US Vice President Joe Biden addressed the annual General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America Monday, and took the opportunity to try to smooth over tensions between Jerusalem and Washington following the infamous "chickensh**" comments made about Israel's prime minister by a senior Obama administration aid.
Although he didn't address the specific article in The Atlantic Monthly which included the offensive remarks made about Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Biden did go out of his way to emphasize his own personal fondness for the Israeli PM - regardless of their stark differences of opinion.
"Ron, you better damn well report to Bibi that we're still buddies!" he said at the start of his address, talking to Israel's US Ambassador Ron Dermer who was sitting in the audience.
"I signed a picture for Bibi a long time ago. I have a bad habit of... no one ever doubts I mean what I say, sometimes I say all that I mean, though - and I signed a picture a long time (ago) for Bibi.
"He's been a friend for over 30 years. I said: 'Bibi I don't agree with a damn thing you say but I love you,'" he quipped.
The US has "a responsibility" to "guarantee the security" of the State of Israel, Biden said, underscoring the strategic importance of the alliance between the two nations.
"Were there not an Israel the United States would have to invent one... it's more than merely a moral obligation that we have, its a security necessity," he said.
"Like all close friends we talk directly with one another... we disagree with one another... We love one another and we drive one another crazy."
"The security of Israel and the United States is inextricably tied - and we will never ever abandon Israel - out of our own self-interest!" he added, later reiterating the administration's pledge not to allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. "There is no friend of Israel like the US and the US has no friend like the State of Israel."