and social media consultant at the Geek Factory, and from the "Dede in the Morning Show," Dede McGuire. Dede, you better behave this time.


LEMON: David Begnaud, host of the social media show "Newsbreaker."


LEMON: Thanks to all of you for hearing that. Dede, I'll start with you. Are we obsessed with murder? Like I said, we're not hating on our sister network, HLN, rising tides lift all boats, but I mean, the ratings are soaring, people are tuning in. Is American obsessed with murder?

MCGUIRE: I think what we're obsessed with is real life. You see even in reality shows. I think we're obsessed with that and what really happens is that you get a chance to look at somebody else's life and think to yourself, my life isn't so bad, right? You know what I mean, you're looking at somebody else, they did that and my gosh, it makes us feel better about our own lives. We go. I'm really not doing so bad, am I? I didn't lose my mind.

LEMON: But Peter, that does seem to be a certain fascination with murder. I remember back in the '90s, I was a novice in news when the whole O.J. Simpson thing started. There were shows that were created around the O.J. Simpson trial, knocked some of the soap operas off the air.

PETER SHANKMAN, BRANDING AND SOCIAL MEDIA CONSULTANT: Yes, I remember sitting in my parents' bed in New York City watching the trial and watching him run, on the phone with my friend, we didn't have Twitter back then. I think we love the immediacy of it. It's the reason we watch car chases, we want to see the crash. We love that as society, it's breaking news, it's hot. And 20-something years later the O.J. Simpson story still fascinates us, both from his slow speed chase, as well as what a lot of people believe to be a huge miscarriage of justice.

LEMON: Well, Donna, you know, you're absolutely right about that, but Donna, we see the trials with these beautiful young women, I mean, O.J. Simpson, obviously, was not a beautiful young woman.

JOYNER: Haven't we had enough of this, though? Even with O.J., that was in 1995, and then it televised for 134 days, but I will confess, if they do the movie and he plays himself, I will definitely tune in because he is a hell of an actor.

LEMON: You said it.

SHANKMAN: We haven't seen enough.

LEMON: Do you agree with Donna, enough is enough, or do you understand the fascination?

DAVID BEGNAUD, HOST, "NEWSBREAKER WITH DAVID BEGNAUD": No. Look at the numbers. HLN's doing a brilliant thing, a mock jury at night. We love a train wreck. She looks good then she goes and allegedly kills her boyfriend. No, we love it. This is not CSI, this is real life. And the numbers show it, people want to see it.

LEMON: All right, OK, Thursday boo crew, stand by. Up next, a top female CEO says women who want to get ahead at work should marry someone 20 years older. This is the smartest woman I know. I'm going to weigh in on this one. Her advice doesn't end there. Mine either. Back in a moment.


LEMON: All right, we're talking trending topics here. The boo crew is back. Guys, remember we were talking about the CEO Sheryl Sandberg telling women to lean in. They need to be more powerful if they want to run Fortune 500 companies.

OK, so now the CEO of Xerox, Ursula Burns, the first African-American female to head up a Fortune 500 company, is saying you know what, if you really want to have it all, ladies, you should go for an older man, marry someone 20 years older than you, 20 years your senior.

She said it half jokingly at an awards dinner on Tuesday, but she said when her husband retired, it gave her room to advance her career. Dede, should we all get older boos?

MCGUIRK: No. As much I'm proud of her, no. Let me say this, I dated a man who was ten years older, and I was ambitious, but I was so bored going up that ladder. Here's the thing, what she's really saying is, get yourself a wife almost is what she's saying. I have a younger husband. Wait, in a life partner, what you need is somebody who's supportive of your dreams and goals. LEMON: I don't know if I buy that. Donna, go ahead.

JOYNER: Look, OK, so that's what happened to my marriage, he was only 13 years older? I'm sorry. It's really not about an age. I think you're looking for someone to --

LEMON: Donna, you're doing quite well for yourself right now.

JOYNER: -- has integrity, good character.

LEMON: Listen, you said -- can I mention your ex's name? Your ex is Tom Joyner, had you married someone 10 years younger than you and didn't have the resources Tom Joyner had, you might not be in the place you are now.

MCGUIRE: Disagree.

JOYNER: You have to understand that I was already with my own business, with my own name, with my own brand. We actually made each other better.

LEMON: Yes, absolutely.

JOYNER: I didn't need him to validate who I was or what my purpose is in life.

LEMON: A man your junior is not going to be where you are in life. Go ahead, David.

MCGUIRE: That's not what she's saying, though.

BEGNAUD: Here's what I think, I think the advice is good. I think the advice is good. I don't know about 20 years, but if you're going to get paid at that level, you have to have someone with the patience, love, and understanding to stand with you and stand alongside of you. I've dated older. Let me tell you, it's good.

LEMON: It is good. When you date younger, you get tired of paying for everything.


LEMON: Go ahead, Peter.

JOYNER: You're wrong, Don. You're wrong.

SHANKMAN: I'll say this, I asked my wife about this, this morning, my wife is younger than me. She said there is a definite level, we both work, work hard, off course, she also ended it with it doesn't matter how much older you are than me. You're still the most immature person I know. No matter what you do, you can't win.

MCGUIRE: It's not about the age, it's about your morals, values, and most important for me, personally speaking, that person has to have a relationship with God. LEMON: Thank you very much, David, better morals, bigger bank account, and as my mom always told me, my mom says, marry for love the first time, but marry for money the second time and you'll be happier the second time around. You can learn to love them.

SHANKMAN: Wow. Your mom's awesome. Thank you.

LEMON: All right, Dede McGuire, thank you.

SHANKMAN: Old is better.

LEMON: I agree. Donna Richardson Joyner, Peter Shankman, and David Begnaud, thank you very much, I appreciate it.

Live during this show, a man convicted of killing a rabbi could walk free, and prosecutors say it's the right move.

More than 30 years after it launched, the "Voyager" is close to leaving the solar system.

Plus, an NBA rookie suffers from a fear of flying and anxiety. But he says the NBA doesn't support mental illness. He joins me live.