Joe Biden defended his pro-Israel record and vouched for his running mate’s at the National Jewish Democratic Council’s Washington Conference Tuesday afternoon.
“I’ve spent 35 years of my career dealing with issues relating to Israel,” Biden said, mentioning his first meeting with former Israeli prime ministers Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin and the various pro-Israel pieces of legislation he has backed. “My support for Israel begins in my stomach, goes to my heart and ends up in my head,” he said.
“I guarantee you I would not have joined Barack Obama as his vice president if I had any doubt, even the slightest doubt, that he shares the same commitment to Israel I share,” Biden said to a standing ovation.
Biden briefly mentioned “the smear campaign” against him – specifically citing the Republican Jewish Coalition’s charge that he once attempted to cut off aid to Israel – and said, “We have to ignore all the malarkey, distractions and e-mails and get behind Barack Obama.”
After his opening remarks on Israel, Biden stuck mostly to the economy and other domestic policies in his half-hour speech – which sounded similar to the vice presidential nominee’s standard stump speech.
“I know NJDC – it isn’t just about Israel,” said Biden. He criticized the “tyranny of the oligarchs of oil” and asked the crowd to imagine “a country that believes in science” and “a country where we only go to war when it’s necessary,” drawing applause. He didn’t mention Iran, but did return to Israel near the end of his thirty-minute talk.
“Imagine a president who won’t wait until his seventh year in office,” said Biden, to see “the need for American leadership in the Middle East peace process.”
Video of Biden’s speech available here.