Biden's belligerent bluster
By Michael Freund
The Jerusalem Post
April 21, 2016
Over much of the past decade, US Vice President Joe Biden has made a name for himself as one of the most gaffe-prone American politicians in recent memory.
His habitual howlers and frequent missteps, such as when he called on a wheelchair-bound Missouri state senator to stand up at a rally, insisted that "jobs" was a three-letter word and couldn't recall his running-mate Barack Obama's last name, have become the stuff of political legend.
Indeed, everyone from Time magazine to the UK's Daily Telegraph have compiled competing lists of Biden's biggest blunders, and there are undoubtedly many late-night television comedy hosts who thank the good Lord for providing them with such a consistent source of material.
But in an address on Monday evening in Washington, Biden's latest bungle was anything but funny.
Speaking to the far-left J Street organization, the vice president launched into a blistering public tirade against Israel barely a few hours after a No. 12 bus in Jerusalem exploded.
Even as doctors were battling to save the lives of a number of the attack's victims, and the smoldering shell of the vehicle was still being inspected by Israeli security forces, Biden chose to berate the Jewish state in a manner no other American ally is treated.
"I firmly believe that the actions that Israel's government has taken over the past several years – the steady and systematic expansion of settlements, the legalization of outposts, land seizures – they're moving us and more importantly they're moving Israel in the wrong direction," Biden said, sounding like he was reciting talking points prepared by the Palestinian Authority.
Israel, he insisted, is creating a reality that is "dangerous," and he pointedly stated that the Obama administration feels an "overwhelming frustration with the Israeli government."
"We have an overwhelming obligation, notwithstanding our sometimes overwhelming frustration with the Israeli government, to push them as hard as we can toward what they know in their gut is the only ultimate solution, a two-state solution, while at the same time be an absolute guarantor of their security," the vice president said.
And as if all that wasn't enough, Biden even chose to interfere in Israel's internal politics, singling out for praise a left-wing Knesset member and telling her, "May your views begin to once again become the majority opinion in the Knesset."
Well, Joe, since you mentioned the issue of frustration, let me share with you a bit of Israel's own exasperation with you and your boss.
How dare the vice president of the United States speak in such terms to its only true and reliable partner in the Middle East, particularly at a time when the Jewish state has been enduring an unprecedented string of stabbings and shootings.
Israelis don't need to be lectured by a former politico from Delaware whose judgment on foreign affairs has been dubious at best.
Just ask Robert Gates, who served as Obama's secretary of defense. Two years ago, Gates published a memoir in which he said regarding Biden that, "I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades."
That is a pretty impressive track record, and it appears that Biden is looking to extend it into a fifth His assertion that Israel needs to be "pushed" as hard as possible is both patronizing and profoundly undemocratic, and his contention that he is able to peer into Israelis' "gut" and know what they truly want is condescending and demeaning.
What Israelis want is expressed at the ballot box, most recently 13 months ago, when they once again soundly rejected the Left and its proposed two-state solution.
But that doesn't faze Biden, and for him to brazenly express the hope that the Labor Party (aka Zionist Union) should become the majority in the Knesset is scandalous in the extreme.
Does anyone recall him voicing a preference as to who should control the British Parliament, the French National Assembly or the Australian House of Representatives? Of course not, because to do so would be considered inappropriate.
The fact that Biden feels free to do just that in Israel's case, even as he unreservedly hurls belligerent bluster at Jerusalem, speaks volumes about the haughtiness that characterizes the administration in which he serves.
Perhaps realizing that he had gone too far, Biden made sure to tell his audience that, "No matter what political disagreements we have with Israel – and we do have political disagreements now – there is never any question about our commitment to Israel's security."
Well, Joe, guess what: your treatment of the Jewish state indicates otherwise.
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