Candidate Biden: U.S., Israel Joined at the Hip
|Saturday, September 13,2008 11:40|
|By Aaron Passman , jewishhexponent.com|
America"s security is directly tied to Israel"s, said U.S. Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) last Friday during a stop in Philadelphia. The Democratic candidate for vice president was in the region for various campaign-related events, some dealing with the economy. But, during a break in the proceedings, he spoke in an interview specifically about
Biden said that, if he and Barack Obama were elected, their administration"s first step in advancing the Israeli peace process would be to "regain the respect of the world -- so the rest of the world follows us in defending
He had harsh words for President George W. Bush and his policies toward the
He said that a lack of support for Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas had left Fatah without any legitimate way to lure its constituency back from Hamas and get the peace process moving again.
Regarding a possible Israeli strike on
He said current policies had put
"There is a myth going around that somehow the Bush policies strengthened
"We need a policy that"s not only born out of a desire to help
"I"ve been around a long, long time," he said. "I"m tired of people in
"We don"t want to have any enemies with the Arab states; we will treat them fairly, and we will do what we can to be a fair agent of change. But the idea that we are "evenhanded" -- meaning that we make no distinction between
Earlier in the week, Biden participated in a 20-minute conference call with members of the Jewish media, and the senator ignited a minor media firestorm regarding the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which he said "does not speak for the entire American Jewish community," adding that there are other organizations just as strong and as consequential.
He said that AIPAC "does not speak for the state of
The senator"s words came as the Republican Jewish Coalition has been distributing press releases that point out those times when Biden has diverged on issues from the influential lobbying group.
"I will take a back seat to no one -- let me say it again, no one -- in AIPAC or any other organization, in terms of questioning my support for the state of Israel."
AIPAC subsequently released a statement in support of the senator, calling him a strong backer of U.S.-Israeli ties, and a "leader in the fight against Palestinian terrorism." The statement said the group looked forward to continuing to work with Biden, whether in the Senate or the White House.