NEW ORLEANS (JTA) – Vice President Joe Biden pledged to Israel his unwavering support and that of the President Obama in front of several thousand attendees of the annual conference of North America’s largest Jewish charitable network.
Biden, speaking at the opening plenary of the Jewish Federations of North America, which brings in between $2 billion and $3 billion per year through its 157 federations, told the roughly 4,000 attendees at the Marriott New Orleans that despite tensions that may seem to exist between the Obama administration and Israel, the tension does not imply a weakening of ties between the two countries.
“This administration represents an unbroken chain in American leaders who have understood this this critical relationship,” Biden said, pounding his fist on his podium for effect. “It is one that we will not yield one single inch. President Obama feels exactly the same way I do. The ties between our countries are literally unbreakable.”
Biden said that his love of Israel dated back to 1973 when he took his first trip to Israel as a junior Senator for Delaware. It was there that he had an hour-long meeting with Israel’s Prime Minister Golda Meir.
Meir, he said, told him, “We Israelis have a secret weapon…. We have nowhere else to go. We have nowhere else to go,” Biden recounted.
“All these years later I feel both alarm an solace at those words,” the vice president said. “I feel that our support for Israel must continue in always and forever.”
Though the Obama administration and that of Netanyahu have butted heads in recent months, especially over Israel’s continued construction in the Palestinian territories, Biden assured the crowd that “The disagreements when thy have existed have only been tactical in nature. They have never been fundamental.”