Obama's VP Says He's Zionist; Rivals Say He's Naive on Iran

The newly announced Democratic VP choice Sen. Joseph Biden has made some very pro-Israeli statements but voted against some anti-Iran measures.

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Gil Ronen,

Sen. Joe Biden
Sen. Joe Biden

Sen. Joseph Biden (D – DE), whom Barack Obama has picked to be his running mate in the race for the U.S. presidency, called Israel "the single greatest strength America has in the Middle East" in a 2007 interview and proclaimed that he is a Zionist.

In an interview he gave Shalom TV when he was still running for the Democratic presidential nomination, Biden also said that since the 9/11 terror attacks, "Americans can taste what it must feel like for every Israeli mother and father when they send their kid out to school with their lunch to put them on a bus, on a bicycle or to walk; and they pray to God that cell phone doesn't ring."

In that interview Biden also mentioned his family connection to the Jewish people: "My son married a young woman whose mother… [is from] a very prominent Jewish family in the state of Delaware, the Bergers," he said.

Leniency, Not Pardon for Pollard
"I am a Zionist. You don't have to be a Jew to be a Zionist."

On the subject of Jonathan Pollard, who is languishing in a U.S. jail after being convicted of spying for Israel, Biden said Pollard deserves leniency but not a pardon. "There's a rationale, in my view, why Pollard should be given leniency," he explained. "But there is not a rationale to say, 'What happened did not happen and should be pardoned.'"

He also said: "When I was a young Senator, I used to say, 'If I were a Jew I'd be a Zionist.' I am a Zionist. You don't have to be a Jew to be a Zionist."

The veteran Democratic senator called the attempts to link between the conflict over the Land of Israel and the Iraq war "bizarre."

He said: "When the Baker Commission filed its report saying peace in Israel is related to Iraq, I was the first and only person in Congress to point out [that] if, tomorrow, peace broke out between Israelis and Palestinians, does anybody think there wouldn't be a full-blown war in Iraq? And, conversely, if Iraq were transported to Mars, does anyone think there would not be terrorism visited upon the Israelis every day?"

Republicans warn he's naïve
Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) Executive Director Matt Brooks Saturday warned against voting for Obama and Biden.

"With the selection of Senator Joe Biden as Senator Obama's vice president, the Democrat's ticket has now become an even greater gamble for the Jewish community," he said. "Throughout his caree
Biden was one of only four senators to vote against the Iran Missile Proliferation Sanctions Act
r, Senator Biden has consistently been wrong on Iran and his voting record on Israel has been inconsistent. Like Obama, Biden fundamentally misunderstands the threat posed by an Iran determined to obtain nuclear weapons."

"In 1998," Brooks noted, "Sen. Biden was one of only four senators to vote against the Iran Missile Proliferation Sanctions Act, a bill that punished foreign companies or other entities that sent Iran sensitive missile technology or expertise. Biden was one of the few senators to oppose the bipartisan 2007 Kyl-Lieberman Amendment labeling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. In a December 2007 debate, Biden said 'Iran is not a nuclear threat to the United States of America.' On MSNBC's 'Hardball,' Biden said he ’never believed’ Iran had a weapon system under production."