Sen. Joe Biden - 2008 U.S. Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidate
"... Senator Biden is a strong supporter of Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship, and has longstanding, close ties to AIPAC and the pro-Israel community"
"... he also revealed a Jewish connection"
"I am a Zionist"
A collection of articles from the Jewish and Israeli Press
Senator Joe Biden, who first was a Democratic Presidential Candidate in the US 2008 election race, has been chosen by Democrat Barack Obama as his candidate for Vice President. Joe Biden has a long record of support for the Apartheid state of Israel.
In this section we reproduce articles mainly from the Jewish and Israeli Press, quoting mr. Biden and the Jews´ opinions on him. As the material is quite massive, underlines to some key paragraphs and quotes have been added by Radio Islam. If we have deleted some section of text from the original (due to not being sufficiently interesting), this is indicated by: [...] .
The Jerusalem Post, Sep 4, 2008
Biden backs Israel, criticizes AIPAC
By Hilary Leila Krieger
Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden said Wednesday that Israel should be able to take whatever action it feels necessary to defend itself from Iran, pressing his Israel credentials even as he lashed out at AIPAC and those who have criticized his record toward the Jewish state.
"Israel has an absolute right to defend itself. It doesn't have to ask us," Biden, a Delaware senator and Barack Obama's running mate, said in response to a question from The Jerusalem Post during a conference call with Jewish media.
Biden was in Florida stumping for Jewish votes while the Republican National Convention took place in this Midwestern city. Meanwhile, Sarah Palin, who was set to accept the nomination to be the GOP vice presidential candidate after press time Wednesday, visited with AIPAC members here to reassure them of her commitment to Israel.
Recent reports from Washington have suggested that some members of the Bush administration were urging Israel not to attack Iran over its growing nuclear program. When asked whether an Obama administration would support Israel if it felt such action was necessary, Biden said, "It's not a question for us to tell Israel what they can and cannot do."
Biden also harshly criticized those who have suggested he has an inconsistent record on Israel. The Republican Jewish Coalition has been broadcasting votes and resolutions in Congress that Biden did not support despite being backed in many cases by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
"They think they know the Senate better than I do. They don't know the Senate better than I do," he said.
Biden lashed out at those who would impugn his Israel credentials, saying, "I take a backseat to no one - including AIPAC - when it comes to supporting Israel."
"They don't speak for the entire Jewish community. There are other organizations that are just as strong and consequential," he said. "AIPAC does not speak for the State of Israel."
Biden pointed out that he had supported Israel in cases when it wasn't always popular - like defending its right to use cluster bombs in the 1980s - and that he has been recognized by many Jewish organizations for his support for the Jewish State.
"Joe Biden is a strong supporter of the US-Israel relationship," said AIPAC spokesman Josh Block in response to Biden's statements.
"He's been a staunch supporter of US aid to Israel, a leader in the fight against Palestinian terrorism and is a vocal advocate of the special relationship between the two democracies," he continued. "We look forward to continuing to work with him in the Senate or the White House," should he win.
"Barack Obama and Joe Biden have both enjoyed close and effective cooperation with AIPAC over many years, grounded in their respect for its important mission to support Israel''s security and a strong US-Israel relationship," Obama spokeswoman Wendy Morigi said in a statement released later Wednesday.
"That is a mission they share, and they look forward to continuing to work closely with AIPAC on their common goals."
In the conference hall, Biden stressed that he and AIPAC shared the same goals but that differences on "tactics" had led him to not sign on to certain measures the Israel lobby has supported, such as the Kyl-Lieberman amendment to designate the Iran Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization.
Biden described the group as a terrorist organization but said his opposition to the measure on the grounds that the Bush administration already had the authority to make such a designation, and that he was concerned backing the text would be interpreted by the White House as enabling a military confrontation with Iran.
"This opened the door to an attack on Iran at a time when we were bogged down in Iraq," he explained. " I wasn't about to give them a pretext to go to war."
Tougher sanctions and more engagement is needed in the effort to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, Biden said. At the same time, he argued that some of the rhetoric used against Iran wasn't helpful.
"We have to stop making Iran into this 12-foot giant they are not," he said, adding that the more they were portrayed as such, "the more that we undercut our own self-interest."
He also stated that an Obama administration would strive to be a "catalyst" for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and would not oppose negotiations with Syria as the Bush administration had. He also urged a tougher line with Saudi Arabia, saying that if his party wins the presidential election, the kingdom would be pressured to take overt steps toward Israel.
Those familiar with the closed-door meeting Palin held with AIPAC on Tuesday expressed satisfaction with the support and affection Palin had expressed for the Jewish state. The more than 30-minute meeting took place here amid her efforts to draft the speech which will introduce her to much of the American public, who like many in the pro-Israel community knew little about the Alaskan governor when she was tapped last week to be John McCain's running mate.
Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut), who endorsed McCain at the GOP convention Tuesday night despite having been the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2000, also participated in Palin's meeting with AIPAC.
"We had a good, productive discussion on the importance of the US-Israel relationship, and we were pleased that Governor Palin expressed her deep personal commitment to the safety and well-being of Israel," Block said. "Now that both the Democrats and the Republicans have determined their respective tickets, AIPAC is pleased that the parties have selected four pro-Israel candidates. In doing so, they have reaffirmed the broad, bipartisan support that exists in our country for a strong US-Israel relationship."
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Sep 3, 2008
Biden on the line: Israel needs to decide on Iran, AIPAC does not represent the entire Jewish community
By Ami Eden
Joe Biden had a 20-minute conference call with members of the Jewish media today.
Among other things, when asked about a possible Israeli attack against Iran, he said: This is not a question for us to tell the Israelis what they can and cannot do. I have faith in the democracy of Israel. His overall argument was that on a host of issues from Israeli-Palestinian talks to Syria to Iran the Bush administration should have done a better job diplomatically and should have been more respectful of Israels autonomy.
But the spiciest moment came when JTAs Ron Kampeas asked him about the Republican Jewish Coalitions efforts to highlight times when he broke with AIPAC on specific issues. AIPAC does not speak for the entire American Jewish community, Biden said. Theres other organizations as strong and as consequential. Biden quickly added that his disagreements with AIPAC are always tactical, never about the big picture. Still, its not the boilerplate stuff that you usually get from senators when you ask about the pro-Israel lobby.
UPDATE: AIPAC spokesman Josh Block called in this response to our blog post: Joe Biden is a strong supporter of the U.S.-Israel relationship; he has been a staunch supporter of U.S. aid to Israel; he is a leader in the fight against Palestinian terrorism, and is a vocal advocate of the special relationship between the two democracies. We look forward to continuing to work with him in the Senate or in the White House.
UPDATE II: Its worth noting that the right-leaning Jewish groups most critical of the Obama campaign are themselves quite willing to break ranks with AIPAC and challenge the notion that it in someway speaks for the Jewish community as a whole (the Zionist Organization of America, for example). And to the hard-working press release writers at the RJC, before you fire one off here wasnt it one of your major backers Sheldon Adelson who publicly rebuked AIPAC last year for joining Israel in lobbying for U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority?
UPDATE III: And now Obama campaign spokeswoman Wendy Morigi: Barack Obama and Joe Biden have both enjoyed close and effective cooperation with AIPAC over many years, grounded in their respect for its important mission to support Israels security and a strong U.S.-Israel relationship. That is a mission they share, and they look forward to continuing to work closely with AIPAC on their common goals.
The Jewish Journal, September 3, 2008
Joe Biden: AIPAC doesnt speak for all Jews
Joe Biden pledged to respect Israels autonomy, but defended his willingnes to oppose some AIPAC-backed measures.
In a 20-minute conference call Wednesday with members of the Jewish media, Biden said it was up to the Israelis to make decisions about war and peace, including the question of whether to launch a strike aimed at disrupting Irans nuclear program.
This is not a question for us to tell the Israelis what they can and cannot do, said the Democratic vice presidential candidate said. I have faith in the democracy of Israel. They will arrive at the right decision that they view as being in their own interests.
That said, Biden added, the Bush administration could have done much more on the diplomatic front to help avert the potential need for military action. He also accused the White House of not doing enough to promote Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and faulted it for reportedly ordering Jerusalem not to engage in talks with Syria.
Even as he pledged to respect Israels decisions on peace and security, Biden vigorously defended his record of occasionally breaking ranks with the pro-Israel lobby.
AIPAC does not speak for the entire American Jewish community, Biden said. Theres other organizations as strong and as consequential.
Despite any occasional claims to the contrary, AIPAC does not speak for Israel, the longtime Delaware senator added.
Biden made a point of stressing that he and the organization agreed on the fundamentals.
Ive never disagreed with AIPAC on the objective, Biden said. Whenever Ive had disagreement with AIPAC it has always been a tactical disagreement, not a substantive disagreement.
Biden then addressed his opposition last year to an amendment sponsored by U.S. Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Kyl (R-Ariz.), and heavily backed by AIPAC, that called on the Bush administration to declare the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps a terrorist group.
During the conference call, Biden stressed that he shared the view that the Iranian group is a terrorist organization and said the Bush administration already had the power to designate it as such. His fear was that the White House would misuse the measure to justify a military attack against Iran.
The Jewish Daily Forward, March 21, 2007
Forward Interview: Biden Rejects Clamoring For the Greater U.S.-Israel Distance
By Jennifer Siegel
As the liberals clamor for greater distance between the U.S. and Israel, one of Washingtons most vocal critics of the administrations Middle East policy is vowing to keep the two countries joined at the hip if he is elected president.
Delaware Senator Joseph Biden rejected the notion that the U.S. needs to become a more neutral player in the Middle East, while criticizing the White House as uninvolved and ineffective. He spoke to the Forward for 45 minutes over oatmeal at Manhattans Regency Hotel yesterday morning,
In my 34 year career, I have never wavered from the notion that the only time progress has ever been made in the Middle East is when the Arab nations have known that there is no daylight between us and Israel, said Biden, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations committee. So the idea of being an honest broker is not, I think, like some of my Democratic colleagues call for, is not the answer. It is being the smart broker, it is being the smart partner.
Biden, a dark-horse Democratic presidential contender known for straight talk (and the occassional gaffe), has long been a strong supporter of Israel in Congress and is now aggressively courting Jewish voters and donors for his 2008 bid. The debate over the U.S.-Israel relationship, meanwhile, has reached a fevered pitch in the wake of last weeks Washington conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee: On Sunday, New York Times columnist Nick Krisof published an op-ed in the paper that argued that the country lacks a serious debate over Israel, and needs to back away from its crushing embrace of Israeli hardliners.
Biden argued that the U.S. doesnt need more distance, but does need to become a more effective, proactive partner for peace.
We contract our foreign policy, and that is a dangerous situation, Biden said. Do you think theres any reasonable prospect that the Saudis are going to push Hamas to recognize Israel? So now we have a quote unity government and were going, Oh my goodness, we have a problem.
Check back later for the full Q and A.
The Jewish Daily Forward, Jan 26, 2007
Hillary the Favorite in Race for Jewish Donations - Biden, Obama Expected to Make Some Inroads
By E.J. Kessler
The Jewish backers of the other Democratic contenders, meanwhile, refuse to lie down in the face of the Clinton juggernaut.
The chairman of the National Jewish Democratic Council, Michael Adler, is raising money for Bidens bid. The biggest concern the American electorate has is security, Adler said, citing the fact that Biden has chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and that he has done tremendous work on the crime bill.
Adler said that since Biden hasnt pursued the presidency since 1988, hes not caught fire with the public as have some other contenders. But he maintained that Biden has shown on the campaign trail that he understands the American public and his public performances create a lot of loyalty and passion.
Linda Sher, a Chicago-area Democratic activist who founded the Joint Action Committee for Political Affairs, a pro-Israel and pro-choice body, is raising money for Obama.
Several Democratic hands said Obama would attract money from the more liberal precincts of the Jewish community. That proved true during his 2004 Senate bid, when he grabbed the support of the heavily Jewish Lakefront liberals in his states hotly contested primary.
Im getting a good response, Sher said of her efforts. The people Im calling seem enthusiastic. They want to do more than give money. They want to be part of it.
Ynetnews.com - Israel News, 09.03.2008
Biden: Israel will be more protected with Obama
By Yitzhak Benhorin
Democratic vice presidential candidate addresses Jewish pensioners near Miami, declares Jewish state's security to improve if Obama is elected president
WASHINGTON Senator Joe Biden, the Democratic vice presidential candidate, appeared Tuesday evening before Jewish voters in south Florida and declared that Israel's security would be improved if Barack Obama is elected US president.
He further stated that there is no doubt that Obama supports Israel, despite rumors spread by his rivals.
Israel is not as safe today in the world as it was eight years ago, Biden said, promising that the Democrats will make it more protected.
Speaking at a home for the elderly in Deerfield Beach, north of Miami, the senator noted that Hamas and Hizbullah have grown stronger and that Iran is working to attain a nuclear weapon.
With a stronger and more influential America, Israel will be stronger, he added.
Biden reminded the audience, which was mostly comprised of Jewish pensioners, that he had come to Israel's defense in the past, even when this wasn't such a popular thing among American lawmakers. Among other things, the senator initiated a bill preventing US aid to a Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority, which was adopted in December 2006.
I was the original author of the law against Palestinian terror, he told the Jewish voters, adding that he was one of the only US senators who defended Israel on television over the use of cluster bombs.
The Democratic candidate drew thunderous applause when he spoke of his commitment to Israel. His address included some words in Yiddish, and he condemned the "malicious and false rumors on the internet" against Barack Obama, whom he defined as "a strong supporter of Israel."
According to Biden, he would not have given up his position in the House of Representatives had he not been completely certain of Obama's support for Israel.
Biden, who has been serving as senator for the past 36 years, has demonstrated his sweeping support for Israel throughout his service in the House of Representatives. He met with nine Israeli prime ministers, from Golda Meir to Ehud Olmert, and paid a series of visits to the Jewish state between the 1973 Yom Kippur War and his last visit on January 2006.
Biden also expressed his support for Israel during the Second Lebanon War and worked to grant military and economic aid to Israel as head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The Jewish Daily Forward, September 18, 2008
Biden, AIPAC Have Warm Conversation
By Brett Lieberman
U.S. Sen. Joseph Biden, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, spoke by phone with the leadership of AIPAC this afternoon.
According to Jewish leaders and campaign officials, Biden and AIPAC leaders had a warm conversation that lasted about 20 minutes.
Biden, who was introduced by AIPAC President David Victor, spoke of his long relationship with the organization that extends back to the 1970s. He also spoke of his longstanding support of Israel.
It was an opportunity to call and talk about some of the issues theyve worked on in the past and some of the issues they can continue to work on, said a campaign official.
The conference call was one of a number that Biden has conducted in recent days with the leaderships of various influential organizations.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential candidate, met with AIPAC leaders for about 45 minutes during the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul earlier this month.
Biden and presidential nominees Barack Obama and John McCain have no meetings scheduled with AIPAC leaders, though the organization signaled it would be delighted if the candidates schedules permitted for such a gathering.
AIPAC issued the following statement after the Biden conference call:
We had a very warm conversation with Senator Biden today, as we have many times throughout the years, about the importance of the U.S-Israel relationship, and we look forward to continuing to work with him in the future. We had an opportunity to express our appreciation for his strong leadership in support of the U.S.-Israel relationship, and we were pleased to hear Senator Biden reaffirm his desire to maintain his close relationship with AIPAC as we work together to strengthen the special friendship between the two democracies over many years to come.
Senator Biden is a strong supporter of Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship, and has longstanding, close ties to AIPAC and the pro-Israel community. Throughout his career in the Senate, he has been a staunch supporter of U.S. aid to Israel, a leader in the fight against Palestinian terrorism, a vocal advocate for the special relationship between the two democracies, and he shares our goal of stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Joe Biden has been to Israel numerous times and has gotten to know many of Israels most important leaders, starting with Golda Meir.
Now that both the Democrats and the Republicans have determined their respective tickets, AIPAC is pleased that the parties have selected four pro-Israel candidates. In so doing, they have reaffirmed the broad bi-partisan support that exists in our country for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.
Update Sen. Biden expressed his appreciation for AIPACs important work supporting Israels security and the U.S.-Israel relationship, and that he looks forward to continuing to work with them as partners on these issues in the future as he has in the past, said a campaign adviser.
The Huffington Post, August 27, 2008
Biden is Strongly Pro-Israel, Republican Attacks Ridiculous
By Ira Forman
The John McCain derogatory hit squad is at it again. All they know how to do is to sling mud, falsify records and go negative -- no matter how ridiculous the charge.
They are reduced to such absurd tactics because they know that for Jewish voters the issues that matter like separation of church and state, true support for Israel, reproductive rights, health-care for all Americans and preserving an independent Judiciary are more important than baseless mudslinging.
McCain's first hitman is Rudolph Giuliani who yesterday criticized Obama's stance on Jerusalem. Joe Biden himself highlighted Giuliani's lack of knowledge about foreign affairs when Giuliani claimed that the North Korean and Iranian nuclear weapons programs were in the same state of development. Giuliani further displays his ignorance when he is not even aware that McCain's position on Jerusalem is less supportive of a unified Jerusalem than Obama's.
The second hitman is the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) who embarrass themselves further by attacking Biden who has been a champion for Israel ever since he entered the Senate 1973.
A 94% pro-Israel record is a solid 'A' by any calculation. According to pro-Israel voting records, that is how Biden ranks over his six terms in the Senate. RJC's leading criticism of Biden is that he did not vote for the Kyl-Lieberman resolution, a vote that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) itself does not use as an indicator of pro-Israel support.
Biden points out that you don't have to be Jewish to be a Zionist and then proudly proclaims himself a Zionist. How many other U.S. Senators characterize their commitment to the security and survival of Israel in such direct and personal ways? Biden has worked closely to protect Israel's security with every Prime Minister since Golda Meir. How many other U.S. Senators can make such a claim?
These nattering nabobs of negativism injure the long standing bi-partisan consensus on Israel for pure political gain. You would think that these fear mongerers would feel some degree of shame over their ridiculous charges about the most experienced foreign policy expert in the U.S. Senate -- but you would be wrong. Even if the Democrats nominated Golda Meir for the Presidential ticket they would charge that she was insufficiently pro-Israel.
Ynetnews.com - Israel News, 08.23.2008
Biden in 2007 interview: I am a Zionist
By Yitzhak Benhorin
Barack Obama's new running mate praises Israel In 2007 interview with 'Shalom TV'
WASHINGTON Senator Joe Biden, who was chosen by Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama to be his running mate in the upcoming US elections, has previously declared himself to be a Zionist. Calling Israel "the single greatest strength America has in the Middle East," he also revealed a Jewish connection in an interview last year.
During the interview conducted by the Jewish 'Shalom TV' Biden said, "I am a Zionist. You don't have to be a Jew to be a Zionist." He also revealed that his son is married to a Jewish woman, of the Berger family from Delaware, and that he had participated in a Passover Seder at their house.
He added that "probably my most poignant Seder memory is not with the Bergers, but what happened right after I came back from meeting Golda Meir (in 1973). I had predicted that something was going on in Egypt. And I remember people talking about what it meant to them if Israel were actually defeated."
Biden presented himself as a friend to Israel, which he referred to as the US' greatest Middle East ally.
"Imagine our circumstance in the world were there no Israel. How many battleships would there be? How many troops would be stationed?" he asked.
He also called comments about Israel's connection to the war in Iraq "insulting", explaining that "if tomorrow, peace broke out between Israelis and Palestinians, does anybody think there wouldn't be a full-blown war in Iraq?"
Regarding the terror attacks in Israel, Biden said the Sept. 11 attacks made American parents feel what Israeli parents have been feeling. "The difference between now and before 9/11," he said, "is that many Americans can taste what it must feel like for every Israeli mother and father when they send their kid out to school with their lunch to put them on a bus, on a bicycle or to walk; and they pray to God that cell phone doesn't ring."
'No pardon for Pollard'
Biden also commented on Jonathan Pollard, sentenced to life in prison for espionage charges. "He has to serve his sentence. There's a rationale, in my view, why Pollard should be given leniency. But there is not a rationale to say, 'What happened did not happen and should be pardoned'," he said.
"My worry is that, if I were president, to go and pardon Pollard would make a lie out of the notion that there are certain rules. You cannot give classified information, period. Even to a friend. If this were Great Britain, it would be the same thing."
Biden is currently serving his sixth term in the US Senate, is of Irish descent, and was born in Pennsylvania. He became an attorney in 1969 and in 1972 was first elected to Senate. Just a short while later, his wife and one of his children were killed in a car accident. His two sons were injured but recovered fully.
Biden became a senator at the age of 30, which is the earliest age at which one can be elected to the Senate according to US law. He continues to reside in Delaware and makes the two-hour journey to Capitol Hill by train every morning.