At AIPAC, Netanyahu and Biden Offer Their Takes on Strategic Timetable for Iran

March 5, 2013 10:05 am 0 comments

Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the 2013 AIPAC policy conference. Photo: Maxine Dovere.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday offered their takes on the strategic timetable for the Iranian nuclear threat, with Biden saying there remains “time and space” for diplomacy to work and Netanyahu dismissing diplomacy because Iran is “running out the clock.”

Netanyahu told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) via a live satellite message that “diplomacy has not worked” for Iran, Netanyahu said, providing a contrast to the earlier remarks of Biden.

“Iran has ignored all these offers,” Netanyahu said of what the Islamic Republic has been offered during its nuclear talks with the West. “It is running out the clock.”

“Thus far, the sanctions have not stopped the nuclear program either,” the prime minister added, explaining that amid a struggling economy, Iranian leaders “just grit their teeth and move forward.”

Biden—appearing in the absence of President Barack Obama, who, like Netanyahu, did not address the AIPAC conference in person this year because the two heads of state plan to meet in Israel later this month—told the AIPAC crowd that the U.S. and Israel “have a shared strategic commitment” on Iran.

“Let me make clear what that commitment is,” Biden said. “It is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Period.”

“Not contain. Prevent,” Biden added for emphasis. He said Obama, who was not at the AIPAC conference due to his visit to Israel later this month, “has flatly stated that.”

Nevertheless, Biden said, “Our strong preference, the world’s preference, is for a diplomatic solution.” The Obama administration has so far refused to set the “red line” requested by Netanyahu that would prompt U.S. military action against Iran if the Islamic Republic’s nuclear progress crosses that line.

The window for diplomacy with Iran is closing, but the U.S. believes “there is still time and space to achieve [that] outcome,” Biden said.

“If God forbid the need to act [militarily against Iran] occurs, it is critically important for the whole world to know, we did everything in our power, we did everything that could have reasonably be expected, to avoid a confrontation,” he said.

Biden said he and Obama “both know that Israel faces new pressures, new threats, and uncertainty.” Those threats “have changed, as the world and the region have changed over the last decade.” The “Arab Spring,” he said, forces the U.S. to “reassess” old relationships in the Middle East.

Amid those regional changes, Biden said one thing has not changed—“our deep commitment to the security of the state of Israel.”

The U.S. and Israel have “always disagreed on tactics,” but never on the “strategic imperative” to secure Israel.

“No president has done as much to physically secure the state of Israel as president Barack Obama,” Biden said, noting that he has served as a national legislator during the tenures of eight presidents. There have never been as many meetings and as much coordination between U.S. and Israeli intelligence services and their militaries as there has been under Obama, according to Biden.

In particular, Biden noted the $275 million U.S. investment in Iron Dome missile defense system, which intercepted nearly 400 Gaza rockets last November alone.

“The world saw firsthand [during Operation Pillar of Defense] why it was and remains so critical,” Biden said of Iron Dome. “For too long, when those sirens blared in the streets of the [Israeli] cities bordering Gaza, the only defense had been a bomb shelter. But late last year Iron Dome made a difference.”

Regarding efforts to delegitimize Israel as a Jewish state, Biden said Obama “has been a bulwark against those insidious efforts at every step of the way,” including America’s opposition to the Palestinians’ bid for (and attainment of) nonmember observer state status last fall at the United Nations.

The U.S. continues to oppose unilateral actions in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process because, “There is no shortcut to peace, there is no shortcut to face to face negotiations,” Biden said.

“We are under no illusions about how difficult it will be to achieve,” Biden said of peace.

“It’s going to require hard steps from both sides, but it’s in all of our interest,” he said, referencing President Bill Clinton’s past statement that, “We’ve got to get caught trying.”

“We make no apologies for continuing to pursue that goal, for pursuing a better future,” Biden said.

Regarding Iran, Biden acknowledged that even preventing that country from acquiring nuclear weapons still leaves it as a “dangerous neighbor,” particularly for Israel, through their sponsorship of terrorist proxies like Hezbollah.

“We know what Israel knows,” Biden said. “Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. Period.” The U.S. is urging every nation to “start treating Hezbollah as such and naming them as a terrorist organization,” he said.

With Obama preparing to visit Israel later this month, Biden said the president “is particularly looking forward to having a chance to hear from the people of Israel.”

“I think all politics is personal, and I mean it,” he said.

Netanyahu on Monday also looked forward to Obama’s visit, with the prime minister previewing his three-pronged agenda for when he meets the president: Iran, Syria, and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

“[The visit] will give me an opportunity, along with the people of Israel, to express our appreciation for what [Obama] has done for Israel,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu said he intends to show Obama “a different side” of Israel when he visits, one that has “become a technological marvel” and is “teeming with innovation.”

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    An actress starring in the controversial Met Opera The Death of Klinghoffer defended the show on Tuesday by comparing it to the 1993 Holocaust film Schindler’s List, New York Post reported. “To me, this was like [the movie] Schindler’s List. We make art so people won’t forget,’’ said the actress, who plays a captured passenger in the show and asked not to be identified. The Met Opera focuses on the infamous murder of Lower East Side Jewish resident Leon Klinghoffer, 69. The wheelchair-bound father of [...]

    Read more →
  • Analysis Arts and Culture Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    JNS.org – One of the most controversial operas in recent memory, “The Death of Klinghoffer,” debuted Oct. 20 at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. The Met has scheduled seven more performances through November. The first staging did not occur without protest, as about 400 demonstrators—including Jewish communal and nationally recognized leaders—came to Lincoln Center to denounce the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel opera. “Klinghoffer,” the creation of composer John Adams and librettist Alice Goodman, premiered in 1991—with few additional stagings. The opera is based [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot is in negotiations to take on the female lead role in the remake of the 1959 classic Ben-Hur, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If the deal is finalized Gadot will play Esther, a slave and Ben-Hur’s love interest. Actor Jack Huston will star as the Jewish prince who is betrayed into slavery by his childhood friend Messala, played by Toby Kebbell. Ben-Hur fights for his freedom and vengeance with the help of Morgan Freeman’s character, who trains Ben-Hur how to win at chariot-racing. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    JNS.org – Baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie are the American dream. So why do two young men who have built their lives in Israel have a GoFundMe crowd-funding webpage with the urgent message that they need $3,000 to travel to the U.S. to watch the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles square off for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) American League championship? Brothers Naftali and Yoni Schwartz, 27 and 25, respectively, are Kansas City natives. Even though they made aliyah with their [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Some 3,000 years ago, King David probably never imagined cars racing at 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour) through the ancient capital of the Jewish people. But on Monday and Tuesday, October 6-7, thousands of Israelis lined the streets to watch Porsche, Audi, and Ferrari race cars fly through the capital against the backdrop of the Tower of David, the Old City Walls, and other city landmarks. The second annual non-competitive Jerusalem Formula One Road Show had been [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James expressed interest in visiting Israel someday, local news site Cleveland.com reported on Sunday. Speaking to Israeli reporters before the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason debut against Maccabi Tel Aviv, the NBA star said he had never visited the Jewish state but “I want to look forward to going there if I get an opportunity to.” When asked by an Israeli reporter if there was “any chance that LeBron James and Cleveland comes to Tel Aviv,” the athlete said [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    A Florida-based Chabad rabbi put former basketball star, U.S. Congressman Curt Clawson to shame on the court when the two faced off one-on-one recently. A YouTube video, posted online on Tuesday, shows Rabbi Fishel Zaklos of Chabad of Naples shooting hoops with the Florida politician, who played basketball in high school and at Purdue University in Indiana. The game took place in the parking lot of the Chabad Jewish center run by Zaklos. During the 1-minute clip, Zaklos scores two impressive [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    JNS.org – Less than five months after leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to its sixth European basketball title, David Blatt, now the head coach of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, routed his former team in an exhibition game on Sunday, with the Cavaliers dominating Maccabi 107-80 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The 20,562 fans in attendance witnessed Lebron James’s first appearance in a Cavaliers uniform since he left the club in free agency for the Miami Heat four years ago. [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.