President Biden, speaking during a menorah lighting in celebration of Hanukkah yesterday:
I was saying to a couple of younger members of my staff, before I came over, about the many times I’ve been to Israel. I said — and then, all of a sudden, I realized, “God, you’re getting old, Biden.” (Laughter.)
I have known every — every prime minister well since Golda Meir, including Golda Meir. (Applause.) And during the Six-Day War, I had an opportunity to — she invited me to come over because I was going to be the liaison between she and the Egyptians about the Suez, and so on and so forth.
Biden did indeed meet Golda Meir in 1973 — six years after the Six Day War — but that is . . . not how the Israelis remember that meeting, at least according to a contemporaneous classified Israeli memo from that time:
Biden warned that Israel’s actions in the territories it had captured during the Six Day War, including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, were leading to “creeping annexation.”
Since he believed Israel was militarily dominant in the region, he suggested the Jewish state might initiate a first step for peace through unilateral withdrawals from areas with no strategic importance.
The official said Biden criticized the Nixon administration for being “dragged by Israel,” complaining that it was impossible to have a real debate in the Senate about the Middle East as senators were fearful of saying things unpopular with Jewish voters.
Meir rejected Biden’s call for unilateral steps, launching into a speech about the region and its problems (possibly the spiel Biden alluded to in his own comments years later).
The official added his own personal impressions regarding the young senator at the bottom of the document, saying Biden was full of respect toward the Israeli leader and repeatedly said he had come to learn, “and yet while speaking displayed a fervor and made comments that signaled his lack of diplomatic experience.”
Joe Biden may have thought he was going to be the liaison between Meir and the Egyptians about the Suez, but there’s no indication Meir saw Biden as her liaison.
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