The Iraq Study Group, chaired by longtime Bush family political confidant James Baker and Lee Hamilton, ruffled plenty of pro-Israel feathers by asserting in its final 2006 report that “the United States will not be able to achieve its goals in the Middle East unless the United States deals directly with the Arab-Israeli conflict.”
As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Joe Biden made a point of challenging that assertion. Just a few moments into his opening statement at a January 17, 2007 hearing, Biden declared: “As we explore answers to these questions, I’d like to make one thing clear I do not accept the notion of linkage between Iraq and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Arab-Israeli peace is worth pursuing vigorously on its own merits, but even if a peace treaty were signed tomorrow, it would not end the civil war in Iraq.”
It was a point that he would stress again in a later interview with Shalom TV.