Addressing the 2012 Rabbinical Assembly Convention in Atlanta, GA, Vice President Joe Biden set the record straight on the Obama Administration’s record on Israel, asserting that “no president since Harry Truman has done more for Israel’s physical security than Barack Obama.” After speaking about the Administration’s support for Israel, Biden went on to laud the effectiveness of the multilateral sanctions leveled against Iran because of its nuclear weapons program. Click here or on the video box below to watch the speech. Scroll underneath for highlights.
Discussing the threat posed by the Iranian quest for nuclear weapons, ABC News’s Jake Tapper wrote:
‘We will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon by whatever means we need, period,’ the vice president said, pausing dramatically. ‘Period,’ he repeated.
He recalled a private one-on-one conversation with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, saying, ‘I made it clear to him, and I want to make it clear to all of you unambiguously. I told him then…‘Were I an Israeli, were I a Jew, I would not contract out my security to anybody, even a loyal, loyal, loyal friend like the U.S.’ I made it clear that the President and me - for our administration - that if Israel reached the conclusion based on the facts as they can best determine them that Iran was on the verge of eliminating their ability to respond physically to set that program back two to five years, I understood.’
He continued: ‘We were not telling him or Israel what they could or could not do, because again, I told him I would not contract out my nation’s security, and clearly, clearly no Jewish state should ever assume that history’s changed so fundamentally that they would do that.’
That said, the U.S. and Israeli government’s share ‘the same assessment that Iran does not have that capacity, and that it is some distance away, and that we need to be exceedingly vigilant in monitoring their program and sharing information… The bottom line is Ehud and I agreed that there remains space for diplomacy.’
The vice president said that internally in Iran, there is great ‘palpable’ dissension between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. ‘They will not both be around two years from now, and my bet is Ahmadinejad is gone,’ Mr. Biden predicted.
‘I’ll forgive you if you think I’m just obviously prejudiced about the guy I work with,’ the vice president said, ‘but you don’t have to take my word for this. Bibi Netanyahu has rightly said that our security cooperation with Israel, as he refers to it, is unprecedented, and as importantly these efforts have not gone unnoticed by our Israeli opponents, which brings me to Iran.’
During the speech, Biden pointed out that Obama has stood by Israel’s side time and time again. Byron Tau of Politico wrote:
Biden said that while Israel has been struggling for its physical survival for a long time, the latest tactic is to try to de-legitimize Israel at the international level - like U.N. fact-finding missions and Palestinian attempts to win recognition.
‘The president has been a bulwark against those efforts,’ Biden said.
‘American support for Israel’s security is not just an act of friendship ... it’s in the fundamental national interest of the United States,’ Biden said, calling Israel ‘a democracy for all its failings, all its shortcomings ... Just as ours.’...
Ultimately, Biden sought to connect to supporters and friends of Israel on a gut level, emphasizing his deep ties to Israeli politicians and his long history of involvement with the Jewish state.
‘I want you all to realize that you need not be a Jew to be a Zionist,’ Biden said.
Biden also discussed his long personal history with Israel, Tapper wrote:
The vice president began his remarks by asking for a moment of silence ‘to honor the passing of Benzion Netanyahu, a historian, an activist, a steadfast defender of the state of Israel, and of course the father of Bibi, a friend for mine for the last 40 years.’ He recalled the beginning of the Obama-Biden campaign in 2008 when he told voters in South Florida that he would never be No. 2 to a ‘president that did not share my view on Israel, which begins in your gut, works through your heart, and then gets to your head.’
Mr. Biden spoke about how his father was befuddled as to why in World War II the U.S. didn’t bomb the train tracks on the way to concentration camps, he recalled sitting with then-Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir as she chain-smoked and flip maps while talking about the Six Day War, he talked about how President Obama had fought the ‘insidious’ efforts to question the legitimacy of Israel.
Biden also used his appearance to jab at the Romney-Ryan Republican budget by noting that Jewish and Catholic organizations have sharply criticized the plan. Tau wrote:
And while the speech focused mostly on assuring wary Jewish supporters of the administration’s commitment to Israel, Biden did manage a dig at Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s House Republican budget, calling it ‘contrary to the doctrine you teach and the doctrine my church teaches.’
You can read the entire ABC news article here.
The entire Politico article can be found by clicking here.
Click here to get the facts on the Obama Administration’s support for Israel.
Click here to read more about the Obama Administration’s efforts to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
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