Biden tells inaccurate story about 1973 meeting with Israeli prime minister – .

Biden tells inaccurate story about 1973 meeting with Israeli prime minister – .

Most of the details of Biden’s Wednesday account were the same or very similar to the details of his previous accounts. Biden said that Meir kept referring to a pile of cards, that future Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was present, that Meir offered to take a photo with Biden, and that Meir painted a grim picture of the Israel’s security situation, but then assured him that Israel had a “secret weapon” in its conflicts with its neighbors: “We have no other place to go.”

But two elements of Biden’s Wednesday version were different from usual, and both of those changes were incorrect. One of the lies was clearly an accidental mistake; the other was more substantial.

Biden began Wednesday as follows: “And during the Six Day War I had the opportunity to – she invited me over because I was going to be the liaison between her and the Egyptians on the Suez, and so on and so on. Later in the story, he suggested that Meir called him during the “Mr. Ambassador” meeting.

Facts first: Biden misspoke about the date of his meeting with Meir. The meeting took place approximately five weeks before the Yom Kippur War in 1973, not during the Six Day War in 1967. More importantly, Biden inflated his importance to Israel at the time. There is no evidence that Meir intended to use him as some kind of “liaison” between Israel and Egypt.

At the time of the Six Day War in 1967, Biden was still a law student and Meir was not yet Prime Minister.

Biden’s claim of “liaison” is vague, but Yom Kippur War experts say it is also clearly inaccurate. While Biden visited Egypt in 1973 just before going to Israel and told Meir what Egyptian officials told him, there is no indication that Meir wanted to use a 30-year-old American who had never been in Israel before and who had been a senator for only nine months as an intermediary in a complicated and critical conflict. In fact, the written summary of the meeting by an Israeli government official said Biden appeared inexperienced and Meir vehemently rejected his proposal for Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from certain territories as a step towards peace.

A White House official suggested to CNN Thursday that Biden’s claim that “she invited me to come because I was going to be the liaison between her and the Egyptians over Suez” was simply a reference to fact that he had met both. Egyptian and Israeli officials on the 1973 trip to discuss relations between their countries.

But Biden’s words, which have been called false by the Republican National Committee on Thursday, gave the impression that Meir was seeking to use him in an important diplomatic role. Experts say this is indeed baseless.

“There is no reason to believe that Golda, who as Biden himself described did not trust a diplomatic process, would have willingly asked an inexperienced young senator to be his liaison for such mission, ”said Uri Bar-Joseph, a politician at the University of Haifa. science professor and author of a book on what was going on in the Israeli government before the Yom Kippur War.

Bar-Joseph said in an email that there was “nothing” in the Israeli summary of the August 31, 1973 meeting to even “indicate” that Meir had invited Biden to be a liaison. And Asaf Siniver, associate professor of international security at the University of Birmingham and editor of a book on the Yom Kippur War, said in an email: the liaison ‘between the parties.

In Biden’s story on Wednesday, the only one we could find where he spoke of a ‘liaison’ role, he said of Meir: ‘She looked at me and she said: Mr. Ambassador, would you like a photo? “In other accounts of the story, however, Biden said Meir addressed him just before or during the photoshoot as” son “Or as” Senator “and not as” Mr. Ambassador. “

An Israeli summary of the meeting

Meir died in 1978 and it is impossible to know precisely what was said between her and Biden 48 years ago. But the Israeli summary of the 100-minute meeting, an internal memo written by a government official at the time, provides useful information.

The summary, which was discussed in Israeli media in 2020 and is available online in the State of Israel Archives, said Biden admitted he was not an expert on Egypt, said Biden was warmly welcomed on his trip to Egypt but only met with second-tier officials, and said Meir made lengthy remarks in which she argued against Biden’s proposal for Israel to pursue peace by withdrawing from certain territories he didn’t think he had of strategic value. (The summary did not identify the territory Biden was talking about but said it was not the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, or Sharm el-Sheikh.)

The Israeli official who wrote the summary, Gideon Yarden, ended by offering his personal assessment of Biden. He wrote that Biden was full of admiration and appreciation for Meir, and kept saying he had come to learn, “but on the other hand” spoke in a way that reflected “his age and “diplomatic experience”. Yarden put the word “experience” in quotation marks, conveying sarcasm.

Another difference

Another part of the Israeli dating account differs from a Biden account offered in 2015.

In a speech marking Israel’s Independence Day, Biden, then vice president, said he told Meir and Rabin at the meeting that “I thought they (Egypt) were preparing. to attack again ”. He added: “And everyone, including my army and the IDF, thought I was crazy.

The Israeli summary does not note any such comments from Biden. On the contrary, the summary reported that Biden had indicated that, of all the officials he had met in Egypt, none had denied Israel’s absolute military superiority, and that officials had argued that it would be impossible for Egypt to go to war now against Israel.

In fact, Egypt and Syria ended up attacking Israel in early October 1973. The attack also took Israel by surprise.


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