Today the NJDC issued the following press release:
It is astonishing that Republicans continue to attack Senator Joe Biden on his stance towards Israel. According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), Biden has a “sterling” pro-Israel voting record in his more than 35 years in the Senate and has been a great friend to the Jewish community.
Ira N. Forman, Executive Director of the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) today said, “Personally, as a Democrat, I understand that the Republicans disagree with Biden on some partisan issues, but as a member of the Jewish and pro-Israel community, I find it hard to believe that Republicans have so quickly turned their back on such a good and close friend. Republican attacks on Joe Biden are baseless and shameful.”
Here are a few quick points on why Biden is respected by the American Jewish community:
• Biden has taken numerous trips to Israel, including his very first trip as a Senator in 1973 – when he met with Prime Minister Golda Meir and then Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin – and most recently in January 2006. He has met with the past nine Israeli Prime Ministers, from Meir to Ehud Olmert and innumerable Israeli politicians and opinion leaders.
• Biden is a strong supporter of continuing U.S. military and economic assistance for Israel. Over his career he has an over 90% pro-Israel voting record.
• Even Biden’s critics agree that he has an unsurpassed knowledge of the region.
• Biden has been a leading opponent of proposed sales of advanced weapons systems to Saudi Arabia and other Arab states in the 1970s and 1980s, such as F-15 fighters and AWACS radar aircraft.
• Biden proudly calls himself a Zionist. He said, “You don't have to be Jewish to be a Zionist, and I'm a Zionist.”
• Biden knows that an Iran armed with nuclear weapons would pose a grave threat. In July, Biden said, "Iran's acquisition of a nuclear weapon would dramatically destabilize an already unstable region and probably fuel a nuclear arms race in the region. It is profoundly in our interest to prevent that from happening."
• Biden cosponsored, with Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 which banned direct U.S. assistance to the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority. The Act was enacted into law in December 2006 as P.L. 109-446.
• Biden is a strong supporter of the separation of church and state and has opposed Republican attempts to return prayer to public schools. He is also a supporter of reproductive rights.