Vice President Biden said in a speech Monday that no president has done as much to keep Israel secure as President Obama.
“I’ve served with eight presidents of the United States of America and I can assure you, unequivocally, no president has done as much to physically secure the state of Israel as President Barack Obama,” Biden said during his speech at a conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington.
It’s not the first time Biden has said such a thing, but this time he was saying it to Israel’s top lobbying group in Washington.
Obama’s relationship with Israel has at times been tense, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu having criticized Obama publicly over his policy on Iran and even seemed to lecture Obama while at a joint appearance in the Oval Office. Biden seemed to acknowledge this in his speech, but said the White House recognizes that its interests are aligned with Israel’s security.
“While we may not always agree on tactics — and I’ve been around a long time; I’ve been there for a lot of prime ministers — we’ve always disagreed on tactics,” Biden said, according to a transcript. “We’ve always disagreed at some point or another on tactics. But ladies and gentlemen, we have never disagreed on the strategic imperative that Israel must be able to protect (itself).”
In a satellite appearance after Biden, Netanyahu says he looks forward to Obama’s first visit to the country as president later this month, during which Obama will be awarded the Medal of Distinction — one of the country’s highest honors.
“I look forward to discussing with President Obama when he comes here later this month all these issues,” Netanyahu said.
Biden said Obama is very much looking forward to the trip.
“As will come as no surprise to you, the president and I … not only are partners, we’ve become friends,” Biden said. “And he and I have spoken at length about this trip. And I can assure you he’s particularly looking forward to having a chance to hear directly from the people of Israel, and beyond their political leaders, and particularly the younger generation of Israelis.”
Updated at 12:31 p.m.