President Joe Biden took the opportunity on Sunday to once again slam Israel’s governing coalition while avoiding any mention of Palestinian Authority terrorism and the deadly attacks that were, at least in part, responsible for the election of the current government.
Biden told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in an interview that aired Sunday that he has been an “unyielding supporter of Israel” but adroitly sidestepped a direct question on “what it would take” for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “get an invitation to the White House,” replying instead that “the Israeli president is going to be coming and we have other contacts.”
The president, who at times was not entirely coherent and appeared to be just on the edge of drowsing off — has used the power of a White House invitation and lack thereof to punish Netanyahu for moving ahead with his government’s planned judicial reforms after talks with the opposition failed to produce any viable compromise.
That, despite the fact that Netanyahu’s government was elected with a 64-seat majority in the 122-seat Knesset — a wider margin that those won in the past five years by any government, including his own prior coalitions.
“Bibi, I think, is trying to work through he we can work through his existing problems in terms of his coalition,” Biden told Zakaria.
The president sharply criticized Netanyahu’s coalition members, saying “they are part of the problem” while also avoiding any mention of the sharp rise in deadly attacks on Israelis by Palestinian Authority terrorists.
Here’s the transcript of the rest of his comments, complete with unfinished thoughts, sentence fragments, warts and beauty marks.
“He has – I’m one of those who believes Israel’s ultimate security rests in a two-state solution.
“I think it’s a mistake to think that as some members of his cabinet – and this one’s most extreme members of cabinets that I’ve seen – I go all the way back to Golda Meir, not that she was extreme, but I go back to that era – I think that the fact that the Palestinian Authority has lost its credibility, not necessarily because of what Israel’s done, just because it’s just lost its credibility number one, and number two, created a vacuum for extremism among the Palestinians.
“They are, there are some very extreme elements. So it’s not all Israel now on the West Bank, all Israel’s problem, but they are part of the problem, particularly those individuals in the cabinet who say ‘we can send them where we want, they have no right to be here,’ etc.
“I think we’re, uh, talking with them regularly, trying to tamp down what’s going on and hopefully Bibi will continue to move toward moderation and change (unintelligible) … court.”
The president, who is now 80 years old, has already announced he intends to run for re-election in 2024. Reader, you be the judge.