Pat Buchanan

Actually, Joe set himself up. From the moment he set foot on Israeli soil, our vice president was in full pander mode.

First, he headed to Yad Vashem memorial, where he put on a yarmulke and declared Israel "a central bolt in our existence."

"For world Jewry," Joe went on, presumably including 5 million Americans, "Israel is the heart. ... Israel is the light. ... Israel is the hope."

Meeting Shimon Peres the next day, Joe confessed that when he first visited at age 29, "Israel captured my heart."

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In Peres' guestbook, he wrote, "The bond between our two nations has been and remains unshakeable."

He then told Peres and the world, "There is absolutely no space between the United States and Israel when it comes to Israel's security."

As Peres spoke, Biden took notes. When Peres called him "a friend," Joe gushed, "It's good to be home."

Even at AIPAC, they must have been gagging.

Walking around the corner to Prime Minister Netanyahu's office, Joe called him by his nickname, "Bibi," declared him a "real" friend and said the U.S. relationship with Israel "has been and will continue to be the centerpiece of our policy."

Then the sandbag hit.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai announced construction of 1,600 new apartment units in Arab East Jerusalem. Stunned and humiliated, Biden issued a statement saying he "condemned" the decision.

He then retaliated by coming late to dinner at Bibi's house.

Netanyahu has apologized for the timing, but they are going ahead with the apartments. What are the Americans going to do about it? At this point, nothing but bluster.

Indeed, a day later, at Tel Aviv University, Joe was back at it: "(T)he U.S. has no better friend ... than Israel."

On his departure for Jordan, Ha'aretz reported that Israel plans to build 50,000 new homes in East Jerusalem over the next few years.

Biden may feel he was played for a fool, and Americans may feel jilted, but we got what grovelers deserve. And if we wish to understand why the Arabs who once respected us now seem contemptuous of us, consider that battered-spouse response to a public slap across the face.

Consider also the most remarkable statement of Biden's first 24 hours.

"Progress occurs in the Middle East when everyone knows there is simply no space between the United States and Israel."


Pat Buchanan

Pat Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative magazine, and the author of many books including State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America .
 
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