When Ronald Reagan was president and Joe Biden was a senator from Delaware, Biden criticized the Republican administration and President Jimmy Carter for pressuring Israel to make concessions that could threaten the Jewish state’s very survival, newly uncovered audio shows.
Israel’s Army Radio on Friday first reported on the existence of the recording from the mid-1980s in which Biden emphasized Israel’s delicate position in a hostile Middle East, comparing the Jewish state to a farm pig about to be slaughtered for breakfast ham.
TheBlaze has obtained excerpts from Biden’s speech which were found in the archives of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem.
Though almost three decades old, Biden’s remarks are noteworthy, because the Obama administration’s current push for a Middle East peace agreement spearheaded by Secretary of State John Kerry is predicated on Israel making wide territorial concessions to the Palestinian Authority.
Then-Senator Biden warned in his speech to Los Angeles Jewish leaders of the “grave injustice” were Israel to be pushed into a position where it had to say “no” to concessions, while he dismissed the notion that the Palestinian issue was key to tranquility in the Middle East, a worldview that has been promoted by Obama officials.
As the recent round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks floundered before they wrapped last week with no agreement, Kerry and President Barack Obama appeared to lay the blame on Israel.
The Daily Beast last week published quotes from a recording it obtained of Kerry warning that Israel could become an apartheid state or face concerted new Palestinian violence if it does not move toward a two-state solution.
President Obama in March suggested in a Bloomberg View interview that Israel could face international isolation and the prospect of losing its Jewish majority if it did not agree to the peace framework promoted by Kerry.
But Biden three decades ago said, “When we push Israel into a position where she has no alternative but to say no, we do a grave injustice to Israel.”
“It is very easy for us, sitting in the security of this country, whether we are Christian or Jew, to conclude that Israel – now being the military Goliath of the David and Goliath team – is in a position to do more than she has been willing to do, when in fact Israel cannot afford to make mistakes. There is little or no margin for error on the part of Israel,” Biden said in his speech.
“It’s like that old joke that they tell in the southern part of my state. About the chicken and the pig are walking along in the barnyard and say ‘Farmer Brown’s birthday is today, we should do something nice for him.’ Then the chicken says ‘that’s a great idea, I know just what we should do. We should give farmer brown a ham and egg breakfast this morning,’” Biden said. “And the pig looks at the chicken and says, ‘for you that’s a contribution. For me it’s a total commitment.’”
“Well ladies and gentleman, the contributions our government has asked of Israel over the recent past from the Israeli perspective could turn out to be a total commitment, a commitment that she understandably should be reluctant to make. For our policy as a government has been less than even-keeled and steady for the past two administrations,” Biden said.
Though there was no Al Qaeda and no so-called Arab Spring yet, Biden noted presciently during the 1980s, “There is an Islamic fire that’s raging in the region, the extent to which we do not know and the impact of which we have no notion.”
“If Israel did not exist – God forbid – if it did not exist or if Israel was located where Spain is located, do any of you believe there would be peace in the Middle East?” Biden asked. “Is there any reason to believe there would be tranquility in the region? Why do we allow ourselves as a nation to continue to talk about the single greatest stumbling block to peace in the region being the Palestinian question?”
Repeatedly emphasizing the existential dangers to Israel 30 years ago, Biden said that Israel “knows if she makes a mistake, her very existence is at stake, and if she fails to appear to be willing to compromise, the very prospect of the support she needs so badly will begin to evaporate.”
“It truly would be a tragedy for mankind if we allowed the nation state of Israel to be gradually – and it will not happen overnight if it happens – gradually diminished and weakened,” Biden said.
Herzl Makov, President of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center which uncovered the recordings, told TheBlaze, “We hope that Vice President Biden will reach the same conclusions that Senator Biden reached all those years ago.”
Makov previously served as Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir of Begin’s and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party.
While the Center archive did not have an exact date for the recording, Biden said in his speech that he had been a senator for 13 years, placing the year as either 1985 or 1986.
This post has been updated with audio.