In the wake of the events earlier this week coinciding with Vice President Biden’s visit to Israel, one had to wonder whether his centerpiece speech to the Israeli public this morning would be radically altered, or just tweaked.
After delivery, it seems it was more the latter.
VP Biden flatly stated that the United States has no better friend than Israel and flatly stated, as he did earlier this week to Chris Matthews, that “the U.S. is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Period.”
The Jerusalem Post’s David Horovitz correctly notes that the VP “touched on all the issues that matter most to us. Unlike President Obama in Cairo last June, Biden did take the few moments to note the historic ties between the Jewish people and this land. He insisted that the US was ‘determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Period.’ He empathized with Israelis’ shaken faith in the prospect of peace given the violence that had followed us across the border when we pulled out of Lebanon and Gaza. And he reiterated that, for all the bumps and tensions, the US-Israeli bond was fundamentally ‘impervious to any shifts.’”
It is also worth noting the Vice President’s emphatic statement earlier in the week (and not at all diluted after the Ramat Shlomo contretemps) that “There is no space between the United States and Israel when it comes to Israel’s security.”
All in all, this was an important visit and, even with (or maybe because of?) the difficulties that occurred while the Vice President was on the ground, it may well have achieved its central purpose of re-assuring Israelis at large of the strength of the U.S.-Israel relationship and also the need to nurture it consistently and not take it for granted.