WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israel still has time to strike Iran and the right to decide for itself whether to do so, Vice President Joe Biden said.
Biden, appearing Tuesday in Atlanta at the annual convention of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, said “the window has not closed in terms of the Israelis if they choose to act on their own militarily.”
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has suggested that Israel has until the fall to strike; the Obama administration has been pressing Israel to give time for sanctions and diplomacy to work.
Biden made the case that Obama’s strategies have worked, but said the decision to strike must be Israel’s.
“I would not contract out my security to anybody, even a loyal, loyal, loyal friend like the United States,” he said.
Biden also said that Israel’s perception of Iran as an existential threat was “justifiable.” He warned Iran that its window was closing for a diplomatic way out of its isolation because of its suspected nuclear weapons program.
The vice president also called efforts to delegitimize Israel “the most significant assault” on Israel since its independence.