Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
News

Forward Interview: Biden Rejects Clamoring For the Greater U.S.-Israel Distance

As the liberals clamor for greater distance between the U.S. and Israel, one of Washington’s most vocal critics of the administration’s Middle East policy is vowing to keep the two countries joined at the hip if he is elected president.

Delaware Senator Joseph Biden rejected the notion that the U.S. needs to become a more neutral player in the Middle East, while criticizing the White House as uninvolved and ineffective. He spoke to the Forward for 45 minutes over oatmeal at Manhattan’s Regency Hotel yesterday morning,

“In my 34 year career, I have never wavered from the notion that the only time progress has ever been made in the Middle East is when the Arab nations have known that there is no daylight between us and Israel,” said Biden, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations committee. “So the idea of being an ‘honest broker’ is not, I think, like some of my Democratic colleagues call for, is not the answer. It is being the smart broker, it is being the smart partner.”

Biden, a dark-horse Democratic presidential contender known for straight talk (and the occassional gaffe), has long been a strong supporter of Israel in Congress and is now aggressively courting Jewish voters and donors for his 2008 bid. The debate over the U.S.-Israel relationship, meanwhile, has reached a fevered pitch in the wake of last week’s Washington conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee: On Sunday, New York Times columnist Nick Krisof published an op-ed in the paper that argued that the country lacks a serious debate over Israel, and needs to back away from its “crushing embrace” of Israeli hardliners.

Biden argued that the U.S. doesn’t need more distance, but does need to become a more effective, proactive partner for peace.

“We contract our foreign policy, and that is a dangerous situation,” Biden said. “Do you think there’s any reasonable prospect that the Saudis are going to push Hamas to recognize Israel? So now we have a quote unity government and we’re going, ‘Oh my goodness, we have a problem.’”

Check back later for the full Q and A.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.