05
Sep
08

Biden: Obama and I will be strong on protecting Israel

By The Associated Press and Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz Correspondent
03/09/08

U.S. Senator and vice presidential nominee Joe Biden assured older Jewish voters Tuesday that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama would be strong on protecting Israel, which he said is less secure now than when President George W. Bush took office.

Biden, Obama’s running mate, laid out his own history on Israeli issues for the audience of several hundred at a Broward County retirement community in Florida and emphatically said Obama stands right along side him on Israel.

Biden said he has fought the sale of sophisticated weapons to Arab nations, has known every Israeli prime minister since Golda Meir and has co-sponsored legislation to fight Palestinian terrorism.

“I am chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee,” Biden said. “I give you my word as a Biden: I would not have given up that job to be Barack Obama’s vice president if I didn’t in my gut and in my heart and in my head know that Barack Obama is exactly where I am on Israel. And he is.”

Biden told the crowd to ignore the scurrilous things said about Obama on the Internet, including rumors that the Christian Obama is a Muslim.

“To the extent you trust me and understand where my heart is, I promise you the stuff you’re getting on the Internet is simply not true,” he said.

He also said the terrorist threat to Israel has increased, along with the threat from Iran as it tries to develop nuclear weapons.

“By any objective fact, Israel is less secure today in the world than it was eight years ago,” Biden said. “I promise you … we will make it more secure.”

Biden was introduced by a Holocaust survivor, and later talked about taking his sons to Germany and visiting a former concentration camp.

The trip was his first to Florida since joining the Democratic presidential ticket. He planned another town hall Tuesday evening in Palm Beach County, before heading to Florida’s Gulf Coast on Wednesday to discuss women’s economic issues.

Biden was asked about Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and the news that her 17-year-old, unmarried daughter is pregnant. He refused to address the issue.

“Children are off limits,” he said. “We’ve all been through things with our children. And it’s about common decency. Just treat people with common decency.”

Ira N. Forman, Executive Director of the National Jewish Democratic
Council (NJDC) said Tuesday, “I understand that the Republicans disagree with Biden on some partisan issues, but as a member of the Jewish and pro-Israel community, I find it hard to believe that Republicans have so quickly turned their back on such a good and close friend.”

Forman added, “Republican attacks on Joe Biden are baseless and shameful.”

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