Vice President Joe Biden told attendees at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference Monday that no U.S. president has done more to secure Israel than President Barack Obama and that the administration “is not bluffing” when it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
“I can assure you, unequivocally, no president has done as much to physically secure state of Israel as President Barack Obama,” Biden said.
He added that containment of a nuclear Iran is not an option and said Obama is committed to “prevent[ing] Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Period … end of discussion.”
Obama’s clashes with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his unwillingness to provide a clear red line for the use of force against Iran, and his recent appointment of a defense secretary with a history of anti-Israel views have contributed to public doubt about his support for the Jewish state.
Thirty-nine percent of American voters say Obama is not supportive enough of Israel, according to a poll published by the Hill today. That is the highest percentage the poll has ever recorded.
Biden was met with a standing ovation at the conference, but references to the administration’s Israel policy mainly received polite applause.
Biden said the administration has also “unequivocally, without hesitation, and consistently confronted the efforts to delegitimize Israel.”
“We stood strongly with Israel on its right to defend itself when the Goldstone report was issued,” he said. “[And we] reject anti-Semitic rhetoric from any quarter.”
He praised Secretary of State John Kerry for objecting to Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s comment that Zionism is a crime against humanity, prompting strong applause from the audience.
Biden did not mention newly confirmed Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who has previously supported containment as an option on Iran and once claimed the “Jewish Lobby” intimidates lawmakers in Washington.