Biden Tells Inaccurate Story About His Meeting with Meir

Donald Trump is notorious for making false claims, but Joe Biden has not always been accurate, either. According to CNN, his latest account of a meeting with Golda Meir in 1973 is rather questionable. One of the President’s favorite stories about his relationship with Israel is flawed.

The fact-checking it prompted is as entertaining as the greatest reviews at Biden has recounted his meeting with the former Prime Minister of Israel for decades. In 2015, he even described it as “one of the most consequential meetings I’ve ever had in my life.” On December 1, The President gave a similar, but not identical, account of the story during a menorah lighting for Hanukkah.

Flaws in the Narrative

Biden mentioned that future Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was also present, and Meir repeatedly referred to a bunch of maps and painted a dark picture of the security situation in Israel. She then assured Biden that her country’s secret weapon in confrontation with neighbors is that “We have no place else to go.”

This time, the speech contained two falsehoods. Here are the President’s opening words: “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 her and the Egyptians about the Suez, and so on and so forth.” He then mentioned that Meir had referred to him as “Mr. Ambassador.”

Inaccuracy #1

The first inaccuracy concerns the time of the meeting. It occurred around 5 weeks before the Yom Kippur War broke out in 1973. The Six-Day War happened in 1967. Back then, Biden was merely a law student, while Meir had not become prime minister yet.

Inaccuracy #2

Secondly, Biden was wrong about his importance at the time. There is no evidence that Meir intended to use Biden as a “liaison” between Israel and Egypt. He was only 30 years old, had never been to Israel before and had been a senator for less than a year.

Reaction Around the World

According to experts on the war of 1973, the claim about being asked to act as an intermediary is false. The Yom Kippur War was a complicated conflict. In the written summary of the meeting provided by an Israeli government official, Biden comes off as inexperienced. He suggested that Israel unilaterally withdraw from a particular territory, and this proposal was vehemently rejected by Meir.

According to Uri Bar-Joseph, a political science professor at Haifa University, Golda had no reason to ask a young senator to be her intermediary. The mission was just too important. The same view is supported by Asaf Siniver, an associate professor in international security at the University of Birmingham and the editor of a book on the Yom Kippur War.

White House provided CNN with an explanation of Biden’s claim about being invited as the liaison between Israel and Egypt. According to an official, it was a reference to his meetings with Israeli and Egyptian officials in 1973. The Republican National Committee characterized the President’s claim as false.


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