Biden: Idea of withholding aid from Israel is 'bizarre'

Democratic presidential hopeful responds to Sanders' proposal to withhold military aid from Israel: I would not do that.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Joe Biden
Joe Biden

Former US Vice President and Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden said on Saturday that it is “bizarre” for Bernie Sanders to propose withholding US military aid from Israel if it doesn’t moderate its treatment of Palestinian Arabs.

Speaking with voters in Iowa and quoted by The Associated Press, Biden was responding to Sanders’ recent comments to the J Street conference, where the Vermont Senator suggested that the US should condition its aid to Israel on its changing its attitude towards Palestinian Arabs.

“In terms of Bernie and others who talk about dealing with Zionism, I strongly support Israel as an independent Jewish state,” Biden said, adding, “The idea that I’d withdraw military aid, as others have suggested, from Israel, is bizarre. I would not do that. It’s like saying to France, ’Because you don’t agree with us, we’re going to kick you out of NATO.”

The former Vice President did not spare Israel from criticism, casting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – whom he once said was his “buddy” – as a “counterproductive” and “extreme right” leader.

Biden at the same time also accused Palestinian leaders of “fomenting” the conflict and “baiting everyone who is Jewish,” while suggesting that some on the US political left give the Palestinian Authority “a pass” when criticizing Israeli leadership.

Biden also called it “a serious mistake, a fundamental mistake for the occupation of the West Bank now to become annexed property,” and he chided Netanyahu for a lurch to the “extreme right” as a means “to keep control.”

However, he also had harsh words for the Palestinian Authority, seemingly blaming them for a failure to reach new peace accords “and get 98% of what they wanted” when President Barack Obama was in office with Biden as his top lieutenant.

“They continued to insist on baiting everyone who is Jewish, saying they would not sign a deal with a Jewish state, will not recognize one even if we have an independent nation,” Biden said, according to AP.

Biden said that, as president, he’d continue to push Israel to accept a Palestinian state, but added that he’s “tired of everybody giving the Palestinian Authority a pass ... as if they’re not continuing to foment all of this.”

This is not the first time that Biden has criticized Sanders’ suggestion that the US should suspend its aid to Israel unless it meets certain conditions.

Days after Sanders made the controversial comments, Biden told the Wall Street Journal, “The idea that we would draw military assistance from Israel, on the condition that they change a specific policy, I find to be absolutely outrageous.”

“I would not condition it, and I think it's a gigantic mistake. And I hope some of my candidates who are running with me for the nomination; I hope they misspoke, or they were taken out of context,” he added.