Was it another of US Vice President Joe Biden’s now infamous verbal gaffes when he told American Jews last fall that they will ultimately be safe only in Israel?
At a time when Western nations are trying to convince their Jewish populations to stay amid rising anti-Semitism, it seems incredible that America’s #2 would essentially warn his nation’s Jews to flee.
But that’s precisely what Biden did while hosting a Rosh Hashanah party attended by senior American Jewish leaders last September.
Journalist Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic wrote that Biden began by recounting his first meeting with legendary former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, who told the young US senator that the Jews’ secret weapon in their war for Israel’s survival was that they had no place else to go.
Biden apparently agreed wholeheartedly, going so far as to suggest that even America was no safe haven for Jews.
“You understand in your bones that no matter how hospitable, no matter how consequential, no matter how engaged, no matter how deeply involved you are in the United States…there is really only one absolute guarantee, and that’s the state of Israel,” Biden said to the astonishment of many.
Of course, it can and has been argued that Biden’s point of view is correct, and that ultimately even the Jews of America will have no choice but to flee to the relative safety of Israel.
Much has been made of rising anti-Semitism in Europe, but the same is true of the United States of late. The annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents published by the Anti-Defamation League revealed a 21 percent increase in anti-Semitism incidents in the US in 2014.
Biden’s remarks last fall might be seen as an embarrassing and offensive lapse of judgment, especially given overwhelming Jewish support for his Democratic Party, but they might also be a very prescient warning of things to come.