Biden and AIPAC

By Natalie Gewargis

Sep 5, 2008 11:47am

Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del, held a 20-minute conference call with members of the Jewish community press this week, notes our old friend Ami Eden of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Biden is considered a strong supporter of Israel by the American pro-Israel lobby, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee. AIPAC spokesman Josh Block has said that "Biden is a strong supporter of the U.S.-Israel relationship; he has been a staunch supporter of U.S. aid to Israel; he is a leader in the fight against Palestinian terrorism, and is a vocal advocate of the special relationship between the two democracies. We look forward to continuing to work with him in the Senate or in the White House.”

But the Republican Jewish Coalition has been highlighting moments when Biden’s view on an issue differed from AIPAC’s, and Biden was asked about this on the call.

“AIPAC does not speak for the entire American Jewish community,” Biden said. “There’s other organizations as strong and as consequential.”

This prompted the conservative editorial page of the New York Sun to say today that if Biden "really thinks there are other American Jewish organizations that are as strong or as consequential as Aipac when it comes to the America-Israel relationship it sure will be illuminating to see him name them. If he has in mind dovish groups such as the Israel Policy Forum or the J Street Project, Mr. Biden is only going to hurt the Obama ticket with that portion of the Jewish vote that is actually up for grabs in this election."

Obama campaign spox Wendy Morigi says that “Barack Obama and Joe Biden have both enjoyed close and effective cooperation with AIPAC over many years, grounded in their respect for its important mission to support Israel’s security and a strong U.S.-Israel relationship. That is a mission they share, and they look forward to continuing to work closely with AIPAC on their common goals.”

- jpt

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