President Joe Biden attempted to illustrate his support for Israel by touting a supposed wartime meeting with former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir during a time when he was in law school and the former PM had not yet been elected.
Biden said he met with Meir during 1967’s Six-Day War, in which he claimed he served as a “liaison” between Israel and Egypt. He made the remarks during a menorah lighting at the White House Wednesday, apparently referencing a meeting he had with Meir just before a 1973 conflict, Fox News reported.
The Six-Day War, in which Israel annihilated a surprise attack from the Arab coalition of Jordan, Syria and Egypt and reshaped the Middle East, broke out a year before the future president graduated Syracuse University College of Law, according to the report. Meir was elected prime minister two years later.
“I have known every — every prime minister well since Golda Meir, including Golda Meir,” the Democrat said. “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 I sat in front of her desk,” he continued. “And she had a guy — her staff member — to my right. His name was Rabin. And she kept flipping those maps up and down. She had that bevy of maps — sort of kept it — and it was — it was so depressing what she was — about what happened. She gave me every detail.”
A classified Israeli memo reportedly unearthed last year summarized the 1973 meeting between Meir and a then 30-year-old Biden, a newly elected US senator.
Biden then told Meir that the capturing the West Bank and the Gaza Strip during the 1967 war amounted to “creeping annexation,” The Times of Israel reported last year.
He suggested that Israel was in a unique position to promote peace, since Egyptian officials had assured him they accepted “Israel’s military superiority,” according to notes from the meeting reported on by the paper.
Biden then reportedly told Meir the Nixon administration was being “dragged by Israel,” and the Israeli leader later rejected his call for unilateral withdrawals.
Less than six weeks later, Egypt and Syria attacked Israel, kicking off the Yom Kippur War, which confirmed Meir’s fears of vulnerability in the region.
Biden later called the experience “one of the most consequential meetings I’ve ever had in my life.” A note taker wrote that the young senator was full of respect, but also “displayed a fervor and made comments that signaled his lack of diplomatic experience,” according to the Israeli publication.