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July 10, 2022 5:45 pm
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Honoring Joe Biden, Dishonoring Taylor Force

avatar by Ruthie Blum / JNS.org

Opinion

US President Joe Biden holds a meeting with White House officials and baby formula manufacturers, as part of the US response to the ongoing baby formula shortage, in an auditorium on the White House campus in Washington, US June 1, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

JNS.org – The announcement that US President Joe Biden is going to be awarded the Jewish state’s equivalent of the French Légion d’Honneur during his visit to the country this week has raised a few eyebrows.

The Presidential Medal of Honor, introduced in 2012 by then-Israeli President Shimon Peres, was created to honor figures “who have made an outstanding contribution to the State of Israel or to humanity, through their talents, services or in any other form.”

In its first year, it was bestowed on five people (and one organization), including Henry Kissinger, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz and conductor Zubin Mehta. It was awarded the following year to nine people, among them US President Barack Obama, former US President Bill Clinton and Elie Wiesel. Names added to the list in 2014 were Stef Wertheimer and Rabbi Israel Meir Lau.

With the end of Peres’s tenure as Israel’s ninth president came the termination of the award, which Herzog — a previous chairman, as was Peres, of Israel’s Labor Party — reconstituted after he assumed his current, predominantly ceremonial, role last summer. To head the advisory committee that recommends deserving honorees he appointed retired Supreme Court Justice Yoram Danziger.

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Why Israel should consider Biden deserving of such an honor has been the butt of jokes similar to those cracked about Obama’s having become a Nobel Peace Prize laureate within less than eight months of his entry into the White House. Ditto for Peres’s bestowing of the high Israeli award on Obama, arguably one of Israel’s harshest critics and the architect of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear deal with the regime in Tehran that makes no bones about wanting to wipe the Jewish state off the map.

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