Biden on Mubarak

'Mubarak, he's no dictator' | LRB blog:

When asked by Jim Lehrer, the host of Newshour on PBS, if Hosni Mubarak was a dictator, the US vice president, Joseph Biden, said: ‘Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things and he’s been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interests in the region, Middle East peace efforts, the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalising the relationship with Israel… I would not refer to him as a dictator.’

Here are some excerpts from the rest of Lehrer’s interview with Biden, containing more of the VP’s candid assessments.

On Darth Vader: Look, I know Darth fairly well, and Jim, I just want to mention that Darth has overcome asthma, some serious, serious asthma, and it’s just a really inspiring story, he’s written a children’s book about it, I gave a signed copy to my granddaughter for Christmas. Anyway our position is that before Darth blows up the planet Alderaan with his so-called Death Star, which is really just a large weather satellite with a few dual-use components, Darth should, you know, take some of that planet’s concerns into account

Read the whole thing — they go on with Biden on Cruella de Vil, Ozymandias, Colonel Kurtz and more. Typical response from Joe "I am a Zionist" Biden.

More links on Biden's Jerusalem trip

Here's a collection of material on Israel's settlement expansion and the recent Biden fiasco, in no particular order:
Instead of embracing Mr Biden, Israel showed him the finger, choosing the very day of his visit to announce the construction of 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem. That counts as an in-your-face insult to a US administration that has demanded Israel freeze all settlement activity in the territories conquered in 1967, which include East Jerusalem. Little wonder that President Obama was said to be "incandescent with anger", spending 90 minutes on the phone to his deputy drafting a statement of condemnation rare for its ferocity.
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Biden in Jerusalem

 Joe "I am a Zionist" Biden goes to Israel, gets himself and his country humiliated (again), and everybody gets excited that he uses the word "condemns" about illegal settlements that are part of an ongoing ethnic cleansing campaign. 

Helena Cobban picks up on an anecdote from Pat Lang:

I'm assuming Biden decided on this course of action after consultation with Washington. (He took 90 minutes to decide what to do.) Do he and his boss the Prez have no idea how disgusted most of the people in the world are with the fact that, though from time to time Washington might say something critical of Israel-- meantime Washington never holds Israel to serious account, for anything, including "grave breaches of international humanitarian law" like implanting its settlers into occupied territories?
And the U.S. Congress continues to shovel money to Israel. U.S. diplomacy continues to get completely bent out of shape by defending Israel's actions in every international forum, at every turn, and by zealously pursuing Israel-driven agendas throughout the entire Middle East, including with regard to Iraq and Iran.
And these actions by the administration and Congress put the lives of U.S. service-members deployed around the world, often in pursuit of Israel-driven agendas, in significant additional risk.
Regarding Biden, Pat Lang has this intriguing little vignette in his latest post:
I was in Biden's senate office on one occasion when Biden's Zionism boiled over in a truly repulsive display of temper. I was there with my Arab employer to visit the senator... The Arab made some pro forma positive reference to the "peace process." Biden flew into a rage, grew red in the face and shouted that this was an insincere lie and that his guest knew that it was only Arab stubbornness that prevented "little Israel' from living in peace. His "guest" sat through this with what dignity he could manage. I would have walked out on him if I had been alone.
Assuming that the vignette's true-- and I tend to trust Lang on that-- it reveals quite a few disturbing things about Biden. Not just the guy's knee-jerk pro-Israelism, which is endemic just about everywhere in Congress, with a few notable exceptions. But also his evident lack of any diplomatic skills. I mean, why fly into a pro-Israeli rage like that if an Arab guest should happen to mention the "peace process"? What on earth good was he hoping to achieve by doing that? Nothing that I can think of-- except to vent his own feelings.
All this for "proximity talks" that set back the clock to 1992 if not 1949
Dump Israel. Stop financing its wars and expansionism. Block organizations from the Jewish Agency to countless smaller groups which resettle people in settlements, from operating in the West. Boycott, divest, sanction — no American should tolerate this behavior and American politicians' cowardice.
More links:

Fiasco in Jerusalem

Mideast talks hopes in tatters

Arab League chief says Mideast talks off 

Biden Israel Trip: Apology for Timing of Settlement News

Bibi's snub to Biden may backfire | Simon Tisdall | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

Israel welcomes Joe Biden with 1600 slaps in the face

Biden Appeals to Restart Peace Talks - NYTimes.com

Biden: US won't stand in Israel's way on Iran

Love that respect for sovereignty:
WASHINGTON — Plunging squarely into one of the most sensitive issues in the Middle East, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. suggested on Sunday that the United States would not stand in the way of Israeli military action aimed at the Iranian nuclear program. The United States, Mr. Biden said in an interview broadcast on ABC’s “This Week,” “cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do.” "Israel can determine for itself — it’s a sovereign nation — what’s in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else," he said, in an interview taped in Baghdad at the end of a visit there. The remarks went beyond at least the spirit of any public utterances by President Barack Obama, who has said that diplomatic efforts to halt Iran’s nuclear program should be given to the end of the year. But the president has also said that he is “not reconciled” to the possibility of Iran possessing a nuclear weapon — a goal Tehran denies.
More at Marc Lynch's. And analysis at Helena Cobban's.
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