Senator Biden obliquely criticizes AIPAC

Ed Lasky
Joe Biden had this to say on the campaign trail today, according to Hilary Leila Krieger of the Jerusalem Post:

Biden lashed out at those who would impugn his Israel credentials, saying, "I take a backseat to no one -- including AIPAC -- when it comes to supporting Israel."

"They don't speak for the entire Jewish community. There are other organizations that are just as strong and consequential," he said. "AIPAC does not speak for the State of Israel."

Biden pointed out that he had supported Israel in cases when it wasn't always popular -- like defending its right to use cluster bombs in the 1980s -- and that he has been recognized by many Jewish organizations for his support for the Jewish State.

(Note: Barack Obama supported a resolution to ban the use of cluster bombs in civilian areas. Given that Hezbollah terrorists operate among civilians, this would have had implications for Israel's defense posture, since it depends on such sophisticated cluster bombs from America . He was the only Democratic Presidential aspirant to have done so)

Another gaffe? If we follow Michel Kinsley's definition of a gaffe made by a politician -- whe he accidentally tells the truth  -- then maybe Biden has revealed his true feeligns about Israel.

What other organizations might Senator Biden be referring took when he talks of other organizations representing the Jewish community? The J-Street Project? The Israel Policy Forum? Peace Now? All of these groups have agendas that would comport well with an appeasement approach towards Israel's adversaries.

In this time of intense anti-AIPAC activity -- highlighted by the work of Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer -- is it helpful for the Vice Presidential nominee to be joining that chorus? This anti-AIPAC or anti-"Israel Lobby" activity is also associated with people close to Barack Obama who have spoken despairingly of the influence of Americans who support the America-Israel relationship. These include Samantha Power (who has told people she expects a high position in an Obama Administration), foreign policy adviser Daniel Kurtzer, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Pastor Jeremiah Wright (his "moral compass" and "sounding board"), George Soros (an early supporter who has placed key acolytes in important roles in the J-Street group), "Tony" McPeak who is the co-chair of Barack Obama's Presidential campaign and his chief military advisor.

Now that list might well include Senator Joe Biden. A worrisome development.

Biden tried to explain his opposition to measures AIPAC has supported:

Biden stressed that he and AIPAC shared the same goals but that differences on "tactics" had led him to not sign on to certain measures the Israel lobby has supported, such as the Kyl-Lieberman amendment to designate the Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps a terrorist organization.

Biden described the group as a terrorist organization but said his opposition to the measure on the grounds that the Bush administration already had the authority to make such a designation, and that he was concerned backing the text would be interpreted by the White House as enabling a military confrontation with Iran.

"This opened the door to an attack on Iran at a time when we were bogged down in Iraq," he explained. " I wasn't about to give them a pretext to go to war."

Tougher sanctions and more engagement is needed in the effort to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, Biden said. At the same time, he argued that some of the rhetoric used against Iran wasn't helpful.

Actually, this argument about the Kyl-Liberman amendment -- an argument that Barack Obama has used to justify his own opposition to signing on to the legislation -- is not valid. As Eli Lake wrote in the New York Sun ("Obama's Silly War on Fear" ) regarding Barack Obama's fear-mongering regarding the Kyl-Lieberman resolution:

His Web site says Mr. Obama "believes that it was reckless for Congress to give George Bush any justification to extend the Iraq War or to attack Iran. Obama also introduced a resolution in the Senate declaring that no act of Congress - including Kyl-Lieberman - gives the Bush administration authorization to attack Iran."

Neither Messrs. Kyl nor Lieberman ever said it did. It expressed a sense of the Senate, whereas the 2002 resolution against Saddam Hussein gave explicit authorization to use force. What's more, the course recommended by the non-binding resolution was a response to reams of reporting from Iraq that the Iranian revolutionary guard supported terrorists trying to dissolve Iraq and kill American soldiers, a point Mr. Obama conceded as recently as a year ago.

Tensions are rising on the campaign trail. If Senator Biden feels he has to vent his feelings in such an undiplomatic manner, perhaps he will not be ready for the 3 A.M. call either.
Joe Biden had this to say on the campaign trail today, according to Hilary Leila Krieger of the Jerusalem Post:

Biden lashed out at those who would impugn his Israel credentials, saying, "I take a backseat to no one -- including AIPAC -- when it comes to supporting Israel."

"They don't speak for the entire Jewish community. There are other organizations that are just as strong and consequential," he said. "AIPAC does not speak for the State of Israel."

Biden pointed out that he had supported Israel in cases when it wasn't always popular -- like defending its right to use cluster bombs in the 1980s -- and that he has been recognized by many Jewish organizations for his support for the Jewish State.

(Note: Barack Obama supported a resolution to ban the use of cluster bombs in civilian areas. Given that Hezbollah terrorists operate among civilians, this would have had implications for Israel's defense posture, since it depends on such sophisticated cluster bombs from America . He was the only Democratic Presidential aspirant to have done so)

Another gaffe? If we follow Michel Kinsley's definition of a gaffe made by a politician -- whe he accidentally tells the truth  -- then maybe Biden has revealed his true feeligns about Israel.

What other organizations might Senator Biden be referring took when he talks of other organizations representing the Jewish community? The J-Street Project? The Israel Policy Forum? Peace Now? All of these groups have agendas that would comport well with an appeasement approach towards Israel's adversaries.

In this time of intense anti-AIPAC activity -- highlighted by the work of Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer -- is it helpful for the Vice Presidential nominee to be joining that chorus? This anti-AIPAC or anti-"Israel Lobby" activity is also associated with people close to Barack Obama who have spoken despairingly of the influence of Americans who support the America-Israel relationship. These include Samantha Power (who has told people she expects a high position in an Obama Administration), foreign policy adviser Daniel Kurtzer, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Pastor Jeremiah Wright (his "moral compass" and "sounding board"), George Soros (an early supporter who has placed key acolytes in important roles in the J-Street group), "Tony" McPeak who is the co-chair of Barack Obama's Presidential campaign and his chief military advisor.

Now that list might well include Senator Joe Biden. A worrisome development.

Biden tried to explain his opposition to measures AIPAC has supported:

Biden stressed that he and AIPAC shared the same goals but that differences on "tactics" had led him to not sign on to certain measures the Israel lobby has supported, such as the Kyl-Lieberman amendment to designate the Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps a terrorist organization.

Biden described the group as a terrorist organization but said his opposition to the measure on the grounds that the Bush administration already had the authority to make such a designation, and that he was concerned backing the text would be interpreted by the White House as enabling a military confrontation with Iran.

"This opened the door to an attack on Iran at a time when we were bogged down in Iraq," he explained. " I wasn't about to give them a pretext to go to war."

Tougher sanctions and more engagement is needed in the effort to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, Biden said. At the same time, he argued that some of the rhetoric used against Iran wasn't helpful.

Actually, this argument about the Kyl-Liberman amendment -- an argument that Barack Obama has used to justify his own opposition to signing on to the legislation -- is not valid. As Eli Lake wrote in the New York Sun ("Obama's Silly War on Fear" ) regarding Barack Obama's fear-mongering regarding the Kyl-Lieberman resolution:

His Web site says Mr. Obama "believes that it was reckless for Congress to give George Bush any justification to extend the Iraq War or to attack Iran. Obama also introduced a resolution in the Senate declaring that no act of Congress - including Kyl-Lieberman - gives the Bush administration authorization to attack Iran."

Neither Messrs. Kyl nor Lieberman ever said it did. It expressed a sense of the Senate, whereas the 2002 resolution against Saddam Hussein gave explicit authorization to use force. What's more, the course recommended by the non-binding resolution was a response to reams of reporting from Iraq that the Iranian revolutionary guard supported terrorists trying to dissolve Iraq and kill American soldiers, a point Mr. Obama conceded as recently as a year ago.

Tensions are rising on the campaign trail. If Senator Biden feels he has to vent his feelings in such an undiplomatic manner, perhaps he will not be ready for the 3 A.M. call either.