NEW ORLEANS, La. (JTA) – Vice President Joe Biden called the U.S.-Israel bond "unbreakable" in a speech to thousands of Jews at the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America.
Speaking at the opening plenary of the annual federations conference in New Orleans, Biden said that despite tensions that may seem to exist between the Obama administration and Israel, the tensions do not imply a weakening of ties between the two countries.
“This administration represents an unbroken chain in American leaders who have understood this this critical relationship,” Biden said. “It is one that we will not yield one single inch. President Obama feels exactly the same way I do. The ties between our countries are literally unbreakable.”
Biden said that his love of Israel dated back to 1973 when he took his first trip to Israel as a junior U.S. senator from Delaware. It was there that he had an hour-long meeting with Israel’s Prime Minister Golda Meir.
Meir, he said, told him, “We Israelis have a secret weapon… We have nowhere else to go,” Biden recounted. “All these years later I feel both alarm an solace at those words,” the vice president said. “I feel that our support for Israel must continue in always and forever.”
While the Obama and Netanyahu administrations had differences in recent months, especially over Israel’s construction in the West Bank, Biden assured the crowd of approximately 4,000 that “The disagreements when they have existed have only been tactical in nature. They have never been fundamental.”