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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Biden didn't say it

Remember that ranting and raving Joe Biden tantrum last Tuesday in which Biden allegedly said that Israeli actions in approving 1,600 housing units in Jerusalem's Ramat Shlomo neighborhood was endangering American troops? Remember the follow-up claim that the comments were based on a briefing by a CENTCOM team dispatched by General David Petraeus that said that US standing in the Arab world was being eroded by the perception that the US cannot bring Israel into line? Well, Jeffrey Goldberg reports that the claims about what Biden said were a lie.
Since I do not have overwhelming faith in the stenographic and interpretive skills of some Israeli reporters, I called the White House to ask if Biden actually said this. It would be quite something, of course, if he did. I spoke with a senior administration official last night who accompanied Biden on his trip to Israel, and he said that Biden did not say tell the Israelis that their actions were endangering American troops. Here is what the official told me:
"The assertion I read in the newspaper suggested that the Vice President said something to the effect that Israeli actions are endangering American soldiers. He never said that, and there's no basis to assert that he did. It's nothing he said and I don't know how it was inferred.

What he did say in a meeting with the prime minister and his senior advisers and his own team was that the U.S. is doing a number of things in our national security interest, and in Israel's national security interest, and they include a strong effort to build a coalition against Iran's nuclear program; deploying 200,000 troops in conflict areas in the region; standing against efforts to delegitimize Israel in various international bodies, sometimes virtually alone; acting decisively against terrorists in very significant ways; and building probably the strongest defense cooperation relationship with Israel that we've seen, including on missile defense. And he said that the extent to which Israel aggressively pursues peace makes these efforts easier."
Sounds like an Emily Latella moment, doesn't it?

Jeffrey's too kind for attributing this to Israeli reporters' 'stenographic skills.' The story first appeared in Yediot Aharonot, Israel's second most Leftist newspaper. I'd love to know whether the reporter lied on purpose. It wouldn't be all that surprising. In this country, the mainstream media has a hard time separating fact from opinion.


At 10:07 AM, Blogger yzernik said...

Just because the White House says it didn't happen, doesn't mean it didn't happen.


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