US Vice President Joe Biden.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Vice President Joe Biden told a gathering of prominent American Jewish officials last fall that they should look to Israel - and not the United States - as the ultimate guarantor of their community’s long-term safety.
The surprising remarks, which were made during a Rosh Hashana celebration attended by government officials and members of Congress, were reported by Atlantic journalist Jeffrey Goldberg in a recent article about the future of European Jewry.
“I had the great pleasure of knowing every prime minister since Golda Meir, when I was a young man in the Senate, and I’ll never forget talking to her in her office with her assistant - a guy named Rabin - about the Six-Day War,” he said. “The end of the meeting, we get up and walk out, the doors are open, and … the press is taking photos … She looked straight ahead and said, ‘Senator, don’t look so sad … Don’t worry. We Jews have a secret weapon.’ ”
Then Biden recalled asking Meir what the secret weapon was.
“I thought she was going to tell me something about a nuclear program,” Biden said. “She looked straight ahead and she said, ‘We have no place else to go. We have no place else to go.’ ”
“Folks, there is no place else to go, and you understand that in your bones. You understand in your bones that no matter how hospitable, no matter how consequential, no matter how engaged, no matter how deeply involved you are in the United States … there’s only one guarantee. There is really only one absolute guarantee, and that’s the state of Israel. And so I just want to assure you, for all the talk, and I know sometimes [President Barack Obama] gets beat up a little bit, but I guarantee you: he shares the exact same commitment to the security of Israel.”
The comments are rather striking given that they were uttered by a sitting vice president who seemed to suggest that Jews in the US were vulnerable to hatred that could one day escalate to the point that they should consider relocating to Israel.
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