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‘Best $3bn investment we make’: Biden quip about US-Israel ties sets Twitter on edge

‘Best $3bn investment we make’: Biden quip about US-Israel ties sets Twitter on edge
An unearthed clip of Joe Biden explaining that if there was no Israel, the “US would have to invent an Israel to protect our interests” has been met with angry reactions on social media.

The video, filmed in Congress in 1986 shows a then-senator Biden explaining how important Israel is to the US in fairly blunt and illuminating terms.

The former vice president to Barack Obama and possible presidential candidate in 2020 starts by saying people should stop apologizing for their support for Israel. “There is no apology to be made, none,” he shouts. “It is the best $3 billion investment we make.”

“Were there not an Israel, the US would have to invent an Israel to protect our interests in the region,” he continues.

The US has long highlighted the importance of its relationship with Israel, the “only democracy in the Middle East,” but Biden’s explanation lays out just how strategic that connection is. Essentially, Biden is saying that the US uses Israel as a tool to wield influence in the Middle East.

The US gives Israel $3.1 billion a year in military aid, and it is the biggest recipient of both US aid and military equipment. The US and Israel conduct joint military operations, and the US has stockpiled military equipment in Israel. The US Navy’s Sixth Fleet uses the Israeli port of Haifa as its main port of call in the eastern Mediterranean. In 2017, it opened its first official permanent military base in the country.

Some Twitter commenters questioned Biden’s logic, suggesting that it’s really Israel that has influence over US government because of the power the Israel lobby holds over US politicians and the way in which the US defends Israel at the UN and sees its enemies, such as Iran, as its own.

Others claimed that the US and the UK technically already had ‘invented’ Israel, referring to the US support for the 1917 UK Balfour declaration which set out plans for a Jewish home in Palestine, and the fact that the US was the first to recognize the state of Israel in 1848.

Not all reactions were focused on Biden’s words, though, as many were distracted by how little hair he had 32 years ago compared to today.  

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