Vice President Biden: No Reason for Jewish Anxiety About Future Trump Administration Commitment to Israel
American Jews have no reason to be concerned about the future of US-Israel ties after President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January, outgoing Vice President Joe Biden said on Wednesday at a World Jewish Congress (WJC) gala dinner in New York City.
Referring to Trump’s victory in Tuesday’s presidential election, Biden said, “A number of my friends in the [Jewish] community are anxious about what it will mean for America’s commitment to Israel. I stand here to tell you that I have no doubt, none whatsoever, that in the Trump administration there will be no diminution of support as a consequence of this transition. Even if the new administration were inclined to reduce the commitment, which it is not, Congress would never let it happen; the American people would never let it happen.”
Furthermore, Biden told the crowd, “You measure your influence on how well you influence me, presidents, vice presidents, secretaries, senators, congressmen. But your influence on the American community at large has been profound. That’s the ultimate guarantor that every American president, and every transition, will never dare, even if they’re inclined — and the Trump admin is not inclined — to reduce” US support for the Jewish state.
Earlier in his remarks — given at an event at which he received the WJC’s Theodor Herzl award for his “contributions to the well-being of Israel and the Jewish people” — Biden equated anti-Zionism with antisemitism.
“We must confront antisemitism whenever it occurs,” Biden declared. “We must continue our work to defeat this stubborn evil of antisemitism that still infects too much of our world, the pernicious lies that surface time and again, including here in our own country. We have to speak out every time antisemitism rears its ugly head…Indifference is silence and silence is consent.”
“We see antisemitism happening again, in a wholesale way, with large parts of the world participating in attempts to delegitimize Israel,” he continued. “Even here at home, [there are] calls to boycott, divest and sanction Israel.”
Biden also revealed that after his son, Beau, died of brain cancer in 2015 at the age of 46, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the first person to extend condolences.
“[He] spent a long time with me on the phone and then called again and again and again,” Biden said appreciatively.
In an interview with The Algemeiner on Wednesday, Jonathan Schanzer — vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) think tank in Washington, DC — said how Trump’s election victory would affect US-Israel relations was “a complete unknown right now.”
“Trump as a candidate certainly said a lot of the right things to certain people, both publicly and privately, about how he would like to restore US-Israel ties to their previously warm status,” Schanzer noted. “What that means practically remains to be seen.”
Schanzer went on to say, “If you have less wrangling between President Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, I think that’s going to be a significant improvement right then and there. But the real questions are what happens with the Iran deal? What happens with Syria? What happens with Hezbollah? What the incoming Trump administration does on these fronts will in many ways determine the trajectory of the bilateral relationship.”
As reported by The Algemeiner, many leading American Jewish groups were among those congratulating Trump on Wednesday after his poll-defying win over Hillary Clinton the previous night.